Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Scarecrow - 2007 Cabernet Sauvigonon

What can I say other than the fact that yesterday was a great day in the wine hobby for both Zelda and I.  If there is one mailing list that we have truly been waiting to get on, it has been Scarecrow, and yesterday our dream came true.  In unfolding the newspaper that the mail was neatly tucked in, I see a beautiful white envelope embossed with a gorgeous rustic gold Scarecrow and a return address of Rutherford, CA!  At this point, I was very excited to receive my golden ticket. 

Before I opened the envelope however, I noticed the exact same envelope behind mine, addressed to Zelda.  What can I say other than the simple fact that life is good, and WE have both received the golden ticket!  Sure enough, I opened the envelope, read the gorgeous postcard, only to find out that ordering opens at midnight on March 11th.  That said, I think it might be a late night!

We were lucky enough to make the second wave of the mailer this year, and I find that very surprising based on the quality of wines from the Napa Valley from the 2007 vintage.  2007 Napa cabs are going to be phenomenol, and I have been trying to stock our cellar with many of the big 2007 cabs, so we'll have great wines to enjoy in the 10-25 years.

There is a certain mystique about Scarecrow that we absolutely love, other than the simple fact that the wines are delicious.  We've had a very generous friend over the years who also happens to own his own wine label, who has been kind enough to share his allocation with us the last two years.  We have picked up the 2005 and 2006 vintages from him, and he was also kind enough to offer us two bottles from his allocation this year.

Thankfully for one or two of his other friends, he can share those with others who have been waiting.  This year, we finally get our own allocation, so thanks again Steve for all of your kindness the last two years!  It is very appreciated!  Considering that Steve has shared these with us at cost, when he could have been flipping them for 2-3 times the release price, it truly says a lot about Steve's character, and his love for this hobby!

So sure, the inaugural vitage of this wine came out in 2003 with a Robert Parker score of 98 points, which is the highest score Mr. Parker has ever given to a wine first release.  But it takes more than scores and a fancy box to make me a believe, but for starters, take minute to read the Scarecrow story below:

"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 tobecome 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.During Hollywood’s golden age, Cohn was instrumental in the making of such film classics as Ben Hur, Gigi, Mutiny on the Bounty and, most beloved of all, The Wizard of Oz. Today, the Scarecrow label pays tribute to the endearing and indomitable character from that film. Scarecrow evokes a distinctly American agricultural icon and American optimism. And most importantly, Scarecrow honors the remarkable life of J.J. Cohn.

Cohn lived to be 100 years old, spanning a defining century that he helped to shape. The people who labor with passion and conviction to bring you Scarecrow wine are proud to be part of his living legacy."  This was cut and pasted from the "Our Story" page on Scarecrows website.

OK, so you are probably saying to yourself, "Big deal, so they have a marketing team who knows how to write and tell their story."  Yes, that is definitely the case, and they did a heck of a great job marketing this wine before it was even released.

But to me, the real proof is in the pudding, and I am not referring to Robert Parker's scores, however, Mr. Parker rated the 2003 at 98 points, the 2004 at 95 points, 2005 at 94-97 points from the barrel, the 2006 at 94+ points, and finally the 2007 at 100 points.  For us however, we are not score chasers, but we can say from the 2003's-2005's that we have been lucky enough to taste wit generous friends, these are truly wines that please our palates, and that says a lot.  Our scores have not matched Mr. Parker's scores, however, they have been very close, on both the higher side, as well as lower, in both double blind tastings, as well as non blind tastings.

Some of the nay sayers are unhappy in the fact that the prices on Scarecrow have gone through the roof over the years.  The 2003 was released at $100 per bottle, then the 2004 went to $125, 2005 at $150, 2006 a $175, and this year the 2007's are being release at $225 per bottle.  Sure, these are steep increases, but I can attribute it to inflation as well as supply and demand.  Can you really blame them if they have a waiting list for their mailing list several years long, and the wines keep selling out vintage after vintage?  I surely don't think so!

So yes, these are pricey wines, they are collectors items, they come in a fancy box, and a fancy bottle with a piece of straw tied around them.  They are also high sought out wines, trophy wines to some that they will never drink, and just want to show off in their cellar.  For whatever reason you love Scarecrow, that is entirely up to you, but I can say that Zelda and I truly look forward to opening these!

The info:

P.O. Box 144
Rutherford, CA  94573
Phone:  (707)963-3361
Fax:      (707)968-9367

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Release Price:  $225 per bottle + Tax and Shipping, sold in 3 packs
Production:  800 cases?
More information to come!  Cheers!  -F. Scott


John said...

Surely you can't drink both of those allocations..... :-)

If you are looking to get rid of a bottle or two, I'd happily find a nice 55 degree home in lovely Tennessee.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the over priced, over oaked, trophy wine. For the same price, I'll be buying multiple bottles of honest, terroir-driven wine from the Rhone or Piedmont, and I have every confidence that these bottles will long outlive the Napa trophy crap that lacks fortitude to develop in the cellar.

m pobega said...

All that highly allocated wine for you and the Mrs.? Sacrilege! No wonder others can't get on the list! I am contacting Scarerow, and maybe even the Tinman while I am at it. That Dorothy could care less, busy with her shoes and all.....

:) Kidding.


NJFoodies said...

Too funny Mr, Pobega! Seems people are pretty sensitive over there on "that board." So be it. We definitely did our time on the waiting list, and we're just happy to have gotten on.

For any of you who read his, be sure to check out M Pobega's blog at http://clonyc.blogspot.com/ It's a great resource, with some great information, and some awesome passion for cabernet sauvignon! Keep up the great work M! Cheers! -F. Scott