2017 Keenan Merlot
2017 Keenan Merlot, From Napa Valley, California
The ‘15 Merlot has been aged in thirty-three percent new French and American oak barrels for eighteen months. The resulting wine shows intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and cassis. Complex nuances of cocoa and coffee bean emerge as the wine opens up. This is a “big” Merlot that will age for many years to come.
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.
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