SCARECROW 2017 M. Etain Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points Robert Parker
The 2017 harvest notes are a testament to the hard work, dedication, skill and extraordinary intuitive decisions made by Michael Wolf, Celia Welch and their crews at the J.J. Cohn Estate.
Vineyard Manager Michael Wolf:
The 2017 vintage is magnificent, and as in 2011, completely unscathed by the tricky turns of Mother Nature.
- 2017 marked the end of a multi-year, drought. Rainfall in Rutherford was 43.5 inches, a 21% increase from the previous year, and a 700% increase from the scant 6 inches that fell in 2013.
- The wet soils contributed to vigorous early season vine growth, presenting challenges for the crews trying to keep up with canopy management, which is crucial both for providing a good environment during bloom, and for disease control.
- On June 11th, there was an unusual weather system which dramatically dropped temperatures and produced hail in most parts of the valley. The strong, well-positioned canopies at J.J. Cohn protected the fruit, and there was no damage.
- The same canopy that protected the fruit from hail also provided protection from the searing weekly heat which followed. At J.J. Cohn we are blessed with a strong water source, and were able to use overhead sprinklers to raise the humidity and lower the temperature, essentially negating the impacts of the heat.
- Harvest began on September 5th and proceeded in a typical, orderly way, with overall yields slightly below historical averages, at 2.86 tons/acre. We finished up on October 6th, 2 days before the start of the fires.
- 2017 was the most challenging growing season since 2011. Thankfully, the natural attributes of the site, the vineyard architecture, and the people involved made it possible to harvest each of the blocks at their optimal maturity.
TASTING NOTES Winemaker Celia Welch writes of the 2017 M. Étain: The growing season of 2017 started with one of the most abundant rain seasons in the last decade or more. With fully hydrated soils, the vines bounded to life in the spring full of energy and ready to grow well, set ample flowers that turned into nicely formed clusters, and found a natural balance as Spring turned to Summer. While June, July and August were sunny and warm, the verdant leaves worked well to provide dappled light on the ripening clusters. The vines destined to become 2017 M. Étain were night-harvested by hand between September 6 and October 6, 2017.
Aromatically, the wine shows very pretty, bright tones of cherry, raspberry and blueberry, along with cinnamon bark, spiced tea and vanilla. At entry the wine is soft and full-bodied, and the palate shows a continuity of texture from start to finish. Flavors of warm blueberries and fresh cranberries, a hint of aniseed and a base note of cocoa all meld together in an integrated finish which displays the texture of heavy satin.
This wine was created entirely from fruit grown on the J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. The final blend contains 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. The wine was bottled on March 25, 2019. A total of 2,050 cases were produced.
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