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Scarecrow M. Etain Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • V94
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

A cooler year in the vineyard allows a winemaker to play with aromatic and flavor nuances that may be lost in warmer seasons. This lovely offering shows the trademark raspberry, fresh plum and dusty cocoa tones that personify its Rutherford origins, but with more subtle, graceful notes of sweet anise, cinnamon bark and bayberry adding complexity that only a slow-ripening vintage like 2011 could produce. Texturally, this 100% Cabernet has enough backbone to lenda serious basenote of power, yet shows restraint and finesse despite the complex flavors. The finish lingers with flavors of warm plum and vanilla, with a hint of toasty oak.

Critical Acclaim

V 94
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain is fabulous. Dark raspberries, flowers, tobacco, mint and rose petals all meld together in a long, soulful wine loaded with personality. Today the tannins are a bit firm, but that should not be an issue in another few years, once the wine has come together a little more fully. Today the 2011 M. Etain is absolutely singing. That is a second wine is virtually incomprehensible.

RP 90
The Wine Advocate

The already bottled 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Etain is a pure, medium-bodied effort with abundant rich black currant and black cherry fruit intermixed with hints of unsmoked cigar tobacco, loamy soil (the Rutherford dust?), and a velvety finish. It should drink nicely over the next decade.

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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.

Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines...

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Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.

In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.

MGY128315_2011 Item# 128315

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