When Cornerstone Cellars burst on the scene with their sister label, Stepping Stone, it was an existing time for wine lovers. The quiet powerhouse of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon had the opportunity to move in to some fun and interesting varietals, such as Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and a beautiful rose of Syrah.
Recently, with the leadership of General Manager Craig Camp and winemaker Jeff Keene, the Stepping Stone label has grown up: Now, Stepping Stone by Cornerstone (Cornerstone Black Label) represents the best in class of the support cast of characters that make Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bordeaux, so sexy.
With the new labels, Stepping Stone by Cornerstone slides seamlessly in to the Cornerstone lineup. The elegant white on black label mirrors the black on white labels of the Cornerstone Cabernet lineup and makes a bold statement about where these wines lie on the quality and flavor spectrum.
My favorites (well ok they really are ALL favorites but…) is the 2011 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc. When I stopped by the see the gang at Cornerstone earlier this year, I tasted through the lineup and once again, the Cab Franc stand out.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Cab Franc in general, and Cornerstone’s in particular. The 2011 has all of the savory herbaciouness that makes Cab Franc so unique, with a pop of raspberry and plum. Hiding in the back of the mouth, I get dried herbs, French lavelddar, and tobacco along with some dark chocolate dancing on my tounge.
This is a silky, rich, unctuous wine, but it’s also bright. With the herbal backbone it’s a great pairing for herbed chicken, pepper steak or pretty much anything. For $45 this is an affordable luxury that you can share with your friends to warm up on a chilly late spring evening.
Here in Northern California, we aren’t sure what season it is yet. We had about 3 days of high summer, followed by a day of winter. It’s now calmed back in to Spring, so I say open a bottle of Cornerstone tonight and make it choose your season for you!
Corenrstone Cellars is located in yountville, just north of the town of Napa. If you’re making a trip to Napa, make sure you stop in. You won’t be sorry!