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Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
  • WS94
  • RP92
  • V92
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Winemaker Notes

Open, forward and intensely perfumed aromas of cassis, boysenberry and warm raspberries dominate the nose of this ripe, fruit-driven Cabernet, with undercurrents of vanilla, sweet earth and anisette. Texturally the wine opens with soft, delicate fresh flavors of sweet crushed dark cherries, evolving into darker notes of cocoa, vanilla, and a hint of warm toasty oak. Velvety, fully complexed tannins coat the mouthfeel as though the wine is draped in heavy satin. The wine continues to evolve and add layers and dimensions of flavor as it spends time in the glass, and a description of the wine can only provide a snapshot of that evolution.

Critical Acclaim

WS 94
Wine Spectator

A riveting expression of complex Cabernet, this is rich, loamy and layered, with pure, detailed currant, blackberry and black licorice flavors and firm, gripping tannins. Gains and sustains on the finish. Cellar-worthy. Best from 2014 through 2028.

RP 92
The Wine Advocate

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with huge dark fruit, scorched earth, menthol, licorice and smoke. The first impression is quite positive, but then the persistence on the mid-palate unexpectedly drops off quickly, as if there is a hole in the middle of the wine. In this vintage, the difference between the second label M. Etain and Scarecrow is much less evident than in 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.

V 92
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with huge dark fruit, scorched earth, menthol, licorice and smoke. The first impression is quite positive, but then the persistence on the mid-palate unexpectedly drops off quickly, as if there is a hole in the middle of the wine. In this vintage, the difference between the second label M. Etain and Scarecrow is much less evident than in 2010.

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Scarecrow

Scarecrow

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Scarecrow, , California
Scarecrow
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.

An underrated country gaining appreciation for superior wines made from indigenous varieties...

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An underrated country gaining appreciation for superior wines made from indigenous varieties, Austria should be on the radar of anyone who loves bright, elegant wines. These food-friendly, cool-climate reds and whites are quintessentially European in style with racy acidity, moderate alcohol, and tart, fresh fruit flavors. After recovering from serious vineyard decimation during First and Second World Wars, the Austrian wine industry succumbed to an unfortunate scandal in 1985 when a small group of deceitful winemakers were discovered to have been lacing dessert wines with diethylene glycol to mimic the textural effects of botrytis. The country’s credibility as a wine region took a serious hit, and in order to rebuild trust, strict regulations for quality standards were put into place. Today, Austrian wines are prized for their near-uniform dedication to excellence, and it is now difficult to find a bad bottle.

Rather than joining in on the worldwide trend to plant international varieties, Austria has chosen to stake its reputation mainly on its native grapes. Grüner Veltliner, known for its racy acidity and vegetal and peppery aromatics, is the most important, comprising nearly a third of Austrian wines. Riesling in Austria is high in quality but not quantity, planted on less than 5% of the country’s vineyard land. Unlike their German counterparts, Austrian Rieslings are almost always dry, with higher alcohol, slightly lower acidity, and flavors that lean more toward the citrus end of the fruit spectrum. Field blends of these two grapes along with Pinot Blanc and other white varieties known as Gemischter Satz are popular for daily consumption in Vienna. Red wines include light, tart-fruited Zweigelt, juicy and spicy Blaufränkisch, and Pinot-Noir-like Saint Laurent.

Gruner Veltliner

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Difficult to pronounce yet delightfully easy to drink...

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Difficult to pronounce yet delightfully easy to drink, Grüner Veltliner is indigenous to Austria, where it has long maintained its status as the nation’s most important white grape. It became trendy among America’s wine elite in the mid-twenty first century, and has since proven itself to be more than just a fad, becoming a mainstay on the shelves of wine shops and the pages of restaurant wine lists for those who enjoy a crisp and refreshing yet serious white wine. Grüner Veltliner performs well in cool climates, and is gaining ground in chillier pockets of California and New York’s Finger Lakes.

In the Glass

Crisp and refreshing with plenty of lively acidity, Grüner Veltliner is marked by telltale notes of white pepper and a slight vegetal quality reminiscent of green beans, as well as a streak of minerality. When less ripe, it leans toward the lemon/lime end of the fruit spectrum, while additional hangtime at harvest can lend notes of pink grapefruit and even stone fruit. A hint of spritz on the palate is not unusual.

Perfect Pairings

Grüner Veltliner is a wonderfully versatile wine—it can pair with just about any lighter fare, from seafood to poultry to complex salads. It even works with spicy foods, and can be a classic pairing with Asian dishes.

Sommelier Secret

When it comes to foods that are notoriously difficult to pair, Grüner Veltliner has been known to step in and save the day. The sulfur compounds naturally present in asparagus can imbue a wine with a highly unpleasant metallic taste, while artichokes’ cynarin compound typically cause the taste of a wine to turn unpalatably sweet. Grüner Veltliner not only manages to avoid these issues, but actually serves to complement these foods with its sharp, pungent, vegetal flavors.

LPA120773_2009 Item# 120773

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