We've never done this before. And we'll never do it again. That's why this is is a fleeting opportunity to try something you've never tried before–and never will be able to again. The 2017 Keenan Last Call, Single Vineyard Merlot Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District was sourced from a small 1-acre block of Merlot vines planted in the late 90s, this vineyard saw its last vintage in 2017. The little-known fact about this particular vineyard is that hiding amongst the Merlot vines was another grape. By complete accident, approximately 12 vines of Muscat were grafted into this vineyard and for decades these vines were ignored or more often visited as a welcome vineyard snack during harvest. It was not until the final vintage of this vineyard were the Muscat grapes harvested and included in the final blend as one final pure expression of this location. This blend can be found nowhere else and after this vintage will not be found again. A single block of 95% estate Merlot co-fermented with 5% estate Muscat brings all the elements we've come to expect from our estate merlot: an indelible sense of freshness driven by intense florality and savory herbs, and a mouthfeel and structure that beg for aging and proper food accompaniment. This wine shows a superb brightness and a very unique aromatic addition of orange blossom lingering behind the scenes, whispering a quiet reminder that if you want to try this one-time-only experiment, well, this is the Last Call.
The 2021 Keenan Black Phoebe, is the third wine in our new bird series, which celebrates the birds that frequent our high-mountain Napa estate. In Reilly Keenan's words it is, “A Merlot-driven spectacle is seemingly delivered straight from the right bank of the Gironde itself. This blend of 60% Mailbox Merlot and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, each from the Upper Bowl vineyard, perfectly expresses the elegance of Spring Mountain wines. The underripe spectrum of blue and black fruits and a wall of rose petal florality dominate the early aromatics. An accent of fine cocoa powder bringing up the rear reminds you that this is a wine firmly commanded by the Mailbox vineyard. On the palate, this full-bodied wine remains extraordinarily nimble and fresh. Bitter chocolate and mineral notes play off of the natural sweetness of the fruit to create a mouthwatering tension that foreshadows for this wine a long and rewarding life.”
Unfortunately, for many producers in Napa Valley, the 2020 harvest will be the vintage that never was. Massive wildfires spread across multiple counties starting in August and continuing through parts of October and the resulting smoke maintained a stranglehold over vast tracts of wine country. Wineries burned, vineyards cooked, and the ensuing smoke taint caused countless growers to abandon vast amounts of untouched grapes, leaving them on the vine as a vestige to a year that many of us would prefer to forget. There are, however, a few instances of hope for the 2020 vintage, and we're fortunate to report that Keenan is among them. The 2020 Keenan Raven is the second consecutive release of our futures bird series, where we feature one of the myriads of bird species we have here at the estate. Harvested and hidden safely away in the cellar before the Glass Fire began its deliberate march from the valley floor all the way up Spring Mountain, this fruit avoided disaster by mere days. This Cabernet-based Meritage Blend expresses an aromatic menu of sophistication far beyond its young age. Extremely bright on the pallet and possessing weight and viscosity without feeling too heavy, this wine seems to build a satisfying momentum as it travels across your palate. This will be a long-lived testament to a year that Keenan was fortunate to survive, and while we elected to name this wine “The Raven,” it's easy to think of it as the Phoenix.
Bluebird will be the first in a rare series of bird-named future wines. Only once annually, we bottle a “future” wine for you. This is your opportunity to buy a case, or two, and taste it at intervals over time to see how it matures. It's a little bit like having the winemaker experience because you'll get to see how the flavors deepen and the feel softens over time. Luckily, we've been at this for decades, so believe me when I say, this is one of our best.
Michael Keenan says, “The 2019 vintage Bluebird future wine possesses perhaps the best texture I have yet to see coming off of this estate for a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend. This offering is a blend of 2/3 estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/3 estate Cabernet Franc from vines that are now over twenty years old and showing some beautifully detailed, perfumed notes of cassis, kirsch, and mentholated cranberry. The palate is remarkably refined and the finish is beautifully articulated for a wine this young. Simply put this wine is the most attractive offer of the year.”
5 years ago we started brand new programs with grapes never before grown by Keenan Winery on Spring Mountain. One of them, Mencia, doesn't yet exist anywhere else in Napa Valley (as far as we know). The other two grapes are Mataro and Petit Verdot. Planted in place of what used to be just over an acre of Merlot, these new grapes represent exciting new potential for an already diverse lineup of projects. These Rosé concepts embody a literal and figurative transition state as both the Mataro and Mencia await their final form as yearly contributors to our red wine programs. These wines will not be made again.
Bottle Rocket: Harvested on August 31st, 2020 at 17.8 Brix. The grapes saw 24 hours of skin contact followed by 6 months in neutral oak before being bottled. Bottle Rocket is the richer of the two with a darker color and a weightier more savory palate. It possesses more citrus notes of blood orange and lemon peel than its younger sibling. 70 cases were produced.
Signal Flare: Harvested on August 12th, 2021 at 19.2 Brix. The grapes saw 12 hours of skin contact followed by 6 months in neutral oak before being bottled. Signal Flare is the brighter of the two with a lighter color and a livelier palate. It possesses more spring floral notes of white flowers and a backstop of red stone fruits than its older sibling. 70 cases were produced.