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Keep Wines, Syrah Carneros 2014
Jack Roberts & Johanna Jensen
This wine hails from the Kahn Vineyard, which they farm ourselves organically, but not yet certified. A great example of an old world wine made in the new world. The high quality Syrah grapes combine vegetal (but no green notes) and mineral flavours with smooth and integrated black fruit. Bright tannins with full fruit all the way through the palate and a long finish.
Picked at 23.5 Brix, with 50% whole cluster, fermented half in rolling neutral oak puncheons and half in open top fermenters. Aged for 18 months in neutral oak barrels.
In 2008, Brit Jack Roberts was visiting Napa for the very first time to work harvest. He met Johanna Jensen within 6 hours of arriving. On his third attempt in trying to engage conversation with her, she replied, and they were inseparable until dawn. 11 years later they are married, have a two year old daughter and run Keep wines. They come with excellent pedigree - Jack started in the vineyards working for Steve Matthiasson, and now works as assistant winemaker for Matthiasson Family Vineyards, whilst wife JJ is formerly of Broc Cellars and Scholium. All sites are farmed by themselves or by Steve, and are all certified organic or practicing. Like Steve, the focus is protecting and always improving the vineyards, the surrounding land and the pillars of sustainability. Their wines are a delight. Different, sometimes, yes. Funky, sometimes yes as well. Italian varieties play a big part here. Expect less overly ripe fruit, less oak, minimal manipulation and fine acid across the range. Wines of the highest authenticity, whilst still being pristine clean.
Decanter 92pts (2017) - 'A new, organic project by Jack Roberts (Matthiasson Wines) and Johanna Jensen (formerly Scholium Project and Broc Cellars). Eucalyptus and a touch of cassis, between Shiraz and Syrah, on the nose. A touch of liquorice and sweet spice beneath. Cool fruit, well balanced. Tannins a little grainy from 50% whole cluster. Restrained, unforced, with developing complexity. 92 points, Drinking Window 2019 - 2024.'DECANTER TOP 20 CALIFORNIA RHONE RANGERS, SEPTEMBER 2019