I was once again alone at the Fine Wine Source and I was a day late for the special Jeff Cohn Cellars wine tasting. Though through the wonders of the Coravin system, I may not have heard about the wines first hand from the special guest, I was still able to enjoy the wines. I thought the opening statement from the internet site for Jeff Cohn Cellars was very eloquent and terse with the statement “single vineyard Zinfandel and Rhone-centric wines that walk a tightrope, balancing the pure expression of California fruit with the Rhone-influenced winemaking of vintner Jeff Cohn. I was having another private tasting and the employees were joining in with me, so that they could revisit the seven different wines that they were featuring. Jeff Cohn began as an Enologist and eventually became the vice president of winemaking and production at Rosenblum Cellars and during his stint there he brought them great accolades when their Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zinfandel was rated #3 on the 2005 Top 100 Wines by Wine Spectator. It was also at this time that he started his JC Cellars which was one of the original urban wineries of the East Bay. In 2006 he left Rosenblum Cellars to be full invested into JC Cellars and in 2012 he changed the name from JC Cellars to Jeff Cohn Cellars and then in 2017 he moved to Sonoma.
I began tasting the wines and I am going to switch around this narrative of the tasting, because when I got to the fifth wine and I saw the name, something in the back of memory switched on, and I responded that the wine sounded like it was part of the Orin Swift line, but I knew that I had, had it in the past. Several years back at the Earle Restaurant in Downtown Ann Arbor we had dinner with some friends, actually it was The Caller and his wife, back before he was given his special name. We had Jeff Cohn’s JC Cellars “The Impostor” 2009. At this time the wine had a California AVA and at the time I remarked that the wine reminded me of a Rhone wine, even though it was a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier.
Now here I was having the Jeff Cohn Cellars “The Impostor” 2014 and the wine has that Deja-vu feeling that I have had it before and this time I can even relay more information about it. This lovely red blend is a mix of fifty-four percent Zinfandel, fifteen percent Petite Sirah, eleven percent Syrah, six percent Mourvedre, five percent Alicante Bouschet, four percent Grenache, four percent Carignane and one percent Viognier. The wine was aged for eleven months in a blend of neutral oak barrels and foudres and concrete vats. The wine had a nice deep color with a beguiling sweetness to the nose, black cherries and a nice long finish. This felt like a Rhone wine and not a California fruit bomb that so many of the wine authorities seem determined to have. I enjoy a wine like this, just as I enjoyed his earlier version