Many of you know that I have been writing about the wines of Cornerstone Cellars for years, however the irony is that I had never been to the tasting room in Yountville. Truth is, I had not made it out to the Napa Valley all that much and when the opportunity for a trip up north presented itself to visit my friend Thea, the first order of business was to schedule a tasting at their tasting room in Yountville. I contacted friend and Managing Partner for Cornerstone Cellars, Craig Camp to let him know that I would be in town. He set up a wonderful tasting with Cornerstone Cellars winemaker, Jeff Keene. A great time was in store for us!
From the moment you walk into the tasting room, you are surrounded with a chic, yet elegant ambiance. The look is very contemporary and inviting. The walls are adorned with the colorful artwork of artist, Janet Ekholm. Her artwork appears on some of the labels of the Cornerstone wines including the 2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and the 2012 Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé. Comfortable leather furniture and and barstools will make you want to stay a while, relax, and really experience the wines of Cornerstone Cellars.
We were greeted by winemaker, Jeff Keene who took wonderful care of us. Jeff has been one of my favorite winemakers for a long time now and to be able to taste through his wines with him was an absolute treat. He tasted us through some old favorites that I have had the privilege of writing about on this blog before as well as a sneak preview of some of the 2011 pre-releases. Let me tell you, the 2011s were an absolute delight to preview and you have a treat in store with them when they are finally released. The new labels on the 2011 Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are classy and contemporary. In addition to the labels designed by Janet Ekholm, the new labels on the 2011 pre-releases are my favorite.
We kicked off the tasting with the Cornerstone Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc had the perfect balance of Citrus, white stone fruits, tropical fruits, and acidity. It was the perfect wine to start with on a hot summer day. We then moved on to the 2011 pre-releases of the Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Those wines will get their own respective posts in the future. They are everything you would expect from Cornerstone. They are elegant, age-worthy wines that are versatile at the same time. It was a treat to taste them prior to release and you won’t be disappointed. Next, we re-visited the iconic, bold 2010 Cornerstone Cabernets; the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. I was lucky enough to taste them earlier this year and both have their own respective posts on this blog.
One of Cornerstone’s wines that I am very excited about is The Cornerstone. We tasted the 2010 with Jeff at the tasting room and I also tasted the 2009 during the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, British Columbia. This is a classic Bordeaux-style red blend that has great depth and complexity. This wine is drinking beautifully right now but will only get better with several years aging in the cellar. This wine is robust and powerful with several layers of pleasure for your senses. This wine is very limited in production and deserves a place in your cellar.
Lastly, what is a tasting without another familiar favorite? The 2012 Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé rounded out our tasting. This is one of my all-time favorite Rosés. It gets better every time I taste it. Made from 100% Syrah, this bone-dry Rosé is a perfect accompaniment to a broad range of foods or perfect for sipping on its own. It is crisp, clean, refreshing and offers abundant white peach, strawberry, ruby grapefruit, orange zest and vibrant acidity. This wine is a lot of fun to drink. Unfortunately, this wine is sold out. By the time Thea and I got done shopping in the tasting room, they were down to a single case. Have no fear, for Corallina always returns.
Thea and I had a lovely time visiting the tasting room and Jeff took exceptional care of us. We were even lucky enough to have a quick visit with Craig. I am thrilled that I finally had the opportunity to visit the tasting room of one of my favorite wineries. Cornerstone wines are always recommended by me however if you find yourself in the Napa Valley, do yourself a favor and stop in to the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in the lovely town of Yountville. Their staff is highly knowledgeable and friendly, and will warmly greet you and promise you a wonderful experience. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to the tasting room later on this year.
For more information on Cornerstone Cellars, be sure to visit their website. They can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. Craig and his team will always keep you up to date on new releases and winery news.
Until the next time friends.