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Keenan Mernet Reserve 2008

Bordeaux Red Blends from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
  • RP95
  • W&S95
  • RP94
  • WW93
  • WE90
  • RP93
  • WE93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

2008 is our 10th consecutive vintage of "Mernet" (mare-nay), our proprietary marriage ofMerlot and Cabernet. Each blend has been half Merlot and half Cabernet, but no two wineshave had the same vineyard combinations. This year the blend is equally split between the"Mailbox" Vineyard and the estate Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337. The resulting wine is aseamless blend of the two varietals with an emphasis on high-toned sweet, delicious rich fruitwith an almost hidden depth and structure to allow for indefinite aging. Enjoy now or decadesfrom now.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
The Wine Advocate

The 2008 Mernet Reserve is composed of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. I've never liked the name that much, but I sure love the wine. Another prodigious effort from Keenan, it boasts an inky/purple color as well as a sweet nose filled with blackberry, black currant and cherry fruit intermixed with mocha and chocolate. Full-bodied and rich with an enticing suppleness as well as admirable length and texture, it should drink well for 15 or more years.

W&S 95
Wine & Spirits

An estate-grown blend from the reserve merlot block of the Mailbox Vineyard with cabernet sauvignon from Big K, this vintage of Mernet is all minerality, all the time. That, plus red currant richness and cool mountain forest scents of pine and spearmint. It’s the gripping mineral tannins that set this wine clearly on Spring Mountain, the intensity and firmness of the structure they offer the wine. Remarkably, the fruit is there to balance and last in parallel with the tannins, holding the wine fresh. If you enjoy youthful cabernet, decant this for a delicious accompaniment to a well-aged, well-marbled steak. Or forget this in the cellar for at least ten years.

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Keenan

Keenan

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Keenan, , California
Keenan
High in the Mayacamas Range, at an elevation of 1,700 feet above the Napa Valley floor, are Spring Mountain and the Robert Keenan Winery and vineyards. This area was first identified as prime vineyard land by Peter Conradi in the late 19th century when he planted 100 acres of terraced vineyard in Zinfandel and Syrah grapes. The Conradi Winery operated until Prohibition when the vineyards and winery fell out of use. In 1974, Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres of forest on the defunct Conradi Winery site. No vines remained. Only the crumbling walls of the former winery and a few old broken tanks told of its history, but Robert was certain the mountain top vineyards would be perfect for an estate winery. He replaced tree stumps and rocks with rows of Cabernet and Chardonnay, hired an engineer to redesign the original winery structure, and brought in a contractor to begin construction. The winery was made operational just in time for the harvest of 1977. From that time on, Keenan has earned a great reputation for producing wines of intense character and renowned acclaim.

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. The winery recently completed a solar power system on their property. The system will supply all of the winery's power needs. The estate wines will carry the "Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed" phrase on the label.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

KOE119151_2008 Item# 119151

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