Cornerstone Rocks!

I’ve been a long time friend, and fan, of the wines of Cornerstone Napa.  With a wide range of both classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, as well as the newest addition, Cornerstone Oregon, they have made their mark on the wine business producing distinctive wines with style.

In comes the renegade second label, Stepping Stone.  Every bit the equal of Cornerstone, Stepping Stone gives room to play, both with styles, but varietals.  Producing single varietal wines like my favorite Cabernet Franc, as well as blends like the delicious summer sipper Corralina Rose, these wines are affordable, tasty, and fun.

One of the best things to come out of Stepping Stone is the Cornerstone Rocks! series.  Created to be a fun, irreverent, and everyday enjoyers, these two unique blends take a detour to the North Coast, creating two distinctive blends that literally do, rock.

The 2011 Stepping Stone White Rocks is a fascinating blend of Chardonnay and Gewurtraminer.  When I first opened the bottle, the unexpected floral notes of the gewertz floated up with honeysuckle, nutmeg, and musk melon.  On the first sip, the tropical lushness and citrus of the chard pokes it’s head out with a crisp, clean finish.  At only $18, this is a great bottle to bring to that BBQ or dinner party.  The slight honey sweetness from the gewertz would make it great pairing with Indian or Thai as well!  Yum!

The 2010 Stepping Stone North Coast Red Rocks is a fun little blend of Zin, Syrah and Merlot.  Something you don’t see often, this zippy little number is a spice cone of cherries jubilee, with cracked black pepper on top.  The syrah lends itself to some meaty notes hiding under the fruit of the merlot and zin, but they blend together beautifully.  This is a playful wine, and is an easy quaffer.  Another steal at $18, this wine got better and better as the night (and the next day) went on.

The fun with this  is that it goes to show you – if you don’t like a wine, wait a while.  Let it breathe.  Run it through a Soiree.  Decant it.  You will be surprised at the results!  Another trick I have learned is that the glass makes a difference.  Yes, there are glasses and there are glasses.  I really only have two main types:  Pinot Noir glasses and everything else.  That said, a small, inexpensive tasting glass collected from one of a dozen or so events will not do every wine justice.  Invest in some affordable Bordeaux glasses.  I personally love the Connoisseur Series from Cost Plus, which are made by Spiegelau (owned by Riedel).  Through this tangled chain, these $5 stems are the right shape and the right thickness.  Bonus – if you break them like I do, you won’t cringe!

Both of these blends are unique every year, and are only made in limited quantities.  The blends and the flavor profiles are only limited by the creativity of the winemaker.  These wines are pure fun.  You don’t need to study them, you don’t need to think about them, simply enjoy them!

These wines were provided by Craig Camp and his indubitable team at Cornerstone, who very much rock! 

Happy 4th of July!

Normally, I refrain from posting anything that is particular patriotic, political, or US centric because hey – you never know who is reading my blog these days.  Today however, I feel like I have a lot to celebrate:

  1. It’s over 60 degrees in San Francisco and there is no fog on the 4th, which has happened maybe 3 times in the 36 years that I have lived here
  2. I don’t have to work today horray!  Any time I get an extra day off to drink, eat, and play is fine by me!
  3. There are great tunes playing on KFOG, my local passion radio station.  You can listen online too – and I highly recommend it!

So, here I am, making cookies for home made Its Its (if you don’t know what an Its It is, I feel sorry for you!  A Bay Area institution, this ice cream sandwich concoction is heaven in a freezer) and I popped open the Domaine Carneros Brut Rose.  Domaine Carneros makes some of my favorite domestic bubbly, and I never say no when there is some in the fridge

 

chilling.

A pale salmon copper color, this bubbly is 58% pinot noir and 42% chardonnay, where traditionally blanc de noir is all pinot.   Crisp and  refreshing, there are dry wild strawberries and white peaches.  A touch of shale and mineral gives this a nice refreshing body with hints of orange juice (no i did NOT make a mimosa first!) and spicy back notes on the finish.  It really is the perfect brunch beverage and I am enjoying it on my lazy summer day.

For $35, this is a MUST BUY if you love bubbly!

Happy drinking!

Thank you Tattinger (parent of Domaine Carneros) for providing me this yummy treat for today!

 

 

 

 

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