Scarecrow Estate is a wine producer located in the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley, California. The wine, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, is a collaboration between Bret Lopez and Francis Ford Coppola, and regularly receives glowing critic reviews, achieving a perfect 100-point score from Robert Parker for the 2007 vintage.
In the early 1900s, J.J. Cohn, chief of production at MGM, moved to Rutherford and purchased a 72-hectare (180-acre) property. In 1939, his neighbour, John Daniel, took over the property that bordered Cohn’s, home to the iconic Inglenook vineyard. Daniel convinced Cohn to plant 32ha (80 acres) of vines on his land with the promise that he would purchase the grapes for the production of his Inglenook wines. Cohn ceded to this request and the grapes were incorporated into the blend.
On Cohn’s death in 1996, the estate came under the control of his grandson, Bret Lopez, who brought Coppola on board. Lopez decided to make wine under his own label, while continuing to sell grapes to other producers in the region. The wine was named for his grandfather’s time at MGM, where he had worked on the film The Wizard of Oz. Lopez decided on Scarecrow as a symbol of life, American optimism and ultimately, agriculture. The first vintage was 2003.
Scarecrow produce only two wines, one named for the estate and the other called M.Ètain. Scarecrow is produced from grapes from the estate in Rutherford, from both hillside blocks and plots located on the plateau. It is made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in 90 percent new French oak for 12 months. It is then returned to the tank for blending across plots before being returned to the oak to age for an additional 10 months. It is a rare and highly collectable wine – on average, only 500 cases are produced a year.
M.Ètain is produced in much the same way, but without the additional barrel age. Its first vintage was 2008 and it is also made from 100-percent Cabernet Sauvignon from estate plots. It is fermented in small vats, aged in 90-percent new French oak for 16 months and then bottled and released without fining or filtering.