Stepping Stone by Cornerstone
and Cornerstone Cellars are spiritual cousins. They are made with the same focus and attention to detail and are produced from many of the same vineyards, but are different expressions of each harvest. Every vineyard actually gives many wines each vintage and as you taste through the barrels you find a complete palette of styles. With Cornerstone we think of power, longevity and years of cellar age, while with Stepping Stone we think of tonight's dinner. Those more forward, charming barrels are selected for Stepping Stone. Stepping Stone by Cornerstone also lets us spread our wings a bit and go beyond our traditional wines to craft small lots of wines from varieties and vineyards that inspire us.
The cornerstone of our Stepping Stone wines are our two cabernets. The Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc is a labor of love for us as we find this variety so compelling, not only for the wonders it can do when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, but for its wonderful lifted aromatics and bright palate on its own. Our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is more forward and restrained than our Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, but you can’t miss the family resemblance. Each of our Stepping Stone will develop even greater complexity if cellared for several years.
Stepping Stone allows us to brin
g out our inner Rhone Ranger
with two wines from one of our favorite varieties, Syrah.
Our Syrah comes from cooler sites in the southern Napa Valley to bring out the bright freshness of this variety grown in the proper sites. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Syrah does not like it too hot. Our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé is a real rosé, designed before the first bud breaks each season to be a rosé. Unlike so many rosé wines
these days we do not use saignée
as technique to make our Corallina Syrah Rosé. To get the freshness and brightness we crave you have to pick the grapes earlier when there’s still plenty of mouthwatering acidity. After Corallina Syrah Rosé is fermented dry-as-a-bone it gets a half-year of aging in mature French Oak barrels to round out its complex character and rich textures. Our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Syrah is a vibrant red wine in the tradition of the wines of the southern Rhone Valley. Often blended with a touch of Grenache
to add more layers of personality, this rich yet balanced wine will mature beautifully over two or three years.
White wine gets no less attention at Stepping Stone. We love Riesling
, but were not optimistic about finding the right site in the Napa Valley. Once an important variety here it has all but disappeared. We were thrilled to find a beautiful site in the Oak Knoll District (our first vintage was from a site in Carneros) and we could not be happier with the results. Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Riesling is fermented dry, but with zesty acidity and clean, refreshing stone fruit flavors it is the perfect wine for our local seafood. Our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Cuveé Musque is one of the few Sauvignon Blanc wines produced solely from the Musque clone. While our Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is for crab and lobster, our Stepping Stone Sauvignon Blanc calls for oysters and fish fries.