Posts Tagged ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 183: All Alone with Smith-Madrone

February 25, 2018

In this episode, Jeff has a lot to say after just one sip of this sample of Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Spoiler Alert: It’s all good!

Wine Tasted:

Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Dang, that was good!

Stay Rad,


Wine was provided as a sample for review by the winery.  Be sure to listen to Jeff each and every week on the We Like Drinking Podcast (available now on your favorite podcast app).


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 180: Roastin’ Chickens and Rockin’ Cabs

January 26, 2018

As I was cooking some Blue Apron roast chicken tonight, I was thinking about the perfect wine to pair with it, and I came up with this sample from the ol’ cellar…

Cornerstone Cellars 2014 Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cornerstone Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cab, and comes in at $75 a bottle.  Let’s pop that cork and give it a taste…

Yup!  That was a good one.

Stay Rad,


Wine was provided as a sample for review by the winery.  Be sure to listen to Jeff each and every week on the We Like Drinking Podcast (available now on your favorite podcast app).

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episodes 178 and 179: How to Remove a Wax Seal from Your Wine and/or What Was I Waiting For?

January 20, 2018

Let’s address the elephant in the room…

It’s been a solid year and a half since I’ve posted an episode of Stay Rad Wine Blog TV.
A Year And A Half!

That’s nuts to me.

When I first started this blog in 2011, I would get down on myself for going longer than two days without fresh content.

And now… it’s been a year and a friggin half.

I could spend hours giving you excuses as to why, and making apologies for the lack of posts, but that’s not what this blog is about…

Stay Rad has always been, and will continue to be, a blog about wine and all things awesome. Now, what’s more awesome than a world exclusive two-episode Stay Rad Wine Blog TV release?

That’s right…
Nothin’s better than that!


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 178: How to Remove a Wax Seal from Your Wine

In the time since I last posted an episode, I’ve been anticipating sharing my thoughts on this sample I received from Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa 2012 La Castellana Super Tuscan Blend

The Castello di Amorosa 2012 La Castellana is a Super Tuscan-style blend from the Napa Valley.  It rolls in at a respectable $98, and is built to lay down for years in your cellar… which may lead some to believe that I was waiting for a special occasion to open this one up.

Truthfully, one of the reasons why I was hesitant to share this on the video blog was I was a bit intimidated by the wax seal covering the neck.  If you look up how to open a bottle with a wax seal online, you’re gonna come across all sorts of wacky ideas as to how (anybody got a blowtorch?)…

“Excuse me, kind sir.  Do you have a chainsaw I could borrow?”


Here’s what happened when I tried my hand at opening the bottle.


Now, onto the wine…

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 179: Why Did I Wait So Long?

Food Pairing:

Pan-Seared New York Strip Steak with Blue Cheese, Baked Potato, and Roasted Broccolini 

Needless to say, I’m glad I finally broke open this wine.

Soooooooo Good!

Stay Rad,


Wine was provided as a sample for review by the winery.  Be sure to listen to Jeff each and every week on the We Like Drinking Podcast (available now on your favorite podcast app).

When the Wife’s Away, Jeff Don’t Play

February 27, 2016

A few weeks back, Kara was out of town for a get-together with some old friends. As much as I love spending time with with my wife, I don’t mind the occasional nights alone… It gives me a chance to get together with some old friends of my own…

“Hello, Cornerstone Cellars! Hello, New York Strip! It’s been a while!”

Cornerstone 2012 Black Label Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a New York Strip

You know that I love me some Cornerstone Cellars. I’ve been sitting on this sample of their 2012 Black Label Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for a while, and have been dying to taste it, but with Kara being pregnant, I have not had a chance to open as many bottles around her as I normally would (considering she doesn’t get to share it with me).

You should also know that I love me some beef. I’ve been dreaming of this juicy cut of grass-fed goodness a lot lately. My wife, however, has a “no mammals” policy when it comes to our meals. As a result, I don’t get a chance to indulge in as much red meat as I wish I could.

With Kara away, I had my chance to play…

Let’s get into this wine.

Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Black Label Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Sample provided by Winery):

Formerly known as the Stepping Stone series, these “second label” wines from Cornerstone bring some serious chops at a serious value.

Color: Inky deep purple.

Nose: Fruits of plum and blackberry up front, with secondary notes of leather, allspice, menthol, and pencil shavings. This is a nose a teacher can get behind (I’m talking about the pencils, not the Kool cigarettes, silly).

Palate: A nice, medium plus weight to this wine. Fruits of ripe plum, cassis, and high-toned red cherries on the front palate. There is solid structure here from the chalky fine tannins and long acidity. I love the transition of fruits to tobacco leaf and rich forest soil on the long, Earthy finish.

Score: This wine is friggin’ lovely! 93+ all the way. Kara should get out of town more often (Just kidding, girl. I love you).


While this wine would do perfectly fine as a stand-alone drink, the fine folks at Cornerstone believe strongly in treating wine as part of a meal. I could not agree more.

Here’s what I paired with it…

Pan-Seared New York Strip with Blue Cheese, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and a Baked Potato

What did I say?

Jeff. Don’t. Play.

Stay Rad,


Be sure to listen to Jeff every week on the We Like Drinking Podcast (available on iTunes), and leave a comment below about your favorite Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and food pairing.


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 171: Rutini 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 7, 2016

In this episode, Jeff tries a $35 Cabernet from Argentina that could go toe-to-toe with many $50 Napa Cabs…

Wine Tasted:

Rutini 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – Mendoza, Argentina

Stay Rad,


Be sure to listen to Jeff every week on the We Like Drinking Podcast (available on iTunes), and leave a comment below about your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina.

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,


Which of these wines from Cornerstone Cellars sounds the best to you?  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.


Here goes…


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,


No question for this post, just please make sure to check out this wine at

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,


In your opinion, who’s making proper claret these days?  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,


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

Wine and Hockey Under the Moon

February 22, 2015


Last night, my uncle took me to a hockey game…

There’s nothing really out of the ordinary about that.  My uncle and I have been to a lot of hockey, football, and baseball games together.

What made last night special was that the hockey game, in which my San Jose Sharks hosted the L.A. Kings, was played at Levi’s Stadium, home of my San Francisco 49ers, as part of the NHL Stadium Series.

Here’s what it looked like from our seats…

Levi's Stadium hosting a hockey game

Levi’s Stadium: Home of the Sharks?

Now, look…

I’m not going to get into the details of what happened in the game. Who cares if the stupid Kings won?

This blog is about wine, right?

So here’s what I had for dinner at the game…

Wine and a Frank

Wine and a Frank. One of these things cost $11.

Now, let’s get into this wine…

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

Fetzer Crimson 2011 Red Blend

This red blend from Fetzer comes in a 187 ml (just over 6 ounces) Zipz cup.  Perfect for a stadium environment, the individual plastic cup has a resealable lid, so you don’t have to worry about spilling it everywhere when you’re carrying it back to your seat.  It’s $11 at the stadium, and available in stores from $3 – $6.

Now, let’s talk about the juice in the plastic glass…

Color: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Nice!  Notes of cranberry, orange juice, and a little lime zest. On some level, this wine reminds me of a young, thinned out version of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

(Side Note: Zipz are filled to the top with wine, if you’re used to sticking your nose in the glass, like I am, you may end up with wine in your nose… like I did.)

Taste: The Fetzer Crimson is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon (along with some other stuff).  It’s very fresh on the palate.  Bright notes of cranberry and raspberry fruit.  There is a nice richness to this wine, though it may, in part, be due the the plastic vessel I drank it from.

Score: Not bad!  This wine is what it is.  A nice, fresh, red wine that comes in a plastic cup.  I can’t really get mad at the $11 price point. You’re never going to find your favorite cult wine in a plastic cup at a hockey game… or if you did, you’d pay through the (wine covered) nose for it.  I’m giving it an 83.

You could do worse…

Much worse…

You could be a Kings fan.

Stay Rad,


We want to hear from you.  Let us know how you feel about wine in plastic cups.  Leave your comments below.

%d bloggers like this: