Friday, March 27, 2020

Keenan Spring Mountain Cabernet Franc 2005

Keenan Winery Spring Mountain District Cabernet Franc 2005

It's hard to believe we're coming up on two weeks of self lock-down due to the Covid19 crisis. So often I have joked that if ever such an event occurred we would be in good shape with more than a year of 'survival provisions' stored away in our wine cellar. Well, we're actually living through such an event and indeed enjoying the 'fruits' of our investment, enjoying nice wines to accompany our home cooked meals and accompaniments.
Keenan estate vineyard on Spring Mountain

After opening a Merlot the other evening, I was seeking something more adventurous as we enter the weekend, so I selected a Cabernet Franc from Keenan Winery high atop Spring Mountain on the east facing slope of the Mayacamas Range above Napa Valley St Helena.

We visited Keenan during our Spring Mountain tour back in 2007. Spring Mountain is home to several of our favorite amd notable producers - Pride, Fantesca, Keenan, Paloma and Spring Mountain Vineyards, and sources fruit for several of our favorite labels such as Robert Craig Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. 

We also have fun with this label having gifted it to special friend Jim Keenan and his family - no relation to the producer, but fun none-the-less. I fondly recall him telling me they 'toasted' me when opening a magnum of Keenan Mailbox Merlot for a gala holiday dinner that I had given him as a special memento.

We hold a half dozen vintages of Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon, but sadly only this and one other release of their Cabernet Franc. We need to get more! 

This release was produced from grapes grown on the Keenan Spring Mountain Estate from the highest elevation vineyard (approx. 2000 feet elevation) aptly named the “Upper Bowl”.

The winemaker for this release was the legendary Nils Venge whose labels we've enjoyed from Keenan, Fantesca, another Spring Mountain District producer, Venge Vineyards, Del Dotto and several others over the years. 

This is a blend of 98% percent Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot. Six hundred cases were produced. 

“Freakishly good” is how the producer describes this single vineyard Cabernet Franc, "the 2005 vintage has some of the most pinpoint laser-like flavors we have ever seen due to a higher than normal natural acid level at harvest."

 Tonight this Cabernet Franc was delicious with our simple selection of mixed nuts, artisan cheeses, biscuits and crackers followed by chocolates and sorbet with its vibrant fruits and spiciness.

At fifteen years, this is at the apex of its drinking profile and window, has life left but will not improve with further aging, dark garnet color, medium-full bodied, nicely integrated and balanced blackberry and black raspberry fruits with notes of kirsch, mocha, tangy spices, sweet tobacco, hints of soy and herbs turning to a pleasant lingering finish with nice balance of acidity and smooth tannins.

RM 92 points.

Robert Parker gave this label 93 points.