It was about a decade ago when I first started learning about and appreciating wine. At the time I was working in a four-star steak house and was exposed to many great wines, but the one that stood out the most was the 2002 Cornerstone Napa Cabernet. I was seated in the dining room with other waiters and the rep from the wholesaler was giving us the rundown on this gem. He opened the bottle and poured about an ounce for everyone. I’ll never forget it. The first whiff and sip were nothing but oak, but then after a minute it started to open up. Fruit and herbs burst through and absolutely blew my mind; I didn’t know such a thing was possible! From that moment on I was hooked. Needless to say, Cornerstone wines have a special place in my heart. Here at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, we have a nice selection that I’d like to walk you through.
First is the one that started it all, the Napa Cab. This wine is chewy, earthy and rustic. Flavors of dense dried berry, leather and spice fill the palate and finishes with a dry camphor edge. This one will drink well for another 15 years or so.
Next we’ll go to the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The 2012 scored 94 points in the Spectator, so I will let them take it from here. “Supple, ripe and expressive, unfurling ripe blueberry, plum and spice flavors on a bed of velvety tannins. Finishes with persistence and elegance. Drink now through 2022.”
Cornerstone also makes another line called Stepping Stone, which is less expensive but delivers a great wine. My absolute favorite is the 2009 Cab Franc. Very rich and robust with flavors of roasted herbs, dried berry, sage and tobacco. Beautifully firm tannins with an earthy aftertaste.
Last but not least is by far the best value I’ve encountered. The 2012 Napa Merlot is only $16.99 but drinks like a $40 bottle! Dense, ripe berries, dark cherry and herb coat the palate. Finishes clean and dry with a long, lingering afterthought. By far the best Merlot I’ve had in a long time.
This winery is very quality conscious and overproduction is a four-letter word. Most of their varietals produce less than 1,000 cases. If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying one of these wines, do yourself a favor and fall in love with one of the best wineries in Napa!
George Ryan, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine consultant – Sunrise
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinegeorger