In recent weeks I’ve enjoyed three Cabernet Sauvignons from the B.R. Cohn winery in Sonoma, California. Bruce Cohn purchased the property in 1974 and is the manager of the Doobie Brothers band. He started the winery in 1984.
All three bottles were excellent examples of quality California Cabernet. We’ve enjoyed the 2014 Silver Label, the 2012 Gold Label and the 2010 Olive Hill Vineyard.
The Silver Label is made from grapes from B.R. Cohn property and sourced from North Coast vineyards. It’s a smooth and delicious wine with bright fruit and a long, roundish finish. Small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc are mixed with the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon.
It’s a strong and reliable performer for the price. We pay $25 at the local Wegmans but based on some quick Internet searching you can probably find it for a few dollars less elsewhere.
Bruce’s son Dan Cohn is part-owner of the family vineyard, and here’s a short video of him talking about Silver Label. Obviously it’s a marketing video but I can’t disagree with anything he says.
We had the 2012 Gold Label with friends and dinner recently. The Gold Label is somewhat similar in style but a perceptible step up. The fruit is dark cherry and plum, with notes of vanilla, cassis and spice. The wine is big and satisfying without being overpowering in any way. The grapes for Gold Label are 67% Napa and 33% Sonoma, coming from Olive Hill and some high-profile areas like Howell Mountain, Atlas Peak and Sonoma’s Chalk Hill. It’s 100% Cabernet and a great value at just under $40.
The single vineyard 2010 Olive Hill is a very serious and concentrated Cabernet. It opens with a big nose full of dark fruit and tobacco smoke. It has big tannins and a lot of depth and structure. The wine probably could have used more than the 30 minutes decant time I gave it. Gradually some anise/licorice becomes more apparent, the tannins mellow somewhat but the tobacco remains. This is a “chewy” wine in the best sense of the word. In my opinion a wine easier to savor on its own than than try to pair with food.
I bought the Olive Hill for just under $50 at Wegmans, and that’s a very good price for such a premium Cabernet experience. Be sure to decant, and if serving to a group keep in mind the Olive Hill is not as approachable in style as its two cousins.
So which B.R. Cohn Cabernet is right for you? No matter what price point, I think you’ll enjoy the experience.
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