I am sure that a lot of the bloggers are more aware of Jeff Cohn than I am, but after a tasting of his wines at the Fine Wine Source, I have a much better appreciation of his work. The winery is intertwined with the story of Jeff and Alexandra Cohn and their twenty-five plus years from when they were in Hospitality Management. For some the siren call of the wine is overpowering and they are not happy until they have their own winery. When he was a student of Enology, he was used to tasting straight varietals, but his first encounter with a Chateauneuf-du-Pape offered him an epiphany of what a wine can and should be, when it has been expertly blended by a craftsman. While Zinfandel was a passion, he now had a passion for the Rhone and how he could craft his own wines.
The first wine that I got to taste was the Jeff Cohn Nun’s Canyon Vineyard Zinfandel 2015. Nun’s Canyon Vineyard is planted with sixty to eighty-year-old vines, and the actual clones that were planted have been lost to history, and the read clay loam and the artistry of the vines evoke the charms of the Southern Rhone according to those that have been there. Nun’s Canyon Vineyard is in the Moon Valley District AVA of Sonoma Valley. It is one of the warmest areas, known for its volcanic soil and a very long growing season, it just recently was awarded its own AVA in 2013. This wine is pure Zinfandel aged for sixteen months in two different neutral French Oak barrel sizes. With only one-hundred-eighty-four cases of wine produced, this is hardly a bulk wine Zin. I have definitely gotten over my old aversion to Zin, left over from my memories of home-made “Dago Red” that the old men made in the neighborhood. Here was a wine with a big nose, lots of spice with fruit and a nice finish, just a good chewy wine to have with food or just with friends.
The second wine of the tasting was the Jeff Cohn Cellars #Pure Yum 2016. Let us say that I was a little gun shy or reticent about trying a wine called #Pure Yum, initially it sounded like a new energy drink for millennials. It wasn’t, is was a blend of two thirds Syrah and one third Grenache and thirty percent of the fruit was fermented in whole clusters. The wine was aged for fourteen months in French Oak, of which thirty percent was new. This was a fun wine that was big, but velvety with a good nose, good spice and I thought some nice residual heat, just an enjoyable drink. With two-hundred-twenty-six cases produced, this is another labor of love that scored in the nineties, so it was not a production by the numbers. I was already geeked for more wine from Jeff Cohn Cellars.