Swirl n’ Spit

Swirl n’ Spit

B.R. Cohn Winery

By Heather Irwin

Lowdown: Everybody calls it the “Doobie Brothers winery.” Tucked away in the Sonoma Valley, there’s nothing that immediately gives away the winery’s rock ‘n’ roll ownership–elegant vineyards, a stately manor and rows of olive trees. But owner Bruce Cohn is a favorite local celebrity, hosting annual charity concerts and managing both the winery and the ’70s supergroup from the estate, making B.R. Cohn famous for more than just olive oil and Merlot.

Raised on a goat farm in the Russian River area, Cohn is no stranger to the country life. In fact, he purposely relocated his family and his music business to Sonoma more than 20 years ago–long before celebrity vineyards were de rigueur–to escape the madness of life on the road. And the current tasting room, adorned with Doobie Brothers pictures and memorabilia, is the Cohn’s former home.

Mouth value: B.R. Cohn wines are mostly simple and straightforward, perfect for afternoon concerts on the lawn and casual dinners. Reds seem to be the most robust of the varietals, with some strong contenders in the Merlot and Zinfandel categories. The winery recently released “Doobie Red,” a selection of red blends that pays homage to the band.

Aside from the wines, many of Cohn’s highest accolades are in its production of locally produced olive oils and vinegars. Made in small batches, Cohn uses a slower, Orleans method of aging vinegar which produces a more flavorful result that echoes the actual wines they’re made from. The best of the bunch is the Raspberry Champagne vinegar, which has a lighter, more refined taste than typical mouth-puckering vinegars. Using the many olive trees on the property, Cohn also produces intensely fragrant, earthy local olive oils.

Five-second snob: The Cohn property in Glen Ellen was once a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop.

Spot: B.R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen. Tasting room open daily, 10am to 5pm. 800.330.4064.

From the June 29-July 5, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.

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