Keep Wines is a collaboration between husband and wife team Johanna Jensen (Scholium Project & Broc Cellar Alum) and Jack Roberts (former Matthiasson Wines Assistant Winemaker). Based out of Napa California, the pair makes interesting varietals from small vineyards all over Northern California. Jack is currently farming organically a few vineyards himself and the other grapes they buy are from mostly certified organic vineyards. The focus of their winemaking style can be described as minimal intervention wines. No yeast or additives are used (with the exception of sulfur in small quantities) and the wines are almost never fined or filtered. With roots in France they have recently planted a vineyard in Gascony and have purchased another vineyard site to expand in the coming years. Their future plan is to make wine in both California and in France.
If you are wondering where the name ‘Keep’ came from, look at the crest on the label. It is a depiction of Beverston Castle, an 11th century Norman stronghold in Gloucestershire, England where Jack’s father was born and raised. All that remains of Beverston today is what you see, the moat and the tall ‘keep’, (from the middle English’ kype’, or barrel) which was the defenders’ last resort in a siege. It was also where they stored their most precious possessions, especially their wine.
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.