What Bruce Cohn Is Up To Now
Bruce Cohn founded his B.R. Cohn Vineyards in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, in 1984, powered by the money he made as a manager for bands. It became a popular winery, for its excellent wines (later for its olive oils), its facilities and for a seemingly endless series of concerts mounted there. Production increased, and eventually, Cohn carried an insupportable amount of debt. The banking industry is pretty rigorous in wine country, a lot of capital is tied up in land and wine and barrels, and in July 2015, Cohn sold the winery to Vintage Wine Estates, owner of Clos Pegase, Cosentino, Swanson, Qupe, Owen Roe, Girard and a host of other wineries and brands. Cohn kept 21 acres of the original 90 acres in Glen Ellen, in the Sonoma Valley AVA. It’s from tiny portions of that acreage that he — along with experienced winemaker Tom Montgomery — produces the two cabernet sauvignon wines that make the roster of Trestle Glen Vineyards, named for a 19th Century narrow-gauge railroad that connected the town of Sonoma to Glen Ellen. Today, we look at the inaugural wines from Trestle Glen, both 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, produced in limited quantities and available only by allocation. If you love Sonoma cabernet, I advise you to get on the list. One is nominated “Creekside,” the other “Hillside,” indicating their geographical predilections. Both are splendid, with the “Hillside” being the best debut cabernet I’ve tasted since the Phifer Pavitt “Date Night” Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. I look forward to charting the progress of Trestle Glen.
These wines were samples for review.
The Trestle Glen “Creekside” Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Sonoma Valley, is intense and concentrated in every way, from its opaque black-purple hue to its precisely focused aromas of black currants, cherries, and plums to its deep dark brooding iodine-graphite-loamy character; layers of smoke, wood-ash, and leather gradually unfurl notes of lavender and licorice, briers, heather and forest floor, while tannins remain honed and rigorous in their support; the wine becomes increasingly floral as the moments pass; the finish delivers a solid package of cedar, tobacco, sage and bay leaf, wrapped in dusty granitic minerality. 14.2 percent alcohol. The Creekside block, planted in 1998 and ’99, comprises 4.5 sustainably farmed acres. The wine aged six months in French oak barrels. Now, with a medium-rare ribeye steak, hot and crusty from the coals, or try from 2021 through 2029 to ’32. Excellent. About $50.
The Trestle Glen “Hillside” Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Sonoma Valley, derives from a sustainably farmed 2.5-acre vineyard planted in 1999 and 2005. It spent 18 months in French oak barrels. The color is opaque ruby-purple with a transparent magenta rim; it’s a ferrous and sanguinary cabernet, featuring incisive notes of iodine and graphite, blueberries and black currants, wrapped in a fleshy and meaty package that offers hints of cloves and dried ancho chili, cinnamon bark and espresso, briers and brambles; this is a cabernet of remarkable energy and power, framed by supple tannins and burnished oak that lend dimension and support the wine’s carefully calibrated sense of balance and integration; a few moments in the glass unfurl touches of raspberry, bay leaf, rosemary (with its slightly resiny element) and lavender; the finish brings in more oak, making for some austerity. 14.7 percent alcohol. A stupendous achievement, an apotheosis of the grape. From 2021 or ’22 through 2030 to ’35. Exceptional. About $75.