Today we are absolutely thrilled to offer Napa Valley’s modern legend and one of the rarest wines in the world, the show-stopping Scarecrow 2018 which has earned 100 points from Jeb Dunnuck who calls it “pure perfection”. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine is truly incredible, its ripe, balanced and elegant fruit profile means it can be enjoyed immediately yet will improve in bottle for at least 30 years. Dunnuck points out that the 2018 vintage is particularly hard to resist: “Scarecrow’s 2018 reveals a dense purple hue as well as an incredible bouquet of pure crème de cassis, toasted spices, chocolate, darker currants, and graphite. This carries to a full-bodied, dense, off-the-charts sexy 2018 that has the vintage’s purity and freshness backed up by flawless balance, a layered mouthfeel, and building yet elegant tannins. This cuvée is hard to resist given its texture and wealth of fruit, but it will ideally be given 3-5 years and should evolve for 30 years or more.”
After a very challenging 2017, with its winter floods, summer heat and October wildfires, 2018 finally offered Napa winemakers a chance to breathe out. The year brought even and cool weather and resulted in wines which, according to Antonio Galloni of Vinous, that are “refined and vibrant” and will “thrill Napa Valley fans.” While the quality is consistently high across the region, Scarecrow stands out as one of the highest scoring wines of the vintage. As noted by Galloni, “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon shows why this Rutherford site is so highly regarded. A Cabernet of pedigree and stature, the 2018 Scarecrow makes a strong opening statement. Seemingly endless waves of fruit completely bury the tannins. A bit of coaxing releases an exotic melange of gravel, spice, smoke, grilled herb and licorice nuances that meld into the super-concentrated dark fruit.”
Scarecrow is mentioned in the same breath as cult California Cabernets such as Screaming Eagle, yet it remains about one third of the price. It is certainly one of the must own Napa wines in every vintage, especially in 2018. Indeed, its score puts it ahead of the great 2012 vintage and on par with the acclaimed 2015. Today we are able to offer Scarecrow 2018 at the same price as the 2015 vintage is currently trading at and lower price than the last year’s release despite the 2018’s higher scores.
Although the Scarecrow winery was founded in 2002, the vines date back to the 1940s. In 1943, Joseph Judson Cohn, the famous MGM executive producer of The Wizard of Oz and Ben Hur, purchased a 79 ha property in Rutherford, adjacent to the Inglenook Winery. Soon after, his friend John Daniels, who had convinced Cohn to buy the land in the first place, agreed to manage the Estate. Together they planted grapes and the vineyard soon became known as one of the leading terroirs in Napa Valley. As a result, the fruit has been used by Inglenook, Opus One and Phelps Insignia.
In 1996, Cohn died at the age of 100 and his heirs put the property up for sale to help resolve an inheritance dispute. From 1996 to 2002 the value of the property rose from an estimated $4 million dollars to $33.6 million, when Francis Ford Coppola of the Rubicon Estate Winery bought the Estate in a packaged deal with Cohn’s grandson, Bret Lopez. Coppola received 140 acres, while Lopez, and his partner Mimi DeBlasio, received the property’s buildings, 25 acres of planted vineyards and 2 acres of the original Cabernet vines planted in 1945. Lopez immediately employed the revered winemaker Celia Welch to create Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon. The name Scarecrow pays homage to one of the most popular characters in the Wizard of Oz.
Today Scarecrow is recognised as having some of the oldest vines in the Napa Valley. When the prevalent thinking in Napa was to replant vineyards with European rootstock, John Daniels kept the originals. This was considered risky at the time, but paid off when phylloxera destroyed the replanted rootstocks. As such Scarecrow’s vines boast some of the only vines from 1945 in the world. In 2009 these old vines poetically led to the creation of the most expensive bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon ever sold, with an auction lot of five cases of Scarecrow selling for $80,000. Two years later, five cases sold for $125,000, firmly establishing it as one of Napa’s cult Cabernets.