One of the best experiences I had in Napa was a tasting with Craig Camp, managing partner of Cornerstone Cellars. He invited Brandon and I to join him in Yountville to try both Cornerstone and Stepping Stone’s wines. We arrived at their tasting room near famed Bistro Jeanty and Bouchon restaurants. The tasting room is beautiful with a relaxed atmosphere…a place that makes you want to sit down, enjoy the wine, and have great conversation.
Craig is great guy who is passionate about giving people exceptional wines. We started the tasting with Cornerstone’s sister label, Stepping Stone. Stepping Stone has outstanding wines for a great value. Each wine seemed to impress our taste buds and make us wish there was more than just a sip or two in the glass. The 2010 Stepping Stone Riesling is aromatic and refreshing with a dry finish. The 201o Syrah Rose delivered a field of strawberries that enveloped my palate. Both of these wines retail for only $18.
The Stepping Stone 2008 Cabernet Franc was a favorite of mine (so much so that we brought home 3 bottles!). It is one of the better Cab Franc’s I have had…wonderful acidity and a lift at the end makes this a steal for $35.
After wrapping up with the Stepping Stone we had the privilege to taste Cornerstone’s wines. The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet is 100% Cabernet and tastes of dark cherries and spice. The wine has silky tannins and a spicy finish. The 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet, the flagship of Cornerstone, is a breathtaking wine. Rich with smooth tannins and a lively finish…the wine should age gracefully but also impressed us now.
At the end of the tasting, Craig brought out a bottle of Pinot from the back that has not been released yet and we were lucky enough to be some of the first to taste it. The 2009 Cornerstone Pinot Noir is something to get excited about…silky and smooth with dark berries. The finish is a crescendo of spice…it starts out subtle and explodes at the end. I asked to buy a bottle (probably should have begged) but I guess I will have to wait until the fall like everyone else 🙁
We were so impressed with the wines that Cornerstone produces. There aren’t many wineries out their that produce one wine that is better than the next but somehow Cornerstone has done just that. Check them out at www.CornerstoneCellars.com and whether you buy the $18 Syrah Rose of the $75 Howell Mountain Cabernet, you won’t be disappointed!