Posts Tagged ‘Cornerstone Cellars’

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:


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,


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

White Rocks and Turkey Burgers

May 11, 2013

Is it summertime yet?

In Northern California, it sure has been feeling like it.

On hot days like these, you’ve gotta get you some nice, cold, white wine.

Luckily, the folks at Cornerstone Cellars just sent me this sample…


Stepping Stone 2012 North Coast White Rocks

Stepping Stone is the entry-level label by Cornerstone Cellars.  The Rocks series releases a different red and white wine blend each year.  The goal is to provide interesting, approachable, and affordable food-friendly wines every vintage.

The 2012 White Rocks is a blend of Chardonnay and Muscat Canelli selected from the California North Coast AVA.  It rolls in at $18.

Color: Pale yellow, with a bit of a greenish tint.

Nose: Honeysuckle, pear, lime and minerals.  Nice!

Taste: There is a great viscosity to this wine.  The White Rocks is loaded with citrus flavors of lemon and lime, with just a touch of melon.  There are some subtle grassy notes, as well as a hint of honey.  If I were tasting this blind, I would swear that this was a Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend.

Score: This is a fun wine.  It’s got a great balance of fruit, mineral, and acid.  It’s a solid 89 for me, and well worth your 18 dollars.

This wine was great, so you know I had to pair it with some food…


Mediterranean Turkey Slider with Tzatziki, Lemon Arugula Salad, and Roasted Corn

Now that ROCKS!

Stay Rad,


What’s your summertime wine of choice?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

Rosé and the Grill

April 21, 2013

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

It’s beautiful here in Northern California.


It’s the perfect time to break open the ol’ grill.

When you’re grilling, there are a couple different ways to go in terms of wine pairing.

For me, the choice was obvious…


Stepping Stone 2012 Corallina Syrah Rosé by Cornerstone Cellars

The fine folks at Cornerstone Cellars sent this wine my way as a sample, and I just had to break it open.

This rosé is 100% Napa Valley Syrah.  The block of this Syrah was intended to be used for rosé from the beginning.  In a world where some rosé is treated as an afterthought, this wine was made with intention.  For a wine that saw French oak for 5 months before bottling, this rosé is surprisingly affordable at $20 a bottle.  Considering that it is now available on special at $16 from the winery, this rosé is a steal.

Color: A beautiful salmon pink.

Nose: Citrus of grapefruit and lime, with a fun cherry 7-up minerality on the nose.

Taste: Make no mistake.  This is a dry rosé.  The fruit, however, gives a good perception of sweetness.  Beautiful notes of cherries, raspberries, and cranberries with a little orange zest on the back end.  A nice minerality, and good acidity, gives this wine a fresh balance that completely hides the 14.1% alcohol.

Score: Cornerstone will tell you that this a serious rosé.  I agree.  A solid 88.

Now, onto the food…



Mushroom, Onion, and Bell Pepper Kabobs, Marinated Portobellos, and a New York Strip

Some folks will tell you that this outdoor meal requires a big Cab, or a ripe Zin, but those folks are squares.

This is rosé weather.

Stay Rad,


What’s your beverage of choice when you’re manning the grill?  Leave a comment, and let us know.

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The Cornerstone of a Tasty Meal 1.3

December 1, 2012

After taking a good week off from the blog to battle this cold, I’m feeling much better (Thanks for asking).

In order to get back into the swing of things, I decided to open up another one of my samples from Cornerstone Cellars while doing a little cooking…


Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Color: Light burgundy red with a light tomato hue at the rim.

Nose: Tomato skin (hmmmm), leather, strawberry, cranberry, and fig notes with a nice spice rack blend to round things out.

Taste: Wow!  Delicious fruits of strawberry, blackberry, and cranberry.  There’s a great component of allspice and leather that transitions into a long, luscious, velvety finish, and a great acidity that makes it a very food-friendly wine.

Score: Here’s what I love about Pinot Noir.  It’s so subtle…  It’s so reserved…  But… It’s so complex… If you take the time to think about it.  This effort from Cornerstone Oregon is a shining example of how great Pinot Noir can be.  I love this wine.  92 (I gave the 2009 vintage of this wine a 91+)


On to the food…


Farmers Market Fresh Ahi Tuna Tower of Green Onion, Chiles, Cucumber, Mango, Cilantro, Lime, and Stagecoach Vineyard Olive Oil topped with Edamame Cakes on an Okonomi and Sriracha Glaze

I guess I went a little overboard on the food, but that Pinot got me real excited.

I was very happy with how both the dish and the pairing turned out.

The wine brought out the freshness of the cucumber in the Ahi Tower, which could have been overwhelmed by the savory/spicy dish.  The savory flavors of the tuna bumped up the previously muted flavors of cola/sassafras in the wine.

With a wine this food-friendly, there was no way I was gonna waste a single bite of this dish…


And I didn’t!

Stay Rad,


The Cornerstone of a Tasty Meal 1.1

November 14, 2012

When I visited the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in the Napa Valley a few weeks back, Craig Camp (wine guy extraordinaire at Cornerstone) talked quite a bit about how his wine is meant to be paired with food.  A week later, I received a few more samples from Cornerstone.  Some wines I’ve tasted before, and some I’ve yet to try.


I’ve decided that I’m going to taste all of these samples with a home cooked meal.

I am calling this series “The Cornerstone of a Tasty Meal”.



Let’s check out the first wine…


Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Color: Light burgundy.

Nose: Fruits of strawberry and tomato along with a bunch of mushrooms.  This wine smells fresh and Earthy.

Taste: Strawberry and tomato up front, surrounded by a leathery mouthfeel and spices of black pepper.  This wine has a long, mouthwatering acidity that makes it a great food-pairing wine.

Score: A great, complex, food-friendly wine.  91 (When I originally tried this wine at the tasting room, I gave it a 90+.  Good to know that my palate is pretty well calibrated.)

Now, on to the food.

I just got some HUGE beets from the farmers market, so I decided to chop ’em up and roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper…


Into the oven at 425 for 30 minutes.

These beets came with some HUGE stalks and greens attached to them.  Rather than throw them away, I decided to chop ’em up and saute them in some good olive oil, green onions, and cherry tomatoes…


Beet greens and stalks.

Here’s how I plated the dish…


Roasted Beets on a Bed of Beet Greens and Stalks with Cherry Tomatoes and a Balsamic Reduction

And here it is up close…


Pretty much the same.

First of all, the dish was fantastic.  When you roast beets, there is this great play between Earthy and sweet flavors.

With the wine, it was off the hook, son!

This was a great pairing of Earthy meets Earthy.  The sweetness of the beets and tomatoes also amped up the fruit in the wine.

Very good.

You should try this.

Stay Rad,


Napa Fun Time 1.3: Workin’ Our Way Back

October 22, 2012

After a fantastic morning  traveling North to visit Del Dotto and Cornerstone Cellars, we spent the majority of our afternoon in the Napa Valley working our way through the Oak Knoll and Stags Leap districts.

The next stop on our list was Trefethen Family Vineyards


We took the time to smell the poppies…


We tried their very tasty Dry Riesling.


We pondered the blend of grapes in their Quandary White Wine.


We gushed over their Cabernet Franc.


We also enjoyed the decorations.

It’s been said that Trefethen is haunted.

Not being one to tempt the spirits, we drove over to our next stop…


Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. No ghosts here. Just good wine.


At Stag’s Leap, they don’t play. They gave us separate glasses for each of the wines we were about to taste.


They even put wine in the glasses!

While all of the wines were fantastic, we very impressed by the 2009 CASK23 Cabernet Sauvignon…


Fresh from the decanter.

I would have loved to take this one home… and I am still considering buying this one.

Does anyone have two hundred bucks I can borrow?

Stay Rad,


Be sure to check out the next installment of Napa Fun Time, where Jeff and Kara visit some family friends for a guided tour of the world-renowned Stagecoach Vineyard.

Napa Fun Time 1.2: Everybody Must Get Cornerstone

October 17, 2012

After spending the morning in the wine cave at Del Dotto in Napa, Kara and I headed North on the 29 to the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in Yountville.


Cornerstone Cellars

Upon arrival, we met up with managing partner, blogger, and all around great guy, Craig Camp, who hosted us in a tasting of their current releases…


Stepping Stone 2011 North Coast White Rocks: A dry white blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, the White Rocks brings flavors of subtle grassy notes and pineapple.  There’s a good acid and weight to this. 87


Stepping Stone 2010 Napa Valley Riesling: Nose of honey suckle and minerality.  There’s a good medium light weight to this bone dry white. 87


Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Chardonnay: Toasty nose of lemon and vanilla. There’s a good, creamy mouthfeel that is complimented by a balanced lemon acidity. I love this wine. 91


Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Pretty nose of papaya and peach. Good lime flavored acidity and subtle grassy notes. 90


Stepping Stone 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: A nice, light Pinot Noir that smells of pepper and strawberries. On the palate, the pepper spice is balanced with hints of cola, cranberry, and leather. This is some good stuff. 90+


Cornerstone Oregon 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Toasty nose of tomatoes and cherries are complimented by the taste of cola, cherries, sassafras, and cranberries. There is a great balance to this wine. 91+


Cornerstone Cellars 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark burgundy in color, this wine has a pretty nose of strawberry and black fruits. This Cabernet has some fantastic structure with its smooth, chalky tannins. The wine has plenty of pretty black fruit, and a long finish of black olives (which may be due to the 5% Merlot blended into the wine). I’m a fan. 92


Cornerstone Cellars 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is hella dark. It has a pretty nose of menthol and dried cherries. On the palate, it is all tannin, acid, and spice. This is definitely and age-worthy cab. Craig also poured us a splash of the 2006 to show how it ages. The wine will definitely showcase some herb notes and the tannins pull back over the next few years. This is a great wine. 92+


Cornerstone Cellars 2009 The Cornerstone Red Wine: This is THEE wine that showcases what good fruit and good winemaking can do in Napa Valley. This wine features 95% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Oakville Station/To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, along with equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The wine is dark red, verging on black. It features a nose of strawberry shortcake and boysenberries. The palate has great fruit of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and plum. There is a nice long acid, good green notes of bell pepper, and chalky, bike tire-like tannins. This a fantastic wine. It has the chops to go toe-to-toe with some of Napa’s finest. 93

Before we took off, Craig brought out some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from To Kalon for us to sample…



The next time you’re in the Napa Valley, you’ve gotta check out Cornerstone.

Stay Rad,


Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 67: On the Corner

October 2, 2012

In this episode, Jeff tries a Cabernet Sauvignon from the folks at Cornerstone Cellars…

Wine Tasted:


Stepping Stone 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Stay Rad,


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