Ruby color; cherry, mint, violets, cranberry on nicely assertive nose; dark cherry, plum, blackberry, caramel, mocha, cedar on the palate.
Full body, flamboyant dark fruitiness—flirts with jammy (happily doesn’t get there); robust; smooth tannins with nice acidity for big red (3.65 pH); round. Blend of 88% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot. Spent time in French oak, which is evident but somewhat behaved. Both jam and oak are present, what you expect—shoot some even crave—in a North Coast cab. This delivers ripe, full fruits and 14.9% alcohol. There will be a lot of fans.
Original owner Bruce Cohn is more famous as the longtime (more than 40 years) manager of the Doobie Brothers band. He has a music heritage—dad sang Italian arias and mom sang with Frank Sinatra in the Chicago nightclub scene. In 1974, Cohn purchased an old dairy in Glen Ellen to balance his Doobie Brothers life. He became involved in the winery and olive ambiance of the property (it is called Olive Hills Estate), first selling grapes to other vintners, then founding B.R. Cohn Winery in 1984. In 1990, he began producing the first single-estate olive oil in California in more than a century. Wine and olive oil are classic marriages.
The winery employed some iconic winemakers—legendary Helen Turley and Merry Edwards for starters. In 2015, Cohn sold the wine operation to Vintage Wine Estates, although the family continues to live on the property. He also continues to manage the Doobie Brothers—“Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Running,” “Black Water,” the hits go on and on.
B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Silver Label 2014 rides the Parker-praised big fruit, high alcohol, massive California-Sonoma-North Coast cab wave. It is so big that food pairing is difficult, but it certainly serves as a wine by itself paired with a big ass glass, good friends, a neutral wine cracker, and a quality cigar (if that is how you roll—I have to take your word on that one). The Silver Label is the brand’s entry-level pour; it packs plenty of value. If you like the style—and so many do—this wine is for you. $19-22
Other photos: Bruce Cohn, Cohn tasting room, Cohn vineyard.