Vineyard Manager Michael Wolf:
After the blazing heat of 2017, the growing season of 2018 was one of the coolest in recent memory.
- Low rainfall year (45% below 2017), however much of the total rainfall occurred in March, filling the soil profile with water as the vines began to grow.
- Flowering in mid-May was accompanied by ideal weather, leading to very successful pollination and very large crop potential.
- 2018 was a mild summer, and this combined with the large crop stretched the length of the season, allowing ample time for complete ripening.
- Irrigation demand was low due to the mild conditions, and dehydration of the fruit was minimal, even with the extended ripening period.
- One of the biggest challenges was simple logistics of dealing with a large crop harvest at JJC began with the “Old Men” on September 24th and continued at a measured pace through October 15th, allowing each block to reach full ripeness on its own schedule.
Winemaker Celia Welch writes of the 2018 Scarecrow:
The 2018 growing season can best be summarized with the word moderation. Although the winter rainfall was much less than in the prior year, the rain gave our vineyards completely saturated soils as the vines began their grand period of growth in late spring. Likewise, summer’s moderate undulations of warming and cooling trends gave the ripening clusters a week of moderate stress followed by a week of recovery, then back through the cycle again. This slow, methodical ripening is immediately apparent when one tastes the resulting wine from this season.
The 2018 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon shows fully ripe aromas, vibrant and effusive, of blackberries on the vine, dusty cherries, and a sense of fresh earth. On the palate the wine broadens to express its Rutherford character with bright red and blue fruits as well as darker tones of mocha and vanilla. The tannins show polish and power in the same moment, offering a glimpse of the wine as it may evolve in the coming years and decades.
Harvested completely by hand at night, between September 24 through October 19, 2018, this wine is entirely grown on the J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. The berries were destemmed, optically sorted, and fermented in small batches. After approximately 24 days on skins the fruit was gently pressed and transferred to French Oak barrels, of which roughly 80% were new barrels. The juice was kept in these barrels for about 10 months, then assessed for quality before the first assemblage was created in summer 2019 and the blend was finalized in January 2020. After a total of approximately 22 months in French oak, the wine was bottled in late July 2020 without fining or filtration. A total of 1800 cases were produced.