2010 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Expert Rating
RP 91+ points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Robert Keenan Winery and Tom Seaver on the cover of the Wine Spectator Wine Spectator's "Classic Vintage" 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

As we learned a couple weeks ago during dozens of tastings before and after the record-breaking Premiere Napa Valley auction, winemakers can't stop raving about their 2010 Cabernets. The top wines of the vintage match the concentration of 2009 or 2007 with truly unparalleled cool-vintage backbone.

The Wine Spectator cover story that arrived October 22nd, 2013, said it all. Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher of the Miracle Mets, is all smiles, holding an oversized glass of his own 2010 GTS Cabernet Sauvignon. The headline reads: "2010 California Cabernet: A Classic Vintage for the Cellar."

During a mesmerizing tasting with Michael Keenan, the winemaker who has been wowing Robert Parker for over a decade with his powerhouse mountain reds gave us a blow-by-blow of the chilly growing season that would give birth to this stunning 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.

"2010 was the longest and coolest growing season we've seen in 30 years on Spring Mountain," Keenan began at the quaint, rustic tasting room three-quarters of the way to the top of Spring Mountain Road. "The spring was cold and it was wet, hardly good news up here where the summer nights are cold. By June, I think we were three weeks behind the norm. The set was small. Two things were certain: The harvest would be small and it would be late."

At every cellar we visited, winemakers were quick to say that all of the great 2010s were made in the vineyards — not the cellar — largely a function of early summer canopy-management decisions. That held true at Keenan. "You couldn't help but be tempted to pull leaves in June and July," Michael told us as he swirled this breathtaking 2010 Cabernet in a Riedel stem. "We were still in the throes of the recession. No one could afford a qualitative disaster in 2010. Lots of estates, particularly those on deeper soils, dropped crop. Others opened up canopies, exposing bunches to the sun, hoping to spike maturity. Both were reasonable approaches. But we stood pat."

On August 23rd, the coldest growing season in recent Napa Valley history turned blistering hot. Temperatures soared from the mid-70s to over 110 degrees. Exposed clusters were blistered in days, making the sorting-table process at harvest particularly arduous. Keenan's mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, still shrouded by a healthy leaf canopy, shrugged off the heat spike. When the mercury dipped again during an incredibly drawn-out Indian summer, the Keenan vineyard crew waited and waited. Harvest began on October 15th, one of the latest dates on record for this superstar estate. The last bunches wouldn't be picked until the morning of October 27th.

For those of you who have cellars full of Michael Keenan's Cabernet Sauvignons, this 2010 is truly a breed apart. Deep black/purple to the rim with powerhouse aromas of crushed black fruits, violets, black chocolate and Pauillac-like lead pencil. Ultra-plush on the attack, velour-like in texture, packed with blackberry/black cherry concentration, while still light on its feet and marvelously restrained. More than any Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon of the new millennium, this one's a keeper. Drink now-2025.



Tasting Notes

2010 Robert Keenan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
"The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is laced with an exciting melange of black cherries, incense, tobacco, mocha, graphite and dried flowers. Deceptively medium in body, the 2010 possesses gorgeous aromatics and tons of pure nuance, all in an understated style I find highly appealing. Today, the wine is a bit compact, but it should grow nicely with further time in bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025."
91+ points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

 

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