2017 Scarecrow [Releasing March 2020]
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.
Winemaker Celia Welch writes of the 2017 Scarecrow:
The 2017 growing season started out with a plethora of precipitation, beginning in mid-Winter and continuing well into mid-Spring. The vineyards in Napa Valley responded with abundant shoot growth, energetic sap flow to leaves and the emerging clusters, and an overall well-balanced vine with nicely formed clusters.
Summer saw Napa Valley-typical weather with uniformly warm days punctuated with warm spells, especially in late August and early September. These events assisted the vines in achieving a nicely balanced maturity in late September, ideal timing for this vineyard to mature the seed and skin tannins while the evenings are still warm.
The 2017 Cabernet shows aromas of fresh cherries, aromatic cedar, bright raspberries, and hints of candied violets and cocoa notes. On the palate, the entry is broad, soft and balanced, showing serious weight but with mature tannins that add volume without adding a coarse texture. The finish displays plums, bright juicy fresh fruit, and a fresh floral/lavender lift.
Harvested completely by hand at night, between September 15 through October 6, 2017, this wine is entirely grown on the J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. The fruit was destemmed, optically sorted, and fermented in small batches. After approximately 24 days on skins the wine was gently pressed and transferred to French Oak barrels, of which roughly 80% were new barrels. The wine was kept in these barrels for about 10 months, then assessed for quality before the final Scarecrow blend was created in Winter 2018. Returned to rest in oak for an additional 10 months, the wine was bottled in late July 2019 without fining or filtration. A total of 1,450 cases were produced.