January 31, 2019

North Coast Part 1: Napa Valley’s Incredible 2016s

Jeb Dunnuck

2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

Rating: 100
Maturity: 2019-2049

Scheduled to be released in March of this year, the deep ruby-colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon would give the 2015 Château Margaux (that’s what leaped into my head as I tasted this) a run for its money and is an utterly perfect bottle of wine that does everything right. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from very old, dry farmed vines in what was previously known as the J.J. Cohn Vineyard, its deep purple color is followed by a heavenly perfume of blueberries, spring flowers, lead pencil, exotic spices, and graphite. Slightly more focused and poised than the M. Etain release, with full body, ultra-fine tannins, and no hard edges, it’s a wine of incredible elegance paired with remarkable intensity, and it’s rare to find a wine that marries both so effortlessly. As with the vast majority of truly great Cabernet Sauvignons, it’s great today and will be great in 30 years.

2016 M. Étain Cabernet Sauvignon

Rating: 96
Maturity: 2019-2039

Both of these Scarecrow releases from winemaker Celia Welch are truly gorgeous wines that I wish every reader could taste. Starting with the 2016 M. Etain, which is from a vintage compared to 1997 by Welch, it has a real Scarecrow vibe in its elegance and finesse as well as its fabulous bouquet of forest floor, leafy herbs, cassis, and floral nuances. With medium to full body, an endearing charm and accessibility, perfect balance, and a great finish, it’s a world-class wine in its own right and can be drunk today or cellared for two decades or more.