"... another rocking white from Cohn, who seems able to make great wines from just about any variety...as with all Jeff's wines, it delivers ample character and intensity while staying fresh and lively ... it's another brilliant wine from this incredibly talented winemaker." Read the article
Single Vineyard Syrah
99 More saturated purple in color, the 2016 Syrah Buffalo Hill comes from the rockiest, steepest block of Syrah in the Rockpile vineyard. Reminding me of a great vintage of La Chappelle with its incredibly rich, powerful, meaty style, it offers profound notes of smoked meats, black raspberries, currants, toasted spice, graphite, and bacon fat. Deep, opulent, full-bodied, and massive on the palate, it has building tannins, as much richness as you could want, and a monster finish. This is straight up magical and will keep for another 15-20 years.
98 The 2016 Syrah So Serine comes from the Rockpile AVA and saw 40% stems and 18 months all in new oak. This inky colored effort offers a primordial bouquet of smoke blue fruits, ground pepper, lavender, and game. This is followed by a powerful wine that has a full-bodied, expansive mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and a terrific sense of minerality on the finish. It's a powerful, backward, inky wine that needs 3-4 years of bottle age and will knock your socks off over the following decade.
Domaine des Chirats
96+ The 2016 Syrah Domaine Des Chirats is a more backward wine that just exudes a sense minerality and a liqueur of rocks like character. Deep purple-colored with an awesome nose of bloody blue fruits, ground pepper, graphite, and violets, it builds incrementally on the palate with full-bodied richness, ultra-fine tannins, and an incredible sense of purity and precision. This isn't a blockbuster yet seems to have one foot in the Rhone Valley and one foot in Sonoma. It's going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and cruise for 15+ years or more.
96 Similarly inky colored, the 2016 Syrah Rockpile Vineyard Haley offers a more bloody, meaty style in its blue fruits, crushed rocks, smoked game, pepper, and lavender scented aromas and flavors. It's rounded, full-bodied, beautifully pure, has sweet tannins, and this sense of sweet, earthy fruit that's incredibly compelling. It's another brilliant wine from this incredibly talented winemaker. This wine was fermented with 40% whole clusters and brought up in 80% new French oak.
Zio Tony Ranch
96 Last of the Syrahs, the 2016 Syrah Zio Tony Ranch comes from a cooler vineyard farmed by Martinelli and it saw 40% whole clusters and 18 months in 40% new French oak. It's another vivid purple-colored effort that boasts off the hook notes of blue fruits, lavender, ground pepper, and cured meats. Deep, rich, powerful, and opulent it has ample structure, an incredibly sweet earth and mineral character, hints of violets, and a great finish. This is one of the more opulent, flamboyant wines in the lineup, yet it has terrific minerality as well as flawless balance.
95 Moving to the Syrahs, the 2016 Syrah Silver Eagle Vineyard comes from a site in the Russian River and was 40% destemmed and spent 18 months in 40% new French oak. It has a thrilling bouquet of smoked black and blue fruits, ground pepper, licorice, bacon fat, and spice. This opulent, hedonistic, incredibly sexy wine has some background vanilla oak, a lush texture, sweet tannins, and the purity of fruit that make 2016 so special. Drink this rocking wine over the coming 7-8 years.
Single Vineyard Rhônes
94 Classic Marsanne buttered stone fruits, crushed stone, toast, and hints of hazelnuts all emerge from Cohn's 2016 Marsanne Stagecoach Vineyard, a rich, full-bodied, beautifully textured, and concentrated white that’s going to knock it out of the park on the dinner table. It brings serious fruit yet stays nicely balanced, has notable purity, and is just a stunning example of Marsanne from California.
2 Guys · 2 Barrels Stagecoach Viognier
94 The 2016 Viognier comes from the Stagecoach Vineyard in the southern part of Napa and is a made via a partnership with the Northern Rhône's Yves Gangloff. This flamboyant white gives up a huge nose of apricots, tangerines, flower oil, and honeyed almonds. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and opulent on the palate, it's one pleasure-bent beauty to drink over the coming year or two.
Sweetwater Springs Petite Sirah
94 Lastly, the 2016 Petite Sirah Sweetwater Springs Vineyard comes from a vineyard in the Russian River Valley and has fruit galore with its blueberry pie, violets, toast, and stony mineral aromas and flavors. It's rich, fleshy and flamboyant on the palate, with an almost over the top style yet it stays fresh and lively, with terrific purity and balance. It's a quintessential steak house red to enjoy over the coming decade.
El Diablo Grenache
91 From a site in the Russian River Valley, the 2016 Grenache El Diablo Vineyard saw a bigger chunk of stems (40%) and 18 months all in neutral oak. It's a perfumed, elegance Grenache that has wonderful notes of ripe cherries, black raspberries, red plums, violets, and spring flowers. Medium-bodied, fine, incredibly elegant, and silky, it just glides over the palate and is a beautifully balanced effort. Drink it over the coming 6-7 years..
Broken Compass Carignan
91 The 2016 Broken Compass is all Carignan (120-year-old vines) sourced from the Russian River Valley aged 18 months in neutral oak. Its deep purple color is followed by a classic Carignan nose (I'd unquestionably have guessed Languedoc if tasted blind) of fresh plums, crushed rocks, graphite, and beetroot. Elegant, medium-bodied, and surprisingly fresh, it has good acidity (which is common with the variety), ripe tannins, and a good finish. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.
Twist of Fate Mourvèdre
90+ The 2016 Twist of Fate is all whole cluster Mourvèdre from a site in Paso Robles. Brought up all in new barrel, it has a beautiful bouquet of red plum, Asian spice, Acacia flowers, and earth. It's medium-bodied, elegant and silky on the palate, with an almost understated style. Give it a year and drink bottles over the following 7-8 years.
Single Vineyard Zinfandel
St. Peter's Church
95 I loved the 2016 Zinfandel St. Peter's Church Vineyard and it has a perfumed, classy bouquet of red plums, incense, flowers, and sandalwood. It's medium to full-bodied has good acidity, beautiful purity, no hard edges, and remarkable purity of fruit. This beauty is balanced, seamless, and just a beautiful, elegant, complete wine. As with most of Jeff’s Zinfandels, it saw 20% of whole clusters in the ferments and 18 months in 20% new French oak.
95 Mostly destemmed and brought up in 25% new French oak, the 2016 Zinfandel Cassata Vineyard is one of the riper, more rounded, sexy wines in the lineup. Cassis, black raspberries, toasted spice, graphite, and hints of baking spices all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, powerful effort that stays beautifully balanced and elegant on the palate. It's an incredibly completely, voluptuous wine to drink over the coming 8-10 years.
Orcio - Cassata
94 The 2016 Zinfandel Orcio comes from Sonoma Valley and is a juicy, fruit forward, undeniably delicious effort that has smoking good notes of blackberries, blueberries, dried earth, crushed rocks, and cedary herbs. This medium to full-bodied, elegant, silky beauty has building tannin, a seamless texture, and a great finish. It certainly shows the quality of the 2016 vintage in Sonoma and is going to drink nicely for a decade or more.
94 This famous Zinfandel site has turned out a rich, opulent 2016 Zinfandel Rossi Ranch that offers tons of baked plum, licorice, asphalt, and earthy aromas and flavors. It's rich, powerful, and hedonistic on the palate, yet stays, balanced and pure, with a great finish. Mostly destemmed and aged 18 months all in neutral oak, this bombastic beauty is ideal for drinking over the coming 7-8 years, possibly longer.
92+ The 2016 Zinfandel Iron Hill Vineyard offers darker style as well as notes of smoked cherries, black plums, scorched earth, and Asian spices. This beauty is rich and masculine in style, yet has solid acidity, and well as a balanced, medium to full-bodied texture. It's another brilliant wine from Cohn that's going to benefit from short term cellaring and keep for 15+ years.
92 The 2016 Zinfandel Nun's Canyon Vineyard comes from Sonoma and saw 20% stems and 18 months in 20% new French oak. It has a more piercing bouquet of red plums, blueberries, cedar box, and incense. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured, with a straight, focused texture, it has terrific balance and the class to evolve positively for over a decade.
92 From Amador County, the 2016 Zinfandel Rinaldi Vineyard was 80% destemmed and saw 18 months in 20% new French oak. Its deeper purple color is followed by a rounded, sexy bouquet of ripe plums, crushed violets, cedar, and sandalwood. It's fresh, has good focus, plenty of mid-palate depth, and a great finish. This is classic American Zinfandel that will keep for 7-8 years, probably longer.
Sweetwater Springs 'Isabel'
91 Sweet plums, blueberries, and wild strawberry notes all emerge from the 2016 Zinfandel Sweetwater Springs Vineyard and it has plenty of classic Zinfandel spice and brambly herb notes. A fleshy, exuberant texture, ripe yet pure fruit, silky tannins, and a great finish all make for a terrific Zinfandel to enjoy over the coming decade.
misc. stuff GSM
92 I always love the misc. stuff cuvée from Cohn and his 2016 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre that saw 40% whole clusters and 18 months in 15% new French oak. Spiced berries, earth, some peppery herbs, and underbrush notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied, ripe, voluptuous effort that has sweet fruit, rounded tannins, and a great finish. Readers looking for a high-quality, pleasure bent, balanced red from California will be hard pressed to do better.
92 The 2016 Pure Yum comes from Sonoma County and is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Grenache that was 70% destemmed and spent 18 months in neutral barrels. This darker fruited, spicy red has plenty of intensity, a complex, spicy, forest floor character, a hint of sweet earth, ripe tannins, and a great finish. As with all Jeff's wines, it delivers ample character and intensity while staying fresh and lively.
Smoke & Mirrors
92 The 2016 Smoke & Mirrors is a value-priced beauty that's packed with character. Black raspberries, spices, cedary herbs, and brambly notes all flow to a beautifully textured, voluptuous, decadent wine that has loads of fruit, no hard edges, and is just a joy to drink.
Iris Brut Rosé
91 The 2016 Iris Rosé from Cohn checks in as 60% Grenache and 20% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre that was made with ideal of a Tavel-like rosé yet as a sparkling wine. Its vivid raspberry color is followed by a classic Champagne-like notes of strawberries, spice, crushed rocks, and flowers. It has a rich, aggressive mouse, beautiful fruit, and a layered, silky texture. It's a beautiful Sparkling Rose that will keep for 4-5 years at a minimum.
91 Another blend from throughout California, the 2016 The Impostor gives up loads of black cherry, red plum, spice, and cedary herbs. It's medium-bodied, fresh, and lively on the palate, with good overall freshness, and a great finish.
91 A value-priced blend of 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah brought up all in neutral barrels, the 2016 Dealmaker is a ripe, upfront, fruit bomb that has class. Ripe red and black cherries, cedary spice, melted licorice, and underbrush notes all emerge from this plump, sexy red that carries loads of fruit and charm. It over delivers and is well worth seeking out. Drink it over the coming 2-3 years.
The Growing Season
2016 - This was a cooler, even growing season that saw an early bud break, a cool, wetter summer, and a lengthy, picture-perfect harvest that allowed growers and winemakers to harvest at their leisure. In general, these are medium-bodied, pretty, elegant wines that are drinking beautifully today yet, like the 2018s, will have broad drink windows.
photo credit: JebDunnuck.com
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