I first learned of Cornerstone Cellars in 2009 when I attended the North American Wine Blogger's Conference in Santa Rosa, California. Managing partner, Craig Camp, came to our table during a "speed-blogging" session and poured us some of their wine. I remember being pretty impressed at the time, so I became an instant fan. Two visits to the tasting room later, I am even more impressed and excited for them. They are proof that Napa Valley can produce some great buys that are affordable and the experience of visiting them is fun and relaxing.
They may seem new to you and I but in reality, Cornerstone Cellars have been around for twenty years. They are committed to excellence and quality and I think for being such a young winery, they can compete with the valley's heavy hitters! This winery has something for everyone: Great wine bargains for daily consumption to single vineyard mountain wines for the consummate collector. Today I'm going to focus on those great wine bargains--every day drinkers that prove that quality does not have to break your bank account.
I recently received four samples from them--all from their "Stepping Stone" label, which is their second label. Each wine was unique and enjoyable.
The 2011 Corallina Napa Valley Rose is 100% Syrah and what makes this wine so unique is the fact that it ages for five months in French oak. Lots of strawberries, cranberries and citrus. Perfect Summer wine. Perfect anytime wine. At $20, it won't be around for long. Get it while you can!!
Next are two new wines that were just being introduced recently! The first is a unique blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, the 2011 Stepping Stone North Coast Rocks! White. Made in the style of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, this refreshing wine dances in your mouth with crisp citrus and pear notes. I loved it! I want more!! For $18, I don't believe there are any other white blends out there that stand up to this one!!
Yes, this wine has a red partner that is just as tantalizing! The 2010 Stepping Stone North Coast Rocks! Red, a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot. This hearty, spicy blend is delicious and perfect for barbecues, Italian feasts, stews and the like! Juicy, playful and fun! You don't even have to think about it. You just have to enjoy it! $18.
And finally, a perfect everyday Napa Valley bargain that tastes so good, it gave me the notion of a much higher perceived value. The 2010 Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. 93% Cabernet Sauvignon (sourced from many great Napa Valley vineyards) and 7% Merlot--aged 18 months in 50% new French Oak. Rich and velvety smooth with lots of dark cherry and cedar/cigar box notes. For $35, this wine is a steal. It will continue to open up and the layers are fantastic already!
Cornerstone Cellars also produces some stellar single vineyard wines in Napa Valley as well as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their vineyards in Oregon. They are definitely worth visiting. Their beautiful tasting room is located in Yountville, California. The friendly atmosphere is enticing and their staff is very knowledgeable and fun to converse with. They are also very active in social media, something I like very much! They have an awesome Facebook page and love to include their visitors as part of their daily posts! I had a great experience there and I'm sure you will to! So please include them as part of your next visit to Napa Valley!
I would like to thank Craig Camp, managing partner at Cornerstone Cellars for turning me on to such fun wines and to the staff of the Yountville tasting room for their gracious hospitality! Stay tuned for an upcoming story on the Oregon wines!
"You Saw It Here First!" This post was created solely by Grace Hoffman, CSW, for Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk. Cellarmistress is an Italian-born, American-bred, wine blogger/educator with a passion for wine and all that it encompasses.