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Keen on Keenan


Already popular in the metro, winemaker Michael Keenan produces custom wines for Oklahoma City eateries.

Greg Horton November 23rd, 2011

Michael Keenan loves Ranch Steakhouse, 3000 W. Britton. The Napa Valley winemaker has eaten more steaks there than most Oklahoma City residents. When ownership and management approached him about making a custom wine just for the Ranch, he was happy to oblige.

The result is Stallion Red Meritage, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot available by the bottle beginning in December. A custom wine is a rare departure for Keenan, but Oklahoma is one of his best markets.

Rick Naifeh, owner of Premium Brands, which represents Keenan in the Sooner State, said it’s the first wine Keenan has made with a sole purpose in mind: to provide a private-label, custom wine for a favorite restaurant.

“Michael knows the quality that Ranch produces, and he’s intimately familiar with the food,” Naifeh said. “This wine is the perfect blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Merlot to fit their menu. It’s Cabernet-dominant to pair with steak, but it has just the right amount of Merlot and Cab Franc to make it approachable as a young wine.”

right, Keenan’s wines at Ranch Steakhouse

Keenan has established a reputation as a solid winemaker by producing excellent Napa Valley staples: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. He regularly produces critically acclaimed wines, including a special bottling for Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.

The special bottling was the same blend and vintage as Keenan’s 97-point 2008 Reserve Cabernet. At 80 percent Cabernet and 20 percent Cab Franc, the 2008 received amazing reviews, including this assessment from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Possibly one of the finest wines Michael Keenan has yet made, it has just about everything one could desire in a Cabernet Sauvignon, including good minerality, floral, red, black and blue fruit notes, great equilibrium, stunning concentration and length, and an overall sense of purity and personality.”

Keenan’s wines are especially popular at steakhouses. Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, 3241 W. Memorial, has carried his work since it opened, including the winery’s workhorse, Keenan Spring Mountain District Cabernet. It’s a remarkable wine, especially at a retail price of about $40.

The winery also produces one of California’s best Merlots: the Mailbox Vineyard Merlot, ranked between 89 and 94 for the same period. Also from the Spring Mountain District, it’s available at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, 6418 N. Western, and Ranch.

The best value in Keenan’s family is the Napa Chardonnay. Priced under $30, this crisp, fruity, food-friendly Chardonnay features very little oak, allowing pear, pineapple and floral notes to emerge.

Photo by Mark Hancock

 
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