Saturday, February 28, 2015

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc Black Label Napa Valley

  *Sample Received*

The 2012 growing season in the Napa Valley was in many ways grape friendly, with ideal growing and ripening conditions. Warm sun followed by cool nights, just what these grapes demanded to ensure even ripening to produce spectacular aromas and flavors. Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc might just be the closest juice to perfect that I have tasted in this varietal. 

The glass releases an abundance of fresh ripe red berries with a touch of sweet spice. Allow the wine to open and black tea with woodsy herbs, wild violets and a hint of tobacco. Elegant aromas with a sophisticated character.

The mouth is superb with wild raspberry and splashes of blackberry. Hints of plum, a touch of blueberry circled by a light cassis and finishing with a soft leathery oak nuance. One thinks bold when they hear Cabernet but Cabernet Franc is more feminine both rich and silky smooth. For Cabernet Franc lovers this wine is a must.

The wine was aged in French Bordeaux oak barrels for 18 months 50% which were new. The grapes were harvested from 3 vineyards Oakville Station, Talcott Vineyard and Carrefour Vineyard with 933 cases produced.

Stop by Cornerstone Cellars today and taste their portfolio of outstanding wines.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

2011 Ceja Vineyards Pinot Noir Napa Valley Carneros

Picturesque Carneros, world renowned for producing some of the finest pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wines is home to some exceptional wineries and vineyards. Rolling fields of grapevines showcase the beauty of the region and await the many visitors who embark on wine country. One of my favorite and one of the first I fell in love with was Ceja Vineyards Known for their love of food and great wine, this is truly a family affair with many generations of Ceja's involved in the business. Here is where you will meet Amelia Ceja President who works tirelessly promoting her family wines. Son Ariel and daughter Dalia along with Pedro and Armando greet guests warmly as if they were family regardless of the moment. They are husbands, winemakers, marketers and social media experts not forgetting the roots they planted in the early days. Amelia will always laugh when I tell her the Ceja's are my adopted Carneros Family. She will tell you all the fans of Ceja Wine are their extended family.

The 2011 Napa Valley-Carneros Pinot Noir is so beautifully aromatic with wild cherry blossoms screaming from the glass when first poured. Layers of plum, strawberry, black tea and that hibiscus scent unique to carneros treat the nose as well. Close my eyes and I swear I'm standing in the vineyards with a soft breeze in my face.

Have I told you how much I love this Pinot Noir? Fresh cut cherry, raspberry and strawberry explode in the mouth. Red current and dried herbs give the wine the grown up character yet the finish is soft and silky. One very delicious Pinot Armando! I'll need to order more before this sells out.

Would you like to have these wines delivered to your door before they are released to the tasting room then I highly suggest signing up for the Ceja Wine Club Three levels await the wine lover 3-6-12 bottle shipments. Heading out to wine country then stop by the new tasting salon located at 22989 Burndale Road in Sonoma where your palate will enjoy some of the likes of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and another of my favorites Vino De Casa. When you do tell my family hello.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

2012 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County

*Sample Received*

Tom Klein Proprietor of Rodney Strong says it best, "Place is not everything. But place is the most important thing." What you find in every bottle is a passion for producing world class wines and the dedication to Sonoma County.

Tonight's wine comes from the hillsides of Alexander Valley where the soil is perfect for growing Cabernet grapes. Aged in french oak for 17 months, the wine is big in the beginning and soft on the finish.
Ripe dark fruit notes of plum and blackberry surrounded by dried herbal notes and cocoa. The mouth showcases the exceptional juicy dark fruit with a kiss of spice, cocoa powder and oak. Priced at $28 a very good value for this quality wine. One of my friends shared with me that RS Vineyards is their go to wine!

Looking for that perfect cruise which pairs great scenery, wine and food then look no further and sign up for the Pearls of the Mediterranean Wine Cruise  scheduled for June 16 through the 23rd. Italy, Spain, France and Monaco plus food and wine.......a trip of a lifetime. If your unable to make the trip and in wine country stop by the tasting room Healdsburg for a sip and a bottle or 2.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

2012 Cornerstone Oregon Willamette Valley Chardonnay White Label

*Sample Received*

Oregon Chardonnay has come along way since its initial introduction back in the late 60's early 70's when the thought was any burgundy grape would grow well in Oregon. After all Pinot Noir grew well here so will Chardonnay. The misstep then was the differences in climate, the length of the growing season and so in the 1990's a new trend occurred where growers realized the errors and started to study the characteristics of alternative clones and how they react to the soil of Oregon. The results of those in depth studies and meticulous attention to details are what you find in today's Oregon Chardonnay. Fresh and balanced with an elegant use of oak, today's winemaker is producing award winning wines especially my friends at Cornerstone Cellars

I have tasted Cornerstone wines for several years as many of you have as well. Each vintage is different which falls directly in line with the mission of the founders. "Each of our wines expresses the essence of the vineyard, variety and vintage, which combine each harvest to create something never to be exactly repeated." Each vintage Cornerstone reaches beyond excellence to establish higher goals year after year for their wines. The result are these beautiful aromatic and delicious wines we savor.

The nose exhibits creamy vanilla custard, green apple, pineapple and pears. A slight hint of oak, very subtle and not overpowering. A lot of fresh citrus and wild daisies as the wine opens and warms.A character of Cornerstone Wines are their beautiful aromatics and this one does not disappoint!

The mouth is lively with pear, apple and a hint of cantaloupe. Very little oak influences the taste and I enjoy the long lingering finish of slightly sweet pear. The wine really emphasizes the ripe fruit from which it originated and nicely balanced. I paired with my Maryland Crab Cakes and outstanding how the wine complimented the food. This bottle of wine is why you drink Cornerstone and Oregon. Well done gentlemen.

If your stopping by the Yountville tasting room make sure you have a sip of the entire portfolio of Cornerstone Wines. A friendly room where the knowledgeable staff will treat you like family. Headed to Oregon then email Craig and ask for a private tasting. Sip and enjoy Cornerstone Cellars!