2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Scarecrow Scarecrow

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Average critic rating : 98.0 points



Any debut wine that is this impressive requires research. The story goes as follows: In 1945, the famed John Daniel, Jr., who made so many historically great wines at Inglenook, convinced a neighbor of his, J. J. Cohn, to plant 80 acres of Cabernet vines, and the fruit became a component of Inglenook’s series of great Cabernet Sauvignons. Cohn, who owned the property and planted the vineyard at the insistence of John Daniel, had a prominent career in Hollywood as chief of production at MGM, where he played a role in the making of such movies as “Ben Hur,” “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and his favorite movie apparently, “The Wizard of Oz,” to which the Scarecrow label pays tribute. The 2003 Scarecrow (471 cases, all from the Rutherford area of Napa) was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The man behind this wine today is the grandson of J. J. Cohn, Bret Lopez, and his winemaker is Celia Masyczek, who first became well-known working at Staglin. Much of this blend still comes from the old dry-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted in 1945 by J. J. Cohn. This inky purple-colored wine has an extraordinary nose of sweet black cherry jam intermixed with licorice, spice box, and cedar. It has sensational richness, but the purity, elegance, and overall nuance of this wine are what set it apart and give it a very distinctive character all its own. This is a fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon and another terrific 2003 that can be drunk now or cellared for 15-20 or more years.||Tel. (707) 963-3361; Fax (707) 968-9367 Wine Advocate.December, 2006

An estate with a chequered history, many critics consider Scarecrow to be one of the jewels of the Napa Valley. Named for the favourite movie (and executive production credit) of the legendary J.J. Cohn, it is a wine which has been variously described as “sensational” by Robert Parker and “flat-out stunning” by Antonio Galloni, and is one of the cornerstones of Napa history.

In 1943, Cohn acquired 79 hectares of land adjacent to the Inglenook Winery and in 1945, his neighbour – the equally legendary John Daniel Jr – persuaded him to plant Cabernet vines on his property and sell the grapes to Inglenook. This quickly progressed to the Cohn Estate also selling grapes to Opus One, Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi and various other vineyards, and the rest is very much history.

On Cohn’s death in 1996, the estate was purchased as a package deal between Francis Ford Coppola and Cohn’s grandson Bret Lopez and it was Lopez who decided on the name of the new Scarecrow range, in honour of his grandfather. The debut 2003 vintage, made from the old dry-farmed Cabernet Vines first planted by Cohn in 1945, was a huge success, scored a monumental 98 points by Robert Parker and praised for its elegance, nuance and intensity. The Scarecrow label has only gone from strength to strength ever since.

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