Overview of the Wine
Although the 2016 winter rains came late, they were almost double the volume of the previous year, resulting in robust vine growth through the spring. The vintage will be remembered for several severe heat waves: one in July which lasted for over a week, and then 3 distinct heat events in September. In July, overhead sprinklers were used at the JJ Cohn Estate to cool the vines and avoid damage. Most challenging was the extremely low relative humidity in September (<10%). Being so close to harvest, it was impossible to avoid some fruit dehydration, but with vigilance and care, the vines and fruit came through beautifully. Harvest began on September 16th and was completed on October 3rd. Yields were slightly below normal, given the challenges of the vintage, but the quality of fruit harvested was excellent.
Harvested completely by hand at night, September 16 through October 3, 2016, this wine is entirely grown on the J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. The fruit was destemmed, optically sorted, and fermented in small batches. After approximately 24 days on skins, the wine was gently pressed and transferred to French Oak barrels, of which roughly 80% were new. The wine was kept in these barrels for fifteen months, then assessed for quality before the final Scarecrow blend was created in Summer 2017. It was returned to rest in oak for an additional 6 months and was bottled in late July 2018 without fining or filtration. A total of 2,000 cases were produced.
Grape / Blend
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
Crafted from the oldest, most balanced and most intensely flavorful Cabernet lots grown on the J. J. Cohn Estate, this impressive wine shows dark aromas of spiced plums, blackberries, mocha and cassis. Its dark complexity is equally evident on the palate, where the wine is at once refreshing and somewhat mysterious. The layers of complex flavors reveal themselves with time in the glass, shifting and swirling between bright fruit and dark vanilla/caramel tones.
98 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The classic 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon included fruit from the 2-acre, old vine parcel that is nearly 70 years of age. It boasts an opaque purple color as well as copious notes of spring flowers, blackberries, black raspberries and wet rocks. The wine’s gravelly minerality and spectacular opulence and density make it an instant classic. This massive, full-bodied 2012 should drink beautifully for 15-20+ years. It showed incredibly well last year, and it still reveals the potential to possibly merit a 3-digit score – it’s that special.
95 Points - Wine Spectator
Smoky, dusty tannins give the earth-laced dark berry, raspberry and floral notes definition, accented by espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and anise hints. The density and richness promise a long life, though this is certainly a delight to drink now. Drink now through 2030.
About the Producer
The scarecrow story begins in a patch of earth with a fabled past. The J.J. Cohn Estate, where Scarecrow grapes are born, borders what was once the legendary vineyard of Inglenook winemaker Gustave Niebaum, whose plantings blanketed more than 1,000 acres of the Napa Valley at the close of the 19th century.
John Daniel Jr. took the helm at Inglenook in 1939, determined to restore the label to pre-Prohibition standing and produce world-class Bordeaux-style wines. In 1945, Daniel convinced his neighbor, J.J. Cohn, to plant eighty acres of Cabernet vines on the 180-acre parcel Cohn had purchased a few years prior. The property served as a summer retreat for Cohn’s wife and their family. He had no ambitions to become a winemaker himself, but Daniel promised to buy his grapes, so Cohn planted vines. The rest, as they say, is history.
J.J. Cohn fruit figured prominently in Inglenook’s superlative Cabernet Sauvignons of the post-war era, and has more recently gone into wines of such renown as Opus One, Niebaum-Coppola, Duckhorn, Insignia and Etude.
J.J. Cohn Estate grapes are highly sought-after in part because Cohn bucked the trend, begun in the mid- 1960s, of replacing vines planted on St. George rootstock with the supposedly superior AxR#I hybrid. Over time, vines grafted onto this new stock proved highly vulnerable to phylloxera. But by then, virtually all of the old St. George vines in Napa had been destroyed. Only the original 1945 J.J. Cohn vines survived. These highly prized “Old Men” continue to produce uncommonly rich fruit—the hallmark of Scarecrow wine.
But the Scarecrow story doesn’t end there. This is more than a tale of enchanted ground and the exceptional wine that flows out of it. The Scarecrow story is a story, too, of an extraordinary family legacy. Joseph Judson Cohn was born in Harlem in 1895 to Russian immigrants. Cohn spent his childhood in dire poverty and never learned to prefer the taste of fresh bread over stale—even after he’d found great success in Hollywood.
A move west in the 1920s launched Cohn’s studio career. Highly resourceful and extremely capable, Cohn began as a bookkeeper, distinguished himself early and rose quickly through the ranks to become Chief of Production at MGM. His unofficial credo, “Nothing is impossible,” became the motto of his MGM staff. They knew him as a man who simply refused to take “No” for an answer.
Product size: 750ml