Keep Wines: small batch Californian elegance


Keep Wines is a small Californian winery that was started by Jack Roberts and Johanna Jensen in 2009. Jack is English and was educated at Eton: orginally these wines had the image of the keep of a castle on them (hence the name Keep), and this had been in the Roberts family. Beverstone Castle, which dates back to the 11th century, was where his father grew up.

Roberts got his love for wine when he was working in Paris. His job was selling apartments, but in between he’d work in wine bars. Later, he went to work in California. There he met Steve Matthiason, who became his mentor when he later went to work with him. Jensen worked with Chris Brockway of Broc cellars and then Abe Schoener, wineries with a similar aesthetic to Matthiason. So both were on the right track in terms of wine style.

In 2011 they leased the Kahn vineyard, which has 2 acres of Syrah. They also source from other vineyards, and these Keep wines are quite beautiful.


Keep Wines Skin Contact Delta White 2018 California
This is a 50/50 blend of Cortese and Falaginha. This vintage they had more grapes than tank space so they did half a ton fermented on the skins, and they left it for 6 months on skins and then aged it in neutral oak for 18 months. Fresh with hints of nut and spice as well as some cherry. Nice citrus and pear fruit with a touch of apple. Layers of flavour here with some spiciness and also a bit of structure: very appealing. 93/100

Keep Broadway Farms Co-Ferment 2020 Sonoma, California
This is from the organically farmed Sonoma Broadway Farms, a 12 acre vineyard. It’s layers of 65% Merlot and 35% Chardonnay, with carbonic maceration. Fresh, juicy and bright with citrus, pear and cherry fruit. Lively with a bit of grip: very pretty and drinkable. 92/100

Keep Broadway Farms Merlot 2019 Sonoma, California
This is from a 12 acre Merlot vineyard that has since been partially grafted over to Pinot d’Aunis and Aligoté. Fresh, vivid and grippy with gravelly, chalky red fruits and a lovely texture and structure. Fresh and elegant with berry and cherry fruit showing great finesse. 94/100

Keep Syrah Sans Souffre 2018 Napa Valley, California
No added sulfites here. This is from the Kahn Vineyard, and it is powerful, bold and ripe with sweet black cherry fruit on the nose and some cherry and plum notes on the palate with a touch of liqourice. Fresh and balanced. 94/100

Keep Counoise 2020 El Dorado, California
This is light in colour: it’s 100% carbonic maceration in stainless steel, with no added sulfites. Supple, bright and elegant with lovely red cherry fruit and some tart cranberry notes. Light and expressive with real purity. 94/100

Keep Pinot Meunier 2019 Napa Valley, California
Whole bunch. Rounded, juicy and fine with a hint of roast coffee and spice. Lovely tart red fruits with real elegance. Has a taut, spicy twist. 93/100

An older note:

Keep Wine Counoise 2017 El Dorado, California
Jack Roberts (an English guy who works for Steve Matthiason) and his wife JJ make this wine. Terrible label, brilliant wine. Pale pink red with a hint of orange. Bright and grainy and light with lovely balance and freshness. It has beautiful red cherry and strawberry fruit with good structure and acidity. Such zip and detail. Lovely wine with incredible elegance. Such a wine, with drinkability, elegance and also complexity. 95/100

UK agent: Nekter

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