Scarecrow 2003, 750ml
"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. "