Overview of the Wine
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.
During Hollywood’s golden age, Cohn was instrumental in the making of such film classics as Ben Hur, Gigi, Mutiny on the Bounty and, most beloved of all, The Wizard of Oz. Today, the Scarecrow label pays tribute to the endearing and indomitable character from that film. Scarecrow evokes a distinctly American agricultural icon and American optimism. And most importantly, Scarecrow honors the remarkable life of J.J. Cohn. Cohn lived to be 100 years old, spanning a defining century that he helped to shape. The people who labor with passion and conviction to bring you Scarecrow wine are proud to be part of his living legacy.
Produced entirely from grapes grown on the J. J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. Harvested between September 28 and October 12, 2009, the wine was fermented in small lots, then judiciously blended to create this complex offering. The wine was aged in 90% new French oak barrels for approximately 21 months prior to bottling without fining or filtration.
Grape / Blend
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
The 2018 growing season can best be summarized with the word moderation. Although the winter rainfall was much less than in the prior year, the rain gave our vineyards completely saturated soils as the vines began their grand period of growth in late spring. Likewise, summer’s moderate undulations of warming and cooling trends gave the ripening clusters
a week of moderate stress followed by a week of recovery, then back through the cycle again. This slow, methodical ripening is immediately apparent when one tastes the resulting wine from this season.
The 2018 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon shows fully ripe aromas, vibrant and effusive, of blackberries on the vine, dusty cherries, and a sense of fresh earth. On the palate the wine broadens to express its Rutherford character with bright red and blue fruits as well as darker tones of mocha and vanilla. The tannins show polish and power in the same moment, offering a glimpse of the wine as it may evolve in the coming years and decades.
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Pure perfection in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Scarecrow’s 2018 reveals a dense purple hue as well as an incredible bouquet of pure crème de cassis, toasted spices, chocolate, darker currants, and graphite. This carries to a full-bodied, dense, off-the-charts sexy 2018 that has the vintage’s purity and freshness backed up by flawless balance, a layered mouthfeel, and building yet elegant tannins. This cuvée is hard to resist given its texture and wealth of fruit, but it will ideally be given 3-5 years and should evolve for 30 years or more.
98 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Scarecrow is deep garnet-purple in color, slipping slowly, measuredly out of the glass with sensuous notes of blackberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles and Morello cherries, leading to hints of raspberry leaves, oolong tea, cardamom and fragrant earth. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of energy, delivering vivacious, mineral-sparked black fruit preserves flavors with a firm, grainy texture and a refreshing lift on the long, long finish. Simply gorgeous!
97 Points - Vinous
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon shows why this Rutherford site is so highly regarded. A Cabernet of pedigree and stature, the 2018 Scarecrow makes a strong opening statement. Seemingly endless waves of fruit completely bury the tannins. A bit of coaxing releases an exotic melange of gravel, spice, smoke, grilled herb and licorice nuances that meld into the super-concentrated dark fruit. This is another stellar effort by the team led by winemaker Celia Welch and vineyard manager Mike Wolf.
94 Points - Wine Spectator
A ripe and refined wine that moves through steadily and assuredly, with cassis, plum reduction, loam, tobacco and savory notes layered seamlessly from start to finish. There's no bombast to this, just rock-solid Cabernet. Best from 2022 through 2038.
Product size: 750ml