One of Wine Access’ most popular Napa Merlots
We were prepared for the 2014 Keenan Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard to meet critical acclaim. After all, Robert Parker praised the Keenan winery for having “a Midas touch across all varietals” and Michael Keenan for producing “Merlot at its most complex” — perhaps one of the most complex in all of Napa Valley. So, dual 94-point scores from Antonio Galloni, who called it “plump, juicy and inviting,” and Wine & Spirits’ which said it was “powerful and concentrated,” coupled with Parker’s 93-point score for this “pure, textured, and serious” wine came as no surprise. Culled from grapes drawn from an old-vine parcel near the very top of this sprawling Spring Mountain property, the decadent, rich complexity of this Mailbox Merlot comfortably puts it in the ethereal realm reserved for Cakebread, PlumpJack, and Duckhorn’s iconic Three Palms. A word of warning: Some Wine Access clients have been anticipating this release for months, and they won’t sleep on this opportunity. Selling elsewhere for up to $95, this highly allocated Reserve is just $66 per bottle while a mere 50 cases last.
The Keenan property is an out-of- the-way mecca for Napa wine lovers. The vineyards are surrounded by the solar panels used to support the entire electrical needs of the winery and all the buildings on the property. The Keenans are also certified as sustainable farmers (an emblem on their back label shows they’ve earned their certification as a sustainable winery) — applicants for this certification must meet rigorous requirements for environmental, financial and worker sustainability.
When Robert Keenan organized the famous taste-off that pitted his Spring Mountain Merlots against Pomerol’s legendary — and legendarily pricey — Château Petrus back in 1989, most assumed it was something of a publicity stunt. But Robert Keenan knew something the naysayers didn’t — Spring Mountain was a world-class source. More than 20 years later, nobody’s laughing anymore.
Just like his father before him, Michael is serious about the quality of the wine bearing his surname. For the 2014 Keenan Merlot Reserve, he revisits the steeply terraced Mailbox Vineyard — the same 3-acre Spring Mountain parcel put to the test in Robert’s bold experiment. Michael finds Merlot grapes that deeply benefitted from 2014’s harvest — “a dream vintage,” Wine Spectator calls it — and transforms them into a succulent expression of deep fruit Parker says can be enjoyed “over the next 12-15 years” … if you can wait that long.
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