SCARECROW 2016 M.ÉTAIN Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
96 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): "The M. Étain comes mainly from a dry-farmed block at the toe of the lower block of the Scarecrow vineyard. The fruit is usually selected to be a little chewier and more fruit forward than Scarecrow. A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 3% Merlot, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon M. Étain is very deep purple-black in color and is a little youthfully mute to begin, opening out to reveal notes of crushed black and red currants, black cherries, warm plums and tilled black soil with hints of bay leaves, lavender, chargrill and unsmoked cigars plus a waft of pencil shavings. Full-bodied, rich, bold and seductive in the mouth, it has a firm frame of wonderfully ripe, fine-grained tannins and fantastic freshness lifting the red and black fruit layers with a long, earth-laced finish. 850 cases were made. Drink: 2020-2036. (Oct 2018)"
Vineyard Manager Michael Wolf:
Although the 2016 winter rains came late, they were almost double the volume of the previous year, resulting in robust vine growth through the spring. The vintage will be remembered for several severe heat waves: one in July which lasted for over a week, and then 3 distinct heat events in September. In July, overhead sprinklers were used at the JJ Cohn Estate to cool the vines and avoid damage. Most challenging was the extremely low relative humidity in September (<10%). Being so close to harvest, it was impossible to avoid some fruit dehydration, but with vigilance and care, the vines and fruit came through beautifully. Harvest began on September 19th and was completed on October 3rd. Yields were slightly below normal, given the challenges of the vintage, but the quality of fruit harvested was excellent.
Winemaker Celia Welch writes of the 2016 M.Étain:
The 2016 M.Étain, hailing from a nearly perfect growing season, shows abundant Rutherford-esque aromas of dusty berries, dried cherries, sage, and a hint of mocha, as well as warm undertones of vanilla and cedar. On the palate, the wine displays a texture of crushed velvet, with bright red-fruit tones and a solid backbone, and a finish of violet-scented blueberries and warm blackberries.
This vintage showed tremendous balance from the beginning, with enough rainfall in the late winter to give the vines great Springtime energy, and a summer of mixed warm and moderate temperatures that ripened the grape clusters with extraordinary uniformity. The fruit for this Rutherford Cabernet was harvested entirely by hand at the J.J. Cohn Estate, during the cool harvest nights between September 19, 2016 and October 3, 2016. The fruit was de-stemmed and optically sorted to accept only perfectly ripe individual grapes, fermented on skins for approximately 28 days, then gently pressed and transferred to French oak barrels for approximately 12 months. At that point, the individual lots of wine were blended to create this complex rendition of M. Étain. The wine was returned to barrels for an additional six months, then bottled without fining or filtration. A total of 850 cases were produced in late March, 2018.