Tag Archives: Robert Keenan Winery

Baseball, Wild Boar, and The Perfect Wine: A Candid Interview with Michael Keenan of Robert Keenan Winery

This past week I had the good fortune of taking part in a wine dinner at Annie Gunn’s in St. Louis featuring the phenomenal wines of Robert Keenan Winery. I’m not even going to mince words here, I can describe the evening in two words: PURE BLISS!

Executive Chef Lou Rook and Wine Director Glen Bardgett should pat themselves on the back through the New Year with the bevy of gustatory delights displayed.

First up out of the chute was the Maine lobster local apple roll paired up with the 2010 Spring Mountain District, Napa Chardonnay~ lemon and stone fruits on the nose with flavors of green apple, kiwi, with great balance and acidity. This wine would be just as much at home with Grandma’s chicken dinner as it was with the lobster roll.

Duck confit risotto with Ozark Forest mushroom chutney was masterfully paired with 2009 Keenan Cabernet Franc (my personal favorite). This may very well be the most amazing Cab Franc I have ever tasted. Currant, raspberries, and what I like to refer to as ‘earthy/woodsy’ qualities delight both the nose and the tongue. For a less formal pairing, serve it up with a Portobello mushroom burger.

The braised hog cheek and dried autumn fruit along with the noodle dumplings with pan roasted ‘Cab’ tenderloin was matched up with both the 2008 and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignons. Nothing but finesse with these wines with great acidity, perfect tannins, and bursting with flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, espresso, and graphite. Don’t even consider pairing any other wine with steaks….this one is the king!

The pairing that I thought was the gustatory highlight of the evening was the Wild Boar Sausage with the Gruyere and Local Plum Chutney paired with the 2008 Keenan Merlot. Simply put, it was seduction for the tastebuds. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to. I let the President of Robert Keenan Winery, Michael Keenan, sum it up in his own words. In a very candid conversation, he shared why the Merlot is his favorite, why it may very well be the perfect wine, and his thoughts on wine with sports, some interesting pairings, and what proved to be an accurate premonition regarding the National League series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Enjoy the interview, but most importantly, make sure to enjoy Keenan Wines.


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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Flavors of Fall: NFL Football, Friends Around a Fire, and the Wines of Preston-Layne/Magnum Wines Intl.

As I watched (in horror, might I add) the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks debacle, I turned my attention to the IMPORTANT things that define fall for me: fire pits, good friends, and great wines. Ironically at that time, my friend and ‘head honcho’ of Preston-Layne, & Partners, Van Potts, wrote a new blog offering some WONDERFUL fall recipes and challenging readers to decide which wine they would pair with those recipes. His offerings included a brined and hickory wood grilled whole chicken, along with a Hubbard squash soup. All ingredients were from local markets (I love supporting local). If you’re interested in the particulars, you can read the blog post here:

Being up for a good challenge, I tried to decide which wines from their portfolio I would pair up with the chicken/soup combination…and it was a tough choice, but I think I came up with a few that are sure to become favorites.

On the imported wine side, I went straight to Alsace. Cave de Turckheim puts out some of the most incredible wines I have ever had the privilege of tasting. For this particular meal, I would choose their 2008 Grand Cru Riesling hands down! Crisp acidity, citrus fruits, and a minerality that would cut through the richness of the soup, but make the flavors of the chicken come alive.

Domestically, I would choose the Foris 2010 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, with tastes of apples and baking spices that would be AMAZING with the ingredients of the soup.

But why stop with whites? It’s fall for goodness sake- give me a rich beef stew or a hearty chili, or even a good old fashioned pot roast! What to pair with those choices? Well, for a heavy pot roast with all of the fixin’s, domestically I wouldn’t even think twice: Robert Keenan Winery’s 2008 Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District. Cab Franc is one of the three main wines of Bordeaux, and usually hangs in the shadow of Cabernet Sauvignon, but this Napa beauty is pure magic! Dark, rich, luscious plum and blackberry, cedar, spice, and dense tannins hold up easily to a roast with potatoes and gravy. For a hearty stew or chili, I’d be reaching for one of my absolute favorite reds: Anderson’s Conn Valley 2009 “Right Bank Red” (sitting in my cellar as I write). Deep, ‘smoky’, amazing flavors of cassis, and ‘woodsy’ notes…bay leaf? Yes. It envelopes you like a favorite sweater on a cool night.

Of course, nothing beats my Spanish darling from winemaker Daniel Ramos. Don Juan del Aguila’s 2011 Gaznata Joven. All I can say is the man is a genius, the area is Garnacha heaven, and this red IS fall. Blackberries, dark cherries, and warm spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It is easy, laid-back, and perfect for pairing or just sipping by the fire. I am PARTICULARLY fond of this wine because I was fortunate enough to be present for the final blending. Import Manager Ashley Olbrys allowed me to join her during her trip to Madrid, and, although this wine is definitely her ‘child’, I feel like a proud, weird ‘aunt’. Forget the distant family members…love the wine!

And you WILL love these wines…all incredible values on wines of exceptional quality. Give them a try yourself, and then tell me what YOUR fall pair ups would be.

In the meantime, I need to pour another glass to drown out the memories of poor calls by the football referees.




Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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