Posts Tagged ‘Cornerstone Cellars’

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).

Now…

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,

Jeff

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.

 

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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.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 156: How’s Your Vertical?

February 16, 2015

In this episode, Jeff tastes through some samples of Cabernet Franc from Cornerstone Cellars…

Wine Tasted:

Cornerstone Cellars 2011 and 2012 Black Label Cabernet Franc

Cornerstone Cellars 2011 and 2012 Black Label Cabernet Franc

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Cabernet Franc: European or Californian?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 148: Stone Cold Goods

November 25, 2014

In this episode, Jeff reviews two samples from Cornerstone Oregon before the Thanksgiving holiday…

Wines Reviewed:

 

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Cornerstone Oregon 2012 Chardonnay and 2011 Pinot Noir

 

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What wine will you be pairing with your Thanksgiving feast?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 144: Syrah, Jerky, and BBQ Potato Chips

October 14, 2014

In this episode, Jeff pairs this $40 Syrah with $4 worth of snacks.

Wine Tasted:

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Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Napa Valley Syrah

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What is your favorite Syrah from Atlas Peak?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 131: Blanc to the Future

April 13, 2014

In this episode, Jeff tries a three vintage vertical of Sauvignon Blanc samples from Cornerstone Cellars

Wine Tasted:

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Cornerstone Cellars 2011, 2010, and 2009 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Food Pairing:

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King Crab Mac and Cheese. The acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc cut through the fattiness of the crab and the cheese. The salinity of the wine also highlighted the seafood. This food pairing does a great job of showcasing the richness of the Cornerstone Sauvignon Blanc.

Next Day Bonus Food Pairings:

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Shrimp Ceviche. This spicy and rich ceviche brought out some of the ripe fruit flavors in the wine.

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Super Burrito Al Pastor. The savory burrito highlighted the herbaceous notes in the Sauvignon Blanc. I would show you a picture of the burrito unwrapped, but that would make for a messy meal.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s the oldest Sauvignon Blanc you’ve had?  What are your thoughts on aging your white wines?  Leave us a comment, and let us know what you think.

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

January 17, 2014

It’s that time of the year everybody!

It’s time for the Rad List!

What you are about to read is an alphabetical list of my most memorable wines from 2013. These are not necessarily the top scoring wines that I tasted in 2013 (for that, just take a look at my Rad Wine Reviews page). These are the wines that were delicious, thought-provoking, and just plain rad. Along with each wine, I’ll give you the reason why I picked them, as well as my original tasting notes.

So…

Without further ado…

The Rad List: The Raddest of the Rad from 2013

1. Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir – 91+

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Big Basin Vineyards 2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir

Another tasting with my old buddy, Dave TheVegetarian.  Another knockout wine.

Dave and I both grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Now… He’s not normally a Pinot Noir guy, but he was very stoked on the mountain fruit from this Big Basin Vineyards effort.  Here’s the original video of our tasting…

2. Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – 91+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

I’ve been such a big fan of Cornerstone over the years.  You have got to try their Oregon Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.  Always fantastic.

But… The power, balance, and structure of their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is where their proverbial bread is buttered.

So… When I had the opportunity to taste their 2010 Napa Valley and Howell Mountain efforts side-by-side, I jumped all over it.

Here’s the 49+ minute food and wine pairing video I posted on these wines…

3. Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – 93

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Dehlinger 1998 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

One of two wines I had the privilege of tasting from my Uncle Art’s cellar last spring.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: Light rusty burgundy red.

Nose: Bacon and mushrooms up front, followed by a juicy strawberry component.

Taste: Ripe strawberry on the front palate gives way to leather and mushrooms.  There’s a nice touch of black pepper that is sprinkled throughout.

Score: We were all impressed by the longevity of this wine.  There’s a great acidity to this wine that, along with the balanced backbone of 14.5% alcohol, that kept this wine quite fresh some 15 years after bottling.  93, y’all!

4. The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc – 92+

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The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2011 Cabernet Franc

One of my favorite parts about doing this blog is the great number of friends I’ve been able to make in the wine and wine-blogging community.  One such wine-blogging friend is Jeff Eckles of TheLonelyVine.com.

Jeff lives in Colorado.

He’s a Denver Broncos fan.

I’m a huge San Francisco 49ers fan… But you knew that already.

Last year, during the NFL playoffs, our two favorite teams were looking to be the favorites to go to, and subsequently win, the Superbowl.  So… We made a bet…

If the Broncos went further in the playoffs, I would send him a bottle of wine from California.

If the 49ers went further, he would send me a wine from Colorado.

The 49ers, of course, went farther.

Now… Although I was heartbroken at the Niners just missing out on a sixth Superbowl ring last year (I mean… Come on… The best offensive line in the NFL gets a first and goal at the seven, and you dial up three straight passing plays!?!?!?!), this bottle of The Infinite Monkey Theorem helped to ease my pain.  Here is the original tasting video I did for the wine…

Incidentally, Jeff and I have the same bet going on this year too.

Follow us on Twitter (@JeffIsRad and @JeffEckles) to see trash talking live on game day.

5. Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 92

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Long Meadow Ranch 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Last year, I made a half-assed attempt to create my own wine day.

The idea was that the Sunday before the Superbowl would forever be known as #StayRadDay (A day to celebrate family, friends, wine, and this blog… A bad idea… I know).

Now… Although my attempt at making my own wine day fell flat, this Cabernet from Long Meadow Ranch saved the day.

Here’s my original video tasting for this wine…

6. Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre – 91+

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Pontificis 2011 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

If I were to only place one wine from 2013 on The Rad List, this would be it.  Here are my original tasting notes…

You know that I am a big fan of Rhone-style wines.

You also know that I’ve been loving the value and quality of wines coming from the Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France.

So…

When I see a seven dollar Languedoc composed of the popular GSM Rhone blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (20%), you know I’m going to be all over it.

But… Does it deliver?

Hells to the yeahs, it does!

Note: I opened, and poured, this wine a good 45 minutes before tasting it.

Color: A dense, and inky, deep ruby red.

Nose: Beautiful notes of dusty chocolate with fresh strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry fruits.

Taste: Though young, this wine has a medium body of very soft, and approachable tannins.  The front palate starts off strong with dense and brambly fruits of blackberry and dark cherry, which transition nicely to a mid-palate of cranberries and orange zest.  On the finish, these fruits begin to raisinate, and show off a wonderfully long, acidic finish.

Score: Wow!  This wine is a strong 91+…

And I almost feel bad scoring it that low.  My only reservation is that this wine appears to lack the ageability of a truly fine wine… But… C’mon guys… This wine is what it is.  This is a fantastic wine that is ready to be consumed right, the F, now… And the great part is that you can find this at your local Trader Joe’s… Right.  The F.  Now.  Of course, if you shop at my local TJ’s, you’re gonna have some trouble finding it.  I’m buying them all up.  Right.  The.  F.  Now.

7. Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah – 94

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Ridge 1981 York Creek Devils Hill Petite Sirah

The second of two wines that my Uncle Art shared with me last spring.  This was I wine I had anticipated tasting with him for months, and when he finally broke it open, I was very much impressed.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Color: As older wines go, it has still retained a lot of its red color, though it does get brownish orange near the edges.

Nose: Beautiful notes of menthol and tobacco leaf with one of those dried out oranges decorated with cloves.

Taste: On the palate, this wine is straight herbaceous.  Forest floor and tobacco leaf for days.  There’s a nice note of dried cranberries that gives an impression of sweetness to this dry wine.

Score: What is most impressive about this Petite Sirah is that 32 years later, the grapes are still bringing these massive tannins.  My feeling is that the wine has the structure to go another 10 years.  This wine is massive, yet subtle in its complexity.  Does anybody else have one of these bottles they’d like to share with me?  94, fa sho!

8. Twomey 2008 Merlot – 92

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Twomey 2008 Merlot

Last April, Kara and I took a tour of the Silver Oak, Napa Valley winery.  As impressive as the Silver Oak wines are (and we got to taste a bunch), the most memorable wine of the day was from their sister label.  Here are my original tasting notes…

Twomey is the sister label of Silver Oak. With a slogan like “Life is a Cabernet”, it would be kind of weird to see a Silver Oak Merlot or Pinot Noir.  This Twomey Merlot is their ode to the great wines of Pomerol in Bordeaux, France.  As such, this wine has been aged on French oak.  It costs $50.

Color: Lighter ruby red.

Nose: Blackberry fruit with hints of vanilla and spice.

Taste: Massive blackberry and blueberry fruit, balanced out with a good acidity and herbaceous notes of black tea.

Score: Yes. The Napa Valley Cab is worth it at $110, but the Twomey Merlot at $50 is a steal. 92.

9. Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja – 93

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Viña Eguía 2007 Reserva Rioja

A gift from Dave TheVegetarian’s dad, Papa Don Cattivera, this wine was originally released in 2011 for $20.  At the time of the tasting, it was available at CostCo for $8.  I would pay $35 to get my hands on another bottle.

Here is the original video I made for this wine…

Well…

There you have it.

Another year…

Another Rad lineup of wines.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What was the Raddest wine you tasted in 2013? Leave a comment, and tell us about it.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 125: Taking My Time with Food and Wine

December 22, 2013

In this episode, Jeff takes his time in analyzing these two fine samples from Cornerstone Cellars. Get yourself a nice bottle of wine, and a big plate of food, before you watch this one… This one may take a while.

Wine Tasted:

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Food Pairing:

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The Big Roy featuring Roasted Garlic, Bacon, Pepper Jack, and Garlic Aioli with a side of Fries, House Ketchup, and Chipotle Ketchup from Cafe 152 Burger in Gilroy

Wine Samples provided by Cornerstone Cellars.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your take on the Cabs of Napa Valley, Howell Mountain, and Cornerstone Cellars? Leave a comment, and let us know.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 98: Pairing Wine with a Big Bag O’ Grease

May 17, 2013

In this episode, Jeff picks the perfect wine to go with a greasy cheeseburger…

Wine Tasted:

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Stepping Stone 2011 North Coast Red Rocks

After the Fact:

Jeff was WAY off.  This wine saw NO OAK… Just 5 months in a stainless steel tank.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Have you had any of the Stepping Stone Rocks wines?  What’s your cheeseburger and wine pairing?  Leave a comment and let us know.


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