2009 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Expert Rating
RP 93 points
(Read the full review below)
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Robert Keenan Winery The Advocate's 93pt Top-Rated Mountain Cabernet Bargain of the Year

As the price tags on Napa's highest-rated Cabernets continue to climb, it's with heavy hearts that we look back at the Crisis years, when we held all the cards. Back then, we offered members a steady diet of top-scoring Cabernets -- many even drawn from the most precious nosebleed slopes of the mountains -- at under $50/bottle. Thousands of you stuffed your cellars. But as the stashes of those bargain collectables dwindle, many are looking to ante up again -- without breaking open their daughter's Piggy Bank or cashing in her 529 TAP account.

If the description above applies to you, this is likely to be the only 93-point mountain Cabernet Sauvignon offered on WineAccess in 2013 for less than $40/bottle.

Michael Keenan is riding a hot streak. Ever since Robert Parker dubbed Keenan the top scoring king of Spring Mountain, these lush, powerfully concentrated, yet unusually supple Keenan Cabernets have taken their high elevation spot on the Wine Advocate Honor Roll, next to the likes of O'Shaugnessy, Dunn, Bryant Family, Lokoya, Juslyn and Vineyard 7 & 8.

After the May rain, the weather turned mild and dry on the nosebleed slopes of Spring Mountain. As is always the case at Keenan, the crop was thinned early on, leaving less than three tons per acre on the highly stressed Cabernet vines set some 1800 feet above Napa's fog line. For those who were less rigorous in the vineyards, physiological maturity often lagged behind. But in the case of Keenan and the distinguished Honor Roll above, the small berry mountain clusters were sweet and even more importantly, seeds were brown and tannins ripe when the pickers went to work at the tail end of the first week of October. Every bunch would be in the cellar by October 13th when the downpour that spoiled many winegrower holidays began.

The lineup at the rustic Keenan tasting room during Premiere Napa was one of the highlights of the week. It was a 10-vintage retrospective, one that included every top-vintage of the new millennium. If the 2002 was perhaps the most charming and ready to drink, the 2007 now closed and a bit tannic, it would be this new release that would finish on top. Not surprisingly, Robert Parker, Jr. saw it much the same way.

The 2009 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon is a massively voluptuous mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from what would prove to be one of the most magical growing seasons in the history of this Spring Mountain stronghold. Jet black/purple in color with full throttle black fruit aromas, tinged with licorice. The attack is voluminous, a dense gumbo of blackberry and black cherry preserves, all wrapped in mid-palate velour, finishing with the fine mountain tannins for which this spot is so well known.

Parker's Wine Advocate would come in at 93 points, calling it "large-scaled and dramatic," and "extremely fairly priced." No Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage would come close at anywhere near today's WineAccess price tag.

Tasting Notes

2009 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
"The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the highlights in this portfolio. Rich and voluptuous, it totally saturates the palate from start to finish. Dark fruit, violets, spices and licorice all flesh out in this large-scaled, dramatic Cabernet Sauvignon. Everything simply works. The 2009 is a great wine. Even better, it is extremely fairly priced considering the quality of what is in the bottle. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this jewel of a wine. I imagine another few years of bottle age will only help the 2009 develop even more complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024."
93 points -- Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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