Keenan Winery Napa Valley Spring Mountain Cab with Grilled Beefsteak
We grilled out New York Strip beefsteaks, served with a wedge salad, baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes.
I pulled from the cellar this aged twenty-year old Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet as a perfect accompaniment wine-food pairing.
Keenan Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
From our collection of about a decade of vintages, I pulled the oldest vintage release, this twenty year old. This was delicious, especially paired with the grilled beefsteak, amplifying the enjoyment of each. At twenty years, this label is likely at the apex, peak of its tasting profile, not likely to improve further with aging, but certainly to be enjoyed for another decade.
Napa Valley Spring Mountain district may be our favorite of the seventeen different appellations that make up the greater Napa Valley wine producing districts.
We tasted and acquired several vintages of this label while visiting the estate winery and vineyards during one of our Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Wine Experiences.
I wrote more about our visit to Robert Keenan Winery on Spring Mountain in this blogpost. We discovered Keenan during our many visits to Napa Valley and our treks up Spring Mountain to visit Fantesca, Pride Cellars, Paloma and Spring Mountain Vineyards.
We visited the winery high atop Spring Mountain above St Helena during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 2007 (shown left).
We have enjoyed collecting Keenan and having fun sharing and gifting it to a namesake friend and business alliance partner.
In 1974 Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres in the Spring Mountain District at an elevation of 1700 feet, located on the eastern slope of the Mayacamas Mountain range overlooking St Helena in Napa Valley.
The Spring Mountain District gained recognition as an American Vineyard Appellation (AVA) in 1993.
The unique terroir of the appellation is characterized by low vigor soils on the steep, rocky, mountainsides, ideal for vineyards to produce wines of great concentration, structure, and pure varietal flavors.
The property declined when it was abandoned during Prohibition until the time Keenan arrived in 1974. He extended the original vineyard acreage and replanted the property primarily in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
A new winery was built using the existing stonewalls from the old Conradi building. Keenan Winery’s first harvest there was in 1977.
Michael Keenan took over leadership of the estate in 1998 and replanted the vineyards to increase grape quality. He built a solar power system that went on-line in 2007 that now supplies all of the estate’s energy needs.
Notably, winemaking duties during the early years were done by legendary consulting winemaker Nils Venge. We hold many labels of Nil's own wines as well as many of the wines he crafted for Del Dotto and many other leading labels. Nils was winemaker for this 2003 Cabernet release as shown on the rear label (below).
I last/first wrote a tasting note on this label back in 2010 when I wrote this:
Deep bright garnet colour. Forward full bodied fruit with chewy plum, raspberry and currant flavors.At that time I gave this 91 points.
Wineamakers notes for this release: "The blend was assembled just before bottling. The Estate grown Cabernet imparts amazing concentration and remarkable structure, while the portion of Cabernet harvested from the Pope Valley region of Napa has added complex aromas and a balanced mid-palate. Merlot from the Napa Carneros district imparted ripe berry nuances and plenty of forward fruit."
Wine and Spirits gave this release 92 Points in 2007, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave it 91 points.