Keenan Zinfandel 2015
Keenan’s 2015 Zinfandel is made up of grapes grown primarily on Keenan’s Spring Mountain District estate. The Estate Zinfandel imparts structure, ripe black fruit and complex earthy nuances. Zinfandel grown in Calistoga makes up the remainder of the blend and supplies spice and briary red fruit aromas. Once harvested, the grapes were de-stemmed then fermented in small lots. Primary fermentation lasted seven to ten days. The wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for eighteen months. The finished wine shows intense black cherry and raspberry fruit in the nose, while hints of black pepper and vanilla add complexity. This is a rich, full-bodied Zinfandel that will accompany a wide array of foods, but we suggest gamey meats, grilled as a great match for the Keenan Zin.
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Michael Keenan has grown a half acre of zinfandel at the entrance to his winery on Spring Mountain since 1998, later interplanting it with a little alicante and carignane. In 2007, he planted 2.5 acres of a similar mix at the Point Vineyard on his estate. He found that when that latest planting came into production, it took his Napa Valley Zinfandel to a new level. Keenan harvests and coferments the fruit, then blends it with a little zinfandel from a parcel in Calistoga planted in 1956 and now farmed by his vineyard manager, Peter Nissen. The combination produces a bold and delicious wine, its intensity held within the dark charm and gentle grace of the tannins. Its plummy, silken fruit feels cool, fragrant and floral, lasting with bergamot notes and gamey spice. Decant it for grilled quail.
While the beauty and history of the land are appealing, it is the richness of the soils that makes the hillside perfect for an estate winery. These soils are, in great measure, responsible for the dramatic intensity of the fruit associated with the ultra-premium wines produced at Robert Keenan Winery.
Keenan completed a solar power system on their property that went on-line in 2007. The system supplies all of the estate’s energy needs, including the winery, administrative offices, visitor hospitality area, and the homes located on the property. The Napa Valley Vintners have recognized Keenan as a “green” winery, which they proudly announce on the back labels: Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.