Good Eats, Podcasts, and Cornerstone Cellars

August 9, 2015

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to check in, and share a few samples from Cornerstone Cellars that I have been sippin’ on recently.

When we recorded last week’s episode of the We Like Drinking Podcast (available now on iTunes and your favorite podcatcher apps), I opened up this bad boy to pair with some Penne Pasta and Sausage…

Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Oakville Station Merlot

The Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Oakville Station Merlot is one of the first releases from Cornerstone’s new single vineyard series.  The wine consists of 100% Merlot from the Oakville Station block of the world-famous To Kalon vineyard in California’s Napa Valley.  This wine retails for $75.

Color: This Merlot has a deep ruby red color.  It’s so deeply red, it’s almost purple.

Nose: Bright cranberry and earthy blackberry aromas.

Taste: This wine is so much more than the ripe dark fruit that is so present on the front of the palate.  Just wait for it… There it is! There’s this awesome meaty quality, and a long, tangy and spicy finish.

Score: If you heard me taste this wine for the first time on the podcast, I let out a long, high-pitched, “Mmmmmmmm!!!!!” once the wine hit my lips…  Here’s why…

I was really excited to learn that Cornerstone was going to start doing single vineyard wines.  To me, there is no better way to truly understand the ever elusive terroir of a region.  This Merlot does not disappoint.  This wine is bangin’!  92 points.

On to the next wine!

Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Michael’s Cuvée

Along with starting their single vineyard series with the 2012 vintage, Cornerstone will now be producing a special blend of these vineyards. The Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Michael’s Cuvée is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot.  The fruit comes from Oakville Station (57%), Karios Vineyard in Oak Knoll (28%), and Ink Grade Vineyard on Howell Mountain (9%).  The blend is named after Dr. Michael Dragutsky, who founded Cornerstone in 1991.  This wine is also $75.  I paired it with a Chicken Apple Sausage on a Whole Wheat Bun with Onions and Mushrooms.

Color: Another deep ruby red wine from Cornerstone’s 2012 vintage.

Nose: Fruits of plum, red currant, and blackberry.  This wine is woodsy, both in terms of oak integration and the subtle forest floor aromas.  Nice notes of menthol as well.

Taste: Ripe dark fruits up front transition to tangy red fruit flavors on the finish.  There is a herbaceous backbone of mint, menthol, and tobacco leaf that is present throughout.

Score: This wine is bombastic, and yet subtle.  It’s in your face, but in a really laid back kind of way.  It’s Taylor Swift doing a set of Radiohead covers.  93+ points.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Which of these wines from Cornerstone Cellars sounds the best to you?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 169: Pink Stones

July 1, 2015

In this episode, Jeff reviews two rosé samples from Cornerstone Cellars

Wines Tasted:

Cornerstone Cellars 2014 Rocks! California Rosé and Cornerstone Cellars 2014 Corallina Napa Valley Rosé

These wines are available for purchase online at CornerstoneCellars.com.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s the most awesomely different rosé you’ve had?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Dear Faust: An Open Letter Apology to a Killer, 92-Point Cab

June 30, 2015

I am really, really, really sorry.

Dear Faust,

I hate writing apology letters.  I hate them.

It’s not that I don’t know how to write.  I don’t think this blog would be around for four years now without me having a little bit of skill in that department.

It’s the apology part.

I grew up in a family of individuals who prided themselves on always being right.  Well… not just being right, but making sure everybody knew how right/smart you were and how wrong/dumb everybody else was.

What started in my adolescence as little arguments with my sister about music, or with my dad about politics, has stayed with me into adulthood.

My first instinct, always, it to make sure everyone knows that I am right, and everyone else is wrong.

The reality is that I am wrong all the time.  Everyone is.

For the most part, when I am wrong I do a great job of hiding it.

So when it comes to apologizing for something, that’s when I have real trouble.

To apologize, by definition, is to admit to being wrong… so please understand how hard this is for me.

Okay…

Here goes…

Faust,

I was wrong.

Last August, Toby from Fineman PR contacted me to see if I would like to review the 2012 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The exact same day, I told Toby that I would love to review it, and to please send it as soon as possible.  Faust had been on my radar for a while, and I was very excited to be given an opportunity to taste it… for free.

The sample arrived within a week.

I tasted, enjoyed, and made notes on the wine within another week of receiving it.

And then I spaced out.

I just totally forgot to post my review on this blog.

In February (7 months later), Toby wrote me again to follow-up on whether or not I had tasted the wine, and when I was planning on putting the review up on the blog.

That same day, I replied to Toby that I had forgotten to finish the write-up, and would be posting it really soon.

Toby thanked me for being so quick to respond.

At the end of April (nearly 3 months after Toby’s initial follow-up, and 10 months after receiving the sample), Toby wrote me again to see if I had gotten around to posting my review.

I had not.

I wrote back to Toby with a bunch of excuses, but the reality is that there was no excuse.

I just forgot.

Now here I am on the last day of June, having tasted your wine almost 11 months ago, finally posting my review.

I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed your wine…

My original tasting notes of the Faust 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon on the original stat sheet sent from Toby in August of 2014.

Faust 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet from a classic vintage.  A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.  50% of this fruit came from their Faust Vineyard in the Coombsville District of Napa… the highest blend of their estate fruit they have ever done.  This wine was aged for 19 months on French Oak (30% new).  The suggested retail price of this Cab is $49.99, and it is available through many of your favorite online wine retailers.

Color:  An inkier than typical ruby red.

Nose:  Woody vanilla from the French Oak, though not overpowering.  Beautiful fruits of plum and red currant. There is a woodsy mushroom component in the background.  Nice.

Taste:  Soft, chalky tannins (you know I love chalk).  Good acidity that leads to a medium long finish.  Notes of red currant, black tea, plum, menthol, and cranberry.  Beautiful!

Score:  In a world where most 50 dollar Napa Cabs tend to settle for delivering an oak-garnished fruit bomb, Faust went the extra mile to give the consumer something more.  Yes, that fruit is there… but the earthiness and acidity help to present a complete picture.  Yes, it’s got oak… but it’s oak with intention.  Subtle and soft, this is a wine that drinks well right now, and will continue to do so for at least the next 5 years.  92 points!

So, there you have it.

Faust, I want to apologize to you and Toby for having to wait this long for a review of your wine on this blog.  I dropped the ball, and was completely unprofessional.

I’m not looking for your forgiveness here, I just want you to know how truly sorry I am.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

No question for this post, just please make sure to check out this wine at www.FaustWine.com.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 168: A Mad Proper Wine

June 13, 2015

Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends are not uncommon, unless they come from Bonny Doon…

Wine Tasted:

Bonny Doon 2012 A Proper Claret

Stay Rad,

Jeff

In your opinion, who’s making proper claret these days?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 167: Brut Rose and a BLAT

June 10, 2015

In honor of his first wine review for WeLikeDrinking.com, Jeff pairs this California Sparkling Wine with a Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwich.

Bon appetit!

Wine Tasted:

Mumm Napa NV Brut Rose and a BLAT

Be sure to check out my complete review of this wine on WeLikeDrinking.com, where I can also be heard as a panelist on the weekly We Like Drinking Podcast (available on iTunes too)!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your go-to sparkling wine and food pairing?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 166: Storming the Castello

June 7, 2015

Jeff was recently sent 3 bottles of Chadonnay for review from Castello di Amorosa.  Let’s see what this first bottle has in store.

Wine Tasted:

Castello di Amorosa 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay

Stay Rad:

Jeff

What’s the last Chardonnay that blew your face off?  Leave a comment, and let us know. 

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 165: Of Sparkling Rose and Guacamole Trophies

May 29, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tries this sparkling rose sample with his sparkling trophy…

Wine Tasted:

Cote Mas NV Cremant de Limoux Brut

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your go-to sparkling wine and trophy pairing?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 164: It’s Rose Season

May 15, 2015

In this episode, Jeff takes on this one liter sample of rose.

Wine Tasted:

Cote Mas 2014 Rose Aurore

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your go-to rose this Spring?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 163: I’m drinkin’ some shandies.

May 8, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tastes through three samples of fruit beers from the Traveler Beer Company…

Beer Tasted:

Illusive Traveler Grapefruit Ale, Currious Traveler Lemon Shandy, and Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite fruit beer?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 162: Wine Tasing at the Dionysus Dash

May 3, 2015

In this episode, Jeff explores the effects of running on how we taste wine…

Wine Tasted:

Clos la Chance 2014 Reserve Chardonnay Pure

Clos la Chance 2014 Reserve Viognier

Clos la Chance 2012 Reserve Merlot

Clos la Chance 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

And here are some pictures from the race…

Jeff and Kara Before

The View from the Starting Line

The Prize Table

Your 3rd and 1st Place Divisional Champs

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Alright athletes, tell us what your favorite wine and sports pairing is.  Leave a comment, and let us know.


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