1994 Keenan "Hillside Estate" Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #301125 92 points Wine & Spirits

 A small, reliable producer in Napa, Keenan turns out refined cabernets at reasonable prices. In this 1994, fruit from the cool Spring Mountain appellation is paramount, as are the oak barrels to marry and age it in. Ripe aromas of cassis, sandalwood and rose oil lead into cherry, plum and roasted coffee flavors. While the tannins are silkly at the beginning, they are quire firm on the finish. Hold this one for a few years until the tannins are subdued, or tame them now with rich red meat or game dishes.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Estate exhibits a dark ruby/purple color, followed by a sweet, black-cherry, earthy, mineral-scented nose, and a fleshy mid-palate with depth and ripe fruit. Some rough tannin springs up in the finish. This wine will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and keep for up to 15. Winemaker/consultant Nils Venge has been brought in to try and flesh out these wines which have had a tendency to be too tannic and tough-textured. The Keenan wines, made from their vineyards on Spring Mountain, have always been ambitiously made, but largely without the mid-palate and intensity I would have expected from the lofty prices. The group of wines reviewed in this segment looks to be the finest Keenan offerings I have tasted. How encouraging it is to see this winery improve its quality.  (12/1996)

K&L Notes

A big and bold Cabernet from Keenan that could use a little time in the cellar. You won't regret the wait, because the wine is packed with flavor. Keenan considers 1994 to have been their best vintage to date. (09/2000)

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Price: $79.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.