FrontRunners November 2014: LEISURE


The writer Thomas Wolfe asserted in the title of his posthumous novel that you can’t go home again. Bret Lopez, however, might disagree. The grandson of prominent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer chief of production J. J. Cohn spent time at the country home of his grandfather, who in 1942 acquired just under 200 acres in Rutherford, Calif. Cohn enhanced the idyllic setting by planting Cabernet Sauvignon vines, and this haven must have had a salubrious influence on him, for he reached the venerable age of 100 before passing away in 1996. His heirs (Lopez among them) were forced to sell the estate; however, in 2002, the property’s connection to Hollywood and the Cohn family was renewed when the director Francis Ford Coppola entered into an agreement with Lopez and his partner, Mimi DeBlasio, to purchase it. Lopez and DeBlasio received the original buildings and a surrounding parcel that includes two acres of the vines Cohn added to the estate. These gnarled survivors, which resemble the sentient trees in Cohn’s most famous production, The Wizard of Oz, became the inspiration for Scarecrow, a boutique Cabernet Sauvignon of extraordinary opulence and beauty. In 2008, the couple introduced a second wine, which they named Monsieur Étain—a nod to the Oz character, Tin Man. A small quantity of the M. Étain 2012 ($300 per two-bottle case, has been set aside for Robb Report readers, who can purchase a case (one per customer) by e-mailing the winery at and referencing code HOL2014ME12. Fragrant with lilac, cocoa, and boysenberry aromas, this saturated blend sparkles on the palate and proves for Lopez and wine lovers alike that there is indeed no place like home.