2008 JC Cellars ‘The Impostor’ Red Wine

Mission Codename: False Identity?

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit our friends at JC Cellars to acquire their delicious and unique ‘The Impostor’ Red Blend.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: JC Cellars

Wine Subject: 2008 ‘The Impostor’ Red Wine

Winemaker: Jeff Cohn

Backgrounder: Red blends are a favorite of many a Wine Spies Operative. Perhaps this is because a great blend is like a great All-star sports team, where the coach gets to choose the best players. In the case of today’s wine, it is a unique and extremely flavorful blend of seven grapes including 39% Zinfandel, 29% Syrah, 22% Petite Sirah, 4% Tempranillo, 3% Carignan, 2% Grenache, 1% Viognier.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautifully dark and dense garnet purple with a dense inky but clear heart. Along the edges, the color shows its garnet tints and when swirled, tightly spaced clusters of fast legs race down the side of the glass.

Smell – Bold and rich in intensity with aromas of spiced dark bramble berries that are layered over smokey and toasted oak with hints of vanilla. Zesty and savory notes, a touch of licorice and floral violets.

Feel – Expansive on the palate, this full-bodied dry wine reaches the far corners of the palate with its firm but smooth ripe tannins and chewy vibrant acidity. Softly textured minerality blend with the well developed tannins and lingers long into the finish.

Taste – Rich and ripe black and red bramble berries, boysenberry and plum flavors generously hit right away as this wine’s layers of spice, toasted and smokey oak, earthy undertones and mocha follow. Savory notes along with hints of licorice and pepper also make their appearance.

Finish – Long and plush, this wine finishes clean with its ripe fruit and other flavors nicely evolving and begging for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2008 JC Cellars ‘The Impostor’ Red Wine is an amazingly abundant, complex and flavorful blend that brings together the best of its seven component varietals. Big on the nose, well structured but not abusive, great flavors and a finish that lingers. Definitely give this wine time to open up or decant it; cellar for up to five years or more. We enjoyed this wine with barbecued baby-back ribs with its smokey, savory and sweet flavors perfectly complement this fantastic wine.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Jeff Cohen

WINE EDUCATION: Masters of Agriculture Chemistry with an Emphasis in Enology, California State University, Fresno.

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Enologist, Asst, Winemaker , Winemaker Rosenblum Cellars 1996-2006. Owner/Winemaker JC Cellars 1997-Current

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: The less you do, the better off you are / If you ask if in needs to be cleaned, just clean it.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: ” Anything is possible / I am never satisfied.“



AGENT RED: Greetings, Jeff. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Importer today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JEFF COHEN: My pleasure, always like to come out of the Barrel room for intrigue and excitement.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

JEFF: The first time I had Chateauneuf du Pape and a Ridge Fiddletown Zinfandel.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

JEFF: This is a constant. As I continue to experience wines from others. Zinfandel: Kent Ronsenblum, Syrah: Pierre Gaillard, Yves Gangloff, John Alban. Whites: Yves Cailleron, Yves Gangloff, Francois Villard.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

JEFF: Myself – and I hope that others will love it and buy it up, so I don’t have to drink it all myself.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

JEFF: The Impostor is a bit of a mystery wine. Each year it changes in its influence. Some years it’s more Northern Rhone, some years Southern Rhone. 2008 reflects the fact that I was doing more Spanish wines, this has old vine Carignan and Tempranillo. I really like this wine because of it’s darker side. Blackberry, dark cherry, sun drenched blueberry and wild raspberry that is infused with exotic spices.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

JEFF: Anything on the grill, chicken, steak, hamburger, sausages, even grilled vegetables. This wine is also the perfect pizza wine.

RED: In your opinion, what makes California Appellation fruit so special?

JEFF: I can bring the best fruit sources in for this wine and create the blend. This includes Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

JEFF: Tasting through Barrels and on the road spreading the gospel of JC Cellars. I am also spending more time with family & friends.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

JEFF: Never from behind, you might scare the cork out of the bottle. Always decant them, they love to breathe and strut their stuff. I even like to decant whites (not champagne)

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

JEFF: My goals are to let both the vineyard talk, but also listen to me. It’s like a marriage, you have give an take and maybe a fight or two, but if you work hard and remember it’s all about the passion in the end, the wine will reflect it.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of JC Cellars tasting room, in Oakland, California, can be seen in this satellite photo.

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