The 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Mernet Reserve, which is a blend of 50% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, may well be Michael Keenan’s favorite wine. Only 500 cases were produced. Chocolaty cassis, graphite, spice box and plum are all present in this sensational blend that should age beautifully for 15-20 years, although most people will have consumed it by year ten. It is remarkable that 2012 is the fourteenth vintage that this proprietary blend has been produced, and it seems like its just yesterday I first tasted it. The color is a handsome, opaque purple. The wine is extremely impressive and still very youthful. Another one or two years of age will round it into more complex shape. Keenan has been on a real high-quality roll for a number of years, and they are among my favorite wines in Napa Valley, combining power and complexity. They’ve certainly found their groove, so to speak, in this last 10-15 years. One particular strong point has been their Cabernet Franc. (RP) 94+
Michael Keenan grows Merlot at his Mailbox Vineyard, a sloping block planted on rocky clay loam at 1,700 feet, blending it with Cabernet Sauvignon and a little Franc for Mernet. It’s a tightly structured Spring Mountain wine, tasting like a redwood grove-umami notes of black mushrooms and moist tree bark-dark, a little dank and earthy, with spice to sun it up. While the oak is a little prominent for now, that espresso scent will fade into the fresher, herbal character of the fruit as the wine ages.
The producer's combination of 50% Merlot (the Mer) with 44% Cabernet Sauvignon (the net) and a remaining 6% Cabernet Franc, (which doesn't make it into the name) is a classically styled mountain expression of chewy tannin around toasted oak and black currant and berry. Ripe, full-bodied concentration is the star.
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)