Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon emerges from the famed J.J. Cohn estate in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley. Originally planted in 1945 at the urging of Inglenook proprietor John Daniel Jr., the J.J. Cohn estate was a central fruit source for many of the great early Cabernets of Napa Valley including Inglenook’s famed post-war wines, Opus One, Duckhorn and others. The J.J. Cohn estate was unique in the area for its dedication to preserving its original plantings, ignoring the ill-fated shift to new rootstocks that would soon prove vulnerable to phylloxera.
Cohn died at the age of 100 in 1996, leaving the estate to his heirs. A family feud forced the sale of the estate, with many of Napa Valley’s biggest names quick to respond. In the end, Francis Ford Coppola assisted one of Cohn’s grandchildren, Bret Lopez, in buying the estate from the other relatives. Lopez retained a small portion of the 85 acres of original vines and over the years brought the vines back to full health replanting portions to bring the total planted acreage to 25. With the vines under clear guidance Lopez brought on renowned winemaker Celia Welch to produce a wine from this remarkable estate. In honor of his grandfather, who was Chief of Production during the production of “The Wizard of Oz”, Lopez named his flagship wine after the iconic character from the film.
Since the debut vintage of 2003, Scarecrow has become one of the most sought-after wines in Napa Valley, regularly receiving perfect scores from some of the leading wine critics. Parts of the estate had to be replanted, yet many of the original vines remain. These old vines transmit incredible power, depth, and complexity to these small production Cabernet Sauvignons while the newer plantings add fresher fruit to the profile. One thing is certain about Scarecrow, these wines are as great as they are scarce.