Spring/Summer 2021 - Number 45 - Keenan Winery
skip to Main Content

Spring/Summer 2021 – Number 45


Something to Look Forward to...

It’s always a great feeling knowing that something truly exciting is on the horizon. After coming through the cauldron of the last 15 months, it is quite a relief and a pleasure to look in the cellar and see the wines we will show over the next three years. 2018 through 2020 is quite simply one of the greatest three-year runs that we have yet to experience, and that is really saying something.

Our best way to glimpse into these happy upcoming experiences is through our ‘futures’ program. Every year at our Open House party (I promise this is the last time we will cancel this party!), we pour and offer a barrel sample of a not yet released vintage that we sell as a ‘future.’ This is a wine that you buy but do not take possession of for another 15 months. I’m sure this is a concept that doesn’t work for some but believe me, you should reconsider.

One of the facets of the futures program is that in exchange for getting your money well before receiving the wine, a discount is offered to make the deal more appealing. Last year, virtually of course, we offered the 2019 ‘Bluebird’ (the first in a series of bird-themed wines) at the astonishing price of $60 per bottle ($48 for wine club members). I believe at the time I said this was the greatest deal we had ever offered to our mailing list, and I think the Premiere Napa Valley Auction earlier this month proves me right. We offered a 5 case Lot, and it sold for $14,000.00. That’s $233.33 per bottle! And keep in mind this was for the Trade, so that bottle price represents a wholesale price, not retail, so our retail price of $60/$48 was indeed a steal.

In two weeks, we will offer the ‘Raven’ to our mailing list, and if you have not yet participated in the futures offering, I would soon give it some serious consideration!

We were one of the first wineries to get the sustainable green designation. Quite simply, what it means is we can continue doing what we’re doing right now, indefinitely to the future, and to continue to improve our environment.

Cheers to the Future!
– Michael Keenan, Keenan Winery President


Winter/Spring '20/'21

Another dry year with record low rainfall summed up this winter and spring. The reservoir has not spilled for the second year in a row, and we haven’t had measurable precipitation since April. Our vineyards are holding their own, though, despite the dry conditions.

Our first rain came in November, a welcome occurrence after the devasting fire ravaged Spring Mountain in September and October. December was cold but relatively dry. January brought a little over four inches of rain, promoting the grasses in the vine rows to begin growing. The rainstorms in January and February were few and far between, though. We rely on the runoff from storms to drain from the Upper Bowl vineyard and channel into the reservoir. But with such dry, mild weather between storms, we seldom hit soil saturation. Without saturation, rainfall amounts rarely accumulated to the point that runoff occurred.

March and April continued the dry pattern. Most of the forecast storms either vanished or skirted around our region and left us scratching our heads, wondering what mother nature had in store for us. The light rains that occurred did keep the cover crop growing and provided some relief for the forest around us. April ended with less than an inch of precipitation.

The vineyards took their time coming out of dormancy, and bud break occurred a little later than average. Shoots developed slowly at first, but in late April and early May, the vines hit their stride, and the lush, green canopy looked vibrant and vigorous. It appears we have a larger than average crop in most blocks. The tenacity and strength of our vineyards never cease to amaze me!

Matt Gardner


2017 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

The 2017 vintage marks the 17th consecutive year that Keenan has released a reserve designation for our Cabernet Sauvignon. Comprised entirely of mountain fruit from our estate vineyards high up on Spring Mountain, this wine demonstrates a classic example of muscle and finesse.

At almost 5 years old, this wine is still as shy as ever and took nearly 3 hours to properly stretch out, which bodes very well for the aging potential of this bottle. Clouds of ultra-fine cocoa powder intertwined with blueberry combine to form an extremely alluring aromatic profile.

Deeper still is a softer, mouth-watering red fruit character that throws the taught mineral layer into sharp relief. Even at this young age, this wine is a pleasure to drink, primarily because of the bight acid profile on the palette, creating a mouth-watering experience that begs for both food and an additional glassful.

This is a wine with deep complexity and one that will reward those patient enough to forget about it in the cellar for several years, ideally a few decades!

–Reilly Keenan

Keenan Winery and Cellar with Barrels Outside
You are Invited in 2022!

RSVP for the 2022 Open House now. The 2021 Open House is canceled.

SATURDAY, June 18th, 2022
11 AM – 3 PM

  • Wine Tasting and Appetizers
  • Current release wines, library wines and secret wines!
  • Taste barrel samples and purchase wine futures
  • Tour our historic cellar and meet the winery staff
  • Enjoy the views from our mountainside winery

DON’T MISS ROBERT KEENAN WINERY’S Summer Open House this summer
, beginning at 11 am on Saturday. Taste current releases and library wines, and even sample some of our young wines still aging in oak barrels. Appetizers will be served to compliment our award-winning wines.

This event is by invitation only and is free to Wine Club members. $40 per adult will be charged for non-Wine Club members. Please RSVP with the number of guests in your party by June 8th 2022.

Please note: we will be capping attendance this year at 300 guests.



2019 Chardonnay
The Wine Advocate, January 2021
90 Points
“The 2019 Chardonnay starts with subtle notes of lemon drops and white peaches, giving way to scents of baking bread and honeydew melon. The medium to full-bodied palate has a pleasant oiliness to the texture and great freshness, lifting the stone fruit and citrus layers with a clean, lively finish.”-Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate 2017

2017 Keenan Mernet, Reserve, Spring Mountain District
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2020
93 Points
“The 2017 Red Blend Mernet Reserve is deep, fleshy, and wonderfully seductive, with soft fruit, silky contours, and open-knit aromatics – all of which make the 2017 a real pleasure to taste today.”-Antonio Galloni

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Wine & Spirits Magazine, December 2020
90 Points
“With its sweet cherry spice and supple espresso-roast tannins, this is a rich, round cabernet with density and length. Pour it while grilling a sirloin steak.”-Joshua Greene, Wine & Spirits Magazine

2017 Keenan Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District
Vinous, Antonio Galloni, January 2020
93 Points
“The 2017 Cabernet Franc Upper Bowl Vineyard is a gorgeous wine that brings together all the best of the Keenan house style. Deep and fleshy in the glass, with lovely aromatic top notes, the 2017 is wonderfully deep and expressive, always in the mid-weight style that is such a house signature.” -Antonio Galloni

2017 Keenan Merlot Reserve, Mailbox Vineyard, Spring Mountain District Vinous
Vinous, January 2020
92 Points
“The 2017 Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard shows sweet dark cherry, lavender, spice, tobacco, and grilled herbs. It is darker and richer next to the straight Merlot. Translucent and expressive, the 2017 will drink well with minimal cellaring. This is a very classic style.” -Antonio Galloni

“In the last eighteen vintages, 100 wines have been rated between 90 and 97 points by Robert Parker Jr.’s, “The Wine Advocate.”


2019 Keenan Chardonnay Spring Mountain District

Keenan’s 2019 Chardonnay was hand-harvested, de-stemmed, then gently pressed. The juice was fermented and aged in French and American oak barrels. The wine was left on the lees, and the barrels were stirred weekly. No secondary or malolactic fermentation was carried out, leading to this wine’s crisp, citrus character. The wine was bottled after approximately seven months of aging in the cellar.

The finished wine shows citrus, ripe pear, and green apple in the nose. Hints of lush white peach are noticed as the wine opens up. The sur-lie aging has added richness and complexity, and a touch of toasty oak returns on the finish. Like all of Keenan’s wines, this Chardonnay is a food worthy wine whose crisp acidity and medium body will accompany a wide variety of cuisine.

2017 Keenan Merlot Napa Valley

Keenan Winery is located in Spring Mountain District, high in the Mayacamas mountain range above the town of Saint Helena. Eleven acres of Merlot vines have been planted in the rocky soils surrounding the winery, and it is these vines that produce some of the finest Merlot in Napa. The vineyards are situated above the dense layer of fog that creeps up the Napa Valley most evenings. Consequently, the vines warm up earlier in the morning and stay warm through the night. The combination of warm temperatures, steep hillside vine rows, and gravelly soils promotes more stress on the vines leading to increased intensity in the finished wine.

The 2017 Keenan Merlot is composed of sixty-eight percent Keenan Estate Merlot. Twenty-two percent of the wine is Merlot fruit harvested from the Napa Carneros region. After hand harvesting, the grapes were de-stemmed, then inoculated with Montrachet yeast. Fermentation ranged from ten to fourteen days.

The ‘17 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.

2017 Keenan Zinfandel Napa Valley

Keenan’s 2017 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.

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is composed primarily of grapes grown on Keenan’s Spring Mountain District Estate; the remainder of the fruit was harvested from Pope Valley, a grape-growing region located in the eastern portion of Napa.

Keenan’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were harvested beginning on September 9th, with the final lot being picked on October 10th. After harvest, the fruit clusters were de-stemmed, then fermented for ten to fourteen days. The wine was barrel-aged in thirty-three percent new French and American oak for twenty months.

The blend was assembled just before bottling. The Estate grown Cabernet imparts amazing concentration and remarkable structure, while the portion of Cabernet harvested from Pope Valley adds complex aromas and a balanced mid-palate.

Back To Top