2010 Robert Keenan Winery Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain District
Expert Rating
RP 93 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Robert Keenan Winery Parker's 93-Point Mailbox Reserve

In 1989, Robert Keenan organized the famous Merlot taste-off that put Spring Mountain on the map. Most considered Keenan's pitting of his Merlots against the heralded Petrus a stunt, something right out of Barnum and Bailey. But all those who thought the Keenans were clowning around 20 years ago aren't laughing now.

There are very few places in Napa Valley where Merlot outpoints Cabernet Sauvignon, just as the greatest Pomerols outdistance most of Pauillac. One has always been Howell Mountain, though many of those plantings have now been ripped out, sideswiped by Hollywood's Sideways. The second is a single parcel perched 1,700 feet up Spring Mountain Road, where cool nights conspire with rugged soils to push out less than 2 tons per acre of some of the most succulent small-berry fruit in the valley. The vineyard is called Mailbox. It's now tended by Robert Keenan's son, Michael.

After Robert Parker's Wine Advocate called the 2010s "epic," Wine Spectator piled on with the glossiest vintage cover story in years. Few parcels in Napa Valley outperformed Keenan's Mailbox Vineyard.

May and June were unseasonably cold on the mountain. Keenan considered pulling leaves to jump-start maturity, but then decided to stand pat, a decision that would soon pay big dividends. A series of massive heat spikes, each punctuated by more cold weather, blistered exposed bunches. Mailbox Vineyard would skate through unscathed.

By the time the cool temperatures returned, Keenan's tiny Merlot crop (just 2 tons per acre) was set for the home stretch. From the end of August and through September, the clusters slowly ripened. At harvest, the juice-to-skin ratio was high, making for this extraordinarily dense, powerfully concentrated Mailbox Reserve that ranks as one of the two or three greatest wines ever to come off this magical parcel.

Deepest purple/black to the rim, infused with a glorious Right Bank nose of black-fruit preserves, black cherry, violets and graphite, the attack is utterly massive, taking a page out of Petrus' script. This is a wonderfully rich, suave new release from one of Napa's top three Merlot producers, a bottle Parker's Wine Advocate suggests won't hit full stride until the early 2020s!



Tasting Notes

2010 Robert Keenan Winery Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard Spring Mountain District
"Things get much more serious with the 2010 Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard. This sumptuous, full-bodied wine flows across the palate with layer after layer of rich, resonant fruit. The 2010 boasts marvelous depth and richness, all backed up by the structure of the year and the tannin of this Spring Mountain site. The combination of ripe fruit, acidity and structure is hugely appealing. Floral notes reappear on the polished finish. This is a great effort from Keenan. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025."
93 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

 

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