Somewhere on http://www.keenanwinery.com is the winery’s SECRET WINE. Click around on different objects and, if you have some wine luck, you’ll find it. But don’t look on the navigation, because it’s not there. This wine has an unusual story and is so special that when it’s offered in any restaurant it won’t be on their menu: you have to know to ask for it by name. In fact, it is so unique that Robert Keenan Winery does not advertise it anywhere, yet it inspired a rock song (that plays when you find the secret page on the Web site-or, in theory, also when you open a bottle of this highly exquisite wine).
BACKGROUND – High in the Mayacamas Range, at an elevation of 1,700 feet above the Napa Valley floor, are Spring Mountain and the Robert Keenan Winery and vineyards. This area was first identified as prime vineyard land by Peter Conradi in the late 19th century when he planted 100 acres of terraced vineyard in Zinfandel and Syrah grapes. The Conradi Winery operated until Prohibition when the vineyards and winery fell out of use. In 1974, Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres of forest on the defunct Conradi Winery site. No vines remained. Only the crumbling walls of the former winery and a few old broken tanks told of its history, but Robert was certain the mountain top vineyards would be perfect for an estate winery. He replaced tree stumps and rocks with rows of Cabernet and Chardonnay, hired an engineer to redesign the original winery structure, and brought in a contractor to begin construction. The winery was made operational just in time for the harvest of 1977. From that time on, Keenan has earned a great reputation for producing wines of intense character and renowned acclaim.
Keenan focuses on three varietals — Chardonnay Napa Valley, cabernet sauvignon, and Merlot. It produces nearly 14,000 cases per year. Combining the dedication of experienced winemakers with a commitment to excellence, the Robert Keenan Winery has distinguished itself as a maker of exceptional wines – in limited varietals and quantity. Napa Valley Wines for sipping, wines for enjoying, wines for enhancing any occasion. In the last eight vintages, 42 wines have been rated between 90 and 97 points by Robert Parker Jr.
While the beauty and history of the land are appealing, it is the richness of the soils that makes the hillside perfect for an estate winery. These soils are, in great measure, responsible for the dramatic intensity of the fruit associated with the ultra-premium wines produced at Robert Keenan Winery. The winery recently completed a solar power system on their property. The system will supply all of the winery’s power needs. The estate wines will carry the “Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed” phrase on the label.
Keenan reclaimed nearly 50 acres from the mountain forest. Three areas of hillside are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley, Chardonnay, and Merlot grapes. These hillside grapes first produced big, “monster” wines so popular in the late 1970s. Now the winery carefully controls and finesses the abundant flavors of the hillside-grown grapes, producing wines of unparalleled complexity, richness, and elegance.
Chardonnay was the first Keenan wine released and it immediately established the Winery in Napa Valley California as a leading producer of Napa valley chardonnay wines. The Cabernet grapes came into leaf and the resulting Cabernet vintages were immediate successes. The 1978 was voted the best California Cabernet of that vintage. The 1986 Cabernet was acclaimed as the 42nd best cabernet sauvignon wine in the world by Wine Spectator. In 1978, Keenan purchased a small volume of Merlot grapes as a way to also acquire some desired Chardonnay grapes. The resulting Merlot proved extremely popular and Merlot became a permanent part of the winery’s selection. The reputation of the Keenan Merlots was solidified in 1988 when tastings of the Keenan Merlots against the world famous Petrus wines (Merlots) resulted in a virtual draw.
Robert Keenan Winery combines both the art and science of winemaking with a relentless passion for producing fine wines for your enjoyment. From using only the finest grapes to the Portuguese cork in the bottle, the Keenan commitment to quality is consistent. The wine is testament to these efforts. One taste and you will note the Keenan difference. However, why limit yourself to only one taste?
The winery staff invites you to come visit the historic Robert Keenan Winery in person. Enjoy handcrafted, small production wines produced by sustainably-farmed vineyards. Bring a picnic lunch and take in the beautiful Napa Valley vineyard and valley views from the panoramic picnic area. Robert Keenan Winery is available by appointment seven days a week: http://www.keenanwinery.com/Tours-Directions.aspx.