Brett Keller and his wife Andrea own Mineral Wines in Murphys, California. Brett started out in Hospitality Management but eventually went back to school earning his degree in Viticulture and Enology in 2003. When Brett and Andrea moved back to Angels Camp (Calaveras County), Brett took over management of Andrea’s family 4 acre Cherokee Creek Vineyard. Initially this property grew exclusively Merlot, but subsequently Brett grafted three acres of vineyard to Roussanne, Viognier and Petite Sirah. These are the main stay and define Mineral Wines today. In addition, they produce a Zinfandel, Malbec, and various Meritage blends, Barbera, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their tasting room is located at 419 B Main St. Murphys, CA.
I met Brett through the 2nd Annual Cabernet Franc Celebration in late 2020. However due to Covid and various other commitments, I have never had the chance to taste a lot of his wines. His Cabernet Franc won Silver Medals from the Professional Judges and People’s Choice Judges with his first entry. Over this past weekend and without an appointment, stopped by and was able to complete a quick tasting on his wines. Recently he was awarded a Double Gold for his 2016 Meritage from the Calaveras Foothill Wine Competition. While being a judge at the event, our table did not have the privilege of tasting this wine. Thus this was the focus of my visit and I was not only impressed with Meritage winning but walked out purchasing three bottles!
But that was just the start of tasting many of the wines including his Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. All winners for my taste buds! Walked out with another three of his exquisite Malbec one for our upcoming dinner.
This wine on eyes was a deep purple coloration and medium heavy body. On the nose, distinct blackberry aromas arose to awaken the drinker. Once on the palate, the dark black fruits were included black cherry, black pepper and a light smokiness. On the finish oak and a hint of mocha were present along with the mid-level tannins. The wine immediately brought one to an open campfire on the plains of Mendoza with a beef on the BBQ pit. Current release is the 2017 and it goes for $34/per bottle. Only 100 cases were produced using 100% French oak barrels that were used two years.
The Food and Wine Pairing
This wine was chosen for dinner as a flank steak had been marinating for twenty-four hours. The steak similar to a Carne Asada was seared and BBQ’ed quickly to produce a grilled outside and medium rare finish inside. It was accompanied with Mexican corn that was pan roasted and green Polamba Chili peppers flame roasted on the BBQ. A perfectly matched meal with this wonderful wine with the fruit calming down the heat of the peppers and strong enough to break down the meat.