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Recent Release from Cornerstone Cellars @CornerstoneNapa


This blog receives very few samples so it was a treat to taste through these recently released red wines provided by Cornerstone Cellars.  As usual, they were tasted over two days.  The Stepping Stone, Rocks! Red Wine is produced from a changing and secret blend of varietals.  It is meant to be a daily drinker.  This bottle changed remarkably over the course of one evening.  It went from being all about very fresh, bright fruit to an overall well-balanced wine for drinking over the next several years.  I would give it a year to settle down.

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The Napa Valley and Howell Mountain wines deliver more goods.  These wines have traditionally been made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon but with the 2009 vintage 5% Merlot has been included.  Over the years there will be an increase in Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  This fall we drank mature bottles of the 2002 and 2003 Napa Valley.  You may read about them here.  The 2009 vintage is obviously young but approachable and capable of aging.  There is a familial identity between the two but the Howell Mountain delivers an engaging perfume to its darker fruit.  It is not a bigger wine either.  I think it shows more elegance.  Both may be drunk now for their enjoyable baby fat but I would cellar them a few years to let their identities develop.  These bottles were provided by Cornerstone Cellars.

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2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone, Red Rocks!, North Coast – $18
From an even changing blend of varietals.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose is light and tight with black-red fruit.  In the mouth there is bright, fresh red fruit then blacker fruit flavors delivered with plenty of acidity.  There are some grippy tannins in the finish along with a little cinnamon spice.  **(*) 2014-2019.

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2009 Cornerstone Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $65
This wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.  It was aged for 22 months in 100% French oak.  Alcohol 14.9%.  there is a light nose of potpourri with a cinnamon note.  There is a little tart acidity on the tip of the tongue then flavors of dense fruit, ripe black and red, which is thick in the mouth.  There are integrated spices, and blacker flavors in the finish.  The powdery, ripe tannins are enjoyable.  The wine firms up to show balance with air.  *** 2016-2023.

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2009 Cornerstone Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley – $80
This wine is a blend off 95% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Ink Grade Vineyard and Oak Knoll District and 5% Merlot sourced from Carneros.  It was aged for 22 months in 100% French oak.  Alcohol 14.9%.  There is a light nose of mixed berries.  In the mouth there are fine flavors, a sort of perfume mixes with the concentrated fruit.  There are fresh, black minerals, a little acidity, and a savory finish.  The texture is creamy.  The grippy finish brings sweet cinnamon tannins which coat the cheeks and lips.  ***(*) 2018-2028.

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