…with Jeff Cohn Cellars’ Rhône Varietals
Napa Cabs will never lose their top spot on wine lovers’ lists, but those with tannin fatigue may be interested in exploring a few other bold varietals. The Rhône family of wines, for instance, delivers the same intensity favored in the big reds, but with an elegant twist, and Sonoma’s Jeff Cohn Cellars provides the perfect introduction to these French-inspired wines.
Syrah, Carignane, and Grenache are often overshadowed by more well-known reds. In the hands of vintner Cohn, these varietals not only stand-up to Cabernet Sauvignon, they surpass expectations. Cohn, also a Zinfandel master, creates more than 20 wines out of his Santa Rosa- based winery; his tasting room is located just adjacent to the historic Sonoma Plaza, where he can regularly be found mingling with guests. A serious winemaker with profound winemaking talent, Cohn is full of fun mischief. He is approachable and social and loves to meet people and share stories. “I want wine tasting to be an experience,” said Cohn about his regular appearances at the tasting room. “Our club members and guests are a part of the story. I want them to know why I make wines the way I do, and I love sharing my stories.”
Cohn, who spent years working with the ‘King of Zin,’ Kent Rosenblum at Rosenblum Cellars, goes to great lengths in marrying California fruit to aspects found in one of France’s oldest winemaking regions. In search of the finest fruit, he sources from Sonoma to Amador to create his elegant and intriguing portfolio, including Buffalo Hill Syrah, Sweetwater Springs Petite Sirah, and St. Peter’s Church Zinfandel.
“I first discovered the wonder of Rhône wines on a bike trip in France,” said long-time wine club member Andrew. “I was then fortunate to discover Jeff, who understands the magic and artistry of making Rhône-style wines. While there are a significant and growing number of great American vintners, few possess Jeff’s curiosity, spirit of experimentation, and willingness to innovate while hewing to the traditions of Rhône making.”
“To achieve greatness, you have to experiment, and seeing as I have not yet achieved greatness, I continue to experiment,” said Cohn. Fans, critics, fellow winemakers, and growers might disagree. Cohn’s wines regularly score in well into the 90s. His stellar reputation within the winemaking community affords him access. He is a ‘winemaker’s winemaker.’ Growers trust him with their commodity because they know the end result will always be a beautiful wine.
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