Everything about Scarecrow Napa Valley California Cabernet Sauvignon wine producer profile, wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines
Scarecrow History, Overview
Scarecrow as a producer of Cabernet Sauvignon does not have a long, fabled history, like many of the most expensive California wines. In fact, they are one of the few recent cult wine phenomena to have taken off over the past few years. That says a lot about Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon and its popularity with wine lovers as the Cult wine craze has largely fallen by the way side. Scarecrow made their debut California wine in 2003. While the winery is new, the vineyard has a long history dating all the way back to the end of World War 2. That was the year that John Daniel, Jr, (the original owner of the vineyards now used by Dominus,) convinced his friend J. J. Cohn, to plant 80 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Those vines became the backbone of all the legendary vintages for Inglenook that JJ Cohn helped produce.
JJ Cohn, AKA Joseph Judson Cohn was better known for producing some of the most famous films of his day including “Ben Hur,” “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” That hit film from 1939, “The Wizard of OZ” is where Scarecrow took its name.
In a fortuitous move, John Daniels agreed to manage the vineyard for Cohn. The vineyard quickly became known as one of the top terroirs in the Napa Valley. The grapes were used for some of the best wines in its formative years. Inglenook, Phelps Insignia, Opus One, Mondavi Reserve and other top producers used grapes from the vineyard. Today, the vineyard has perhaps the oldest vines in Napa Valley. The reason for this is, while many growers replanted their vineyards with phylloxera roostock. Ironically, John Daniels kept the original vines and rootsock, which was considered risky at the time. However, their risk was rewarded. Today, it’s impossible to find Cabernet Sauvignon vines from 1945 in Napa.
In fact those old vines led to the creation of the most expensive bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon wine ever old! In 2014, the famous, Premiere Napa Valley charity auction sold 60 bottles of Scarecrow wine produced from Cabernet Sauvignon that came from from that block of old vines for an astounding $4,333 per bottle! The wine, Scarecrow “Toto’s Opium Dream, Scene III” will only be available from perhaps one retailer. That price of $4,333 set a record for the highest price paid for a contemporary bottle of California wine!
Scarecrow Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking
The birth of Scarecrow wine began in 1996 following the death of JJ Cohn. At that point, part of the family decided it was time to sell the vineyard. The land was purchased by Francois Ford Copploa and JJ Cohn’s grandson, Bret Lopez. The sale set a record price for land in Napa Valley at the time. 25 acres went to Bret Lopez. The rest of the land went to Francis Ford Coppola. Bret Lopez hired the esteemed wine maker Celia Masyczek to create Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon. The Scarecrow comes from a reference to the most popular character in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.”
The barrel aging program for Scarecrow is unique. The wine of Scarecrow is aged in 90% new, French oak barrels for 12 months. At that point, the wine returned to tanks for blending, which is followed by an additional 10 months of aging in barrel.
This small production wine is difficult to find and expensive. But it is a unique, tactile style of California Cabernet Sauvignon that is worth the effort to seek out. The entire production of Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon is sold through a mailing list.
Scarecrow recently began producing a second wine M. Etain, which is also offered to mailing list customers. The name like Scarecrow is an hommage to the Wizard of Oz film, as the name can be translated to Tin Man in French.
Serving and Decanting Scarecrow with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Scarecrow wines are best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages of their red wine can be decanted for 1-3 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
The red wine of Scarecrow is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Scarecrow is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
scarecrow Wine Tasting Notes
9 Vintages 64,137 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
Concentrated, balanced, lush, ripe, and packed with sweet blackberries, black cherries, vanilla, licorice, and cocoa. Yet, with all its layers of ripe, dark fruits, the wine remains harmonious and never swings to over the top. There is a touch of heat on the backend from the 15.1% ABV, but with all those ripe berries, it is easy to overlook that transgression. Drink from 2023-2035.
2,360 Views Tasted Sep 1, 2023
A little hot, but with loads of ripe, sweet, dark, smoky, espresso and vanilla stained blackberries, black cherry and hints of jam with cocoa. The was is concentrated and long, with soft, polished, dusty tannins in the finish Nice, wine, nice style, but pricey for what it is, in today's world.
4,725 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2017
Opulent, sexy, polished, concentrated and loaded from top to bottom with ripe fleshy sensuous, black fruits, chocolate, licorice, black cherries, espresso, vanilla bean and exotic spices. Deep, dark in color, this is luscious from the get go. And it's even better with air, as the wine expands. This is never over the top, everything is in balance and harmony.
5,342 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2017
Deep in color with a nose of tobacco, licorice, black cherry, spice, plum and sweet cherry, the wine ends with supple textures and soft, ripe, black fruits.
5,287 Views Tasted Dec 25, 2012
This starts off nice, with a ripe, medium bodied layer of fruit. But the finish has notes with a dry, sour/tart cherry sensation in the end note that some people are going to like less than others. This is probably not a wine to age.
4,707 Views Tasted Oct 31, 2014
Just a super wine! Very ripe, but not over the top black and fruits are all over the place. Full, deep and concentrated, but elegant and in check, this is such a great style of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon combining power, ripeness, and restraint.
4,817 Views Tasted Nov 24, 2018
Power with elegance, the perfect combination for great California Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is ripe, luscious and rich. Made in a style that is about refinement and not over the top levels of ripeness, I could drink this all night long.
6,801 Views Tasted Oct 31, 2014
The problem with many California Cabernet Sauvignon wines that earn high scores is, at least for me, they are too much. That is not the case with Scarecrow. It’s the perfect example of what California does best with its ocean of blueberry, chocolate, truffle and black cherry filled personality. Elegance blended with perfectly ripe fruit, power and a forward style that is pure, rich, opulent and sensuous. There is nothing out of place in this seamless expression of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon.
12,349 Views Tasted May 9, 2012
Spice, fresh blackberry, oak and coffee make up the perfume. Beautiful layers of rich, ripe concentrated fruit are easy to find in this full bodied wine. The wine ends with a plush, fat, sexy mouth filled with ripe dark fruit.
8,266 Views Tasted Mar 28, 2010
This pops from the glass like a Jack in the Box with countless layers of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry aromas. Soft, silky, rich, velvet laced fruit coat all the nooks and cranny's of your palate. This dense, concentrated Napa Cabernet finishes with a long dose of chocolate covered blackberry fruit.
9,483 Views Tasted Mar 28, 2010