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The Story

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 the mid-1960s, of replacing vines planted on St. George rootstock with the supposedly su y 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.

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Written Notes

Scheduled to be released in March of this year, the deep ruby-colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon would give the 2015 Château Margaux (that’s what leaped into my head as I tasted this) a run for its money and is an utterly perfect bottle of wine that does everything right. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from very old, dry farmed vines in what was previously known as the J.J. Cohn Vineyard, its deep purple color is followed by a heavenly perfume of blueberries, spring flowers, lead pencil, exotic spices, and graphite. Slightly more focused and poised than the M. Etain release, with full body, ultra-fine tannins, and no hard edges, it’s a wine of incredible elegance paired with remarkable intensity, and it’s rare to find a wine that marries both so effortlessly. As with the vast majority of truly great Cabernet Sauvignons, it’s great today and will be great in 30 years.

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Origin

St.Helena, Napa Valley

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