Jeff Cohn Cellars is one of the ten amazing tasting rooms along the Oakland Urban Wine Trail. Place just a block off of Jack London Square, the tasting room is a treat for the eyes as the wine is a treat for the palate.
Following our tasting at Cerruti Cellars, we walked a few blocks along the bay and one block up (away from the water) to find the Jeff Cohn Cellars tasting room. The room has floor to ceiling glass on two sides, providing plenty of light for the enjoying all of the decorations covering the other two walls.
We were immediately greeted by wine guide Shannon and set up for tasting at a table along the glass. Moments later we also met Alanna, a manager with the winery. Between Shannon and Alanna, we learned a lot about the winery and tasted a lot of good wine, starting with their 2012 Lancel Creek Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.
While we enjoyed the bing cherry notes with gentle tannins, we learned that the tasting room had only been open for about a year. So much decorating in such a short time! As Shannon poured a nicely balanced 2012 El Diablo Grenache, we heard that Jeff Cohn earned his winemaker’s stripes at Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, between 1996 and 2006. With that experience on top of a Masters degree in Enology (the study of wine), Jeff felt ready to branch out on his own. Jeff Cohn Cellars was born.
The next wine on the tasting menu was their 2013 PureYum, which had sold out the previous day, so sad for us! An intriguing name that we were looking forward to exploring. Does it really live up to its name? We will have to find that out during our next visit. Instead of the PureYum, they poured a 2012 GMS. The initials GMS actually define the wine blend: 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah. The clever label makes these ingredients extremely clear! We found the wine boisterous and fun, very drinkable now, with the promised of true greatness in a year or two.
Our final red on the menu was their 2013 Zinfandel from Sonoma Valley. Sourced from the bio-dynamic Cassata Vineyard, this 80% Zin / 20% Petite Sirah blend had interesting blueberry notes and a finish that teased tobacco and smoke.
Our last (but not least) taste was their 2013 2 Guys 2 Barrels Viognier. This wine is a collaboration between Jeff Cohn and noted French winemaker and Viognier specialist, Yves Gangloff. That’s the “2 Guys” part of the name, can you guess the “2 Barrels” part? Yes, there are only 2 barrels produced of each vintage. The cute label was created by Yves’ son. This wine is 100% Viognier from Atlas Peak in Napa. We loved the jasmine and honeysuckle notes, with just the right amount of minerality.
There was still time for one more tasting room visit, so we purchased a few bottles of wine, thanked Alanna and Shannon and set off for our sunset tasting. Check back in a few to read about it!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?