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Cornerstone Cellars

Wine Bloggers Conference 2014 White and Red Wine Speed tasting notes:

Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc $30

We at Cornerstone Cellars strive to take whatever we do to that next level of excellence and so looking to further improve our impressive Cornerstone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. We looked at the famed Ink Grade Vineyard in the prestigious Howell Mountain Appellation for a new source of Sauvignon Blanc to add further layers to the Talcott Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. We already know how fantastic the Cabernet Sauvignon is from Howell Mountain so why not Sauvignon Blanc.

Located in the Northwestern corner of the Napa Valley, the Ink Grade Vineyard is higher and more isolated by mountains than the main river valley. As a result, this area is generally warmer during the afternoon and cooler at night than the other parts of the Napa Valley. The wide diurnal temperature swings are perfect for Sauvignon Blanc, exhibiting bright acidity coupled with ripe, tropical flavors.

Our Cornerstone Cellars 2012 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc from Howell Mountain and the Talcott Vineyard in St. Helena was harvested in the pre-dawn cool of the morning on the 13th September, 2012. The ripe, beautiful golden fruit was gently pressed to extract only the highest quality free-run juice, maintaining and protecting the natural brilliant aromatic and flavor profiles. An extremely cool, gradual fermentation in stainless steel enhanced the retention of the intensely lifted aromatic and flavor characteristics of these two beautiful vineyards. Gradually fermenting for over a month, the wine was then racked into mature French oak barrels for sur-lie aging that added a richness to the mid-palate and a lingering complex finish.

Mother Nature had the widest of grins she could muster upon the Napa Valley, blessing us with absolutely fantastic growing and ripening conditions. A classic vintage, picture perfect, where it seemed every aspect of the season was in harmony. A steady parade of glorious, warm sunny days and cool nights allowed the fruit to enjoy long even ripening to develop optimally ripe aromas and flavors with perfect balance and elegance. What a breath of fresh air these conditions bring.

There’s intensity to the tropical aromatics of pineapple, ripe honeydew melon and honeysuckle which leap from the glass aided by the bright citrus and lemon peel notes.With a vibrant focus and a seamless, fleshy texture this Sauvignon Blanc has a great depth of flavor which is graceful yet balanced by bright flavors, zesty acidity and a firm minerality.Substantial, sophisticated and seductive, this elegant expression of Sauvignon Blanc will offer increased drinking pleasure for the next 5 years, complementing shellfish and the freshest seafood you can find.

Composition: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, Ink Grade Vineyard, Howell Mountain; Talcott Vineyard, St. Helena

Harvest: Each of the vineyards was harvested September 13th., 2012 in perfect conditionsm. Fermentation:Very cool and gradual in stainless steel. Aging: 5 months in mature French oak barrels, lees stirred (sur-lie) every 2 weeks

Bottling Date: March 11th., 2013 -  853 cases of 12 x 750 mL, 30 bottles of 1.5 L

Harvest Analysis: 23.4 Brix, pH   3.61, T.A. 0.430 g/100mL,

Botttling Analysis: Alcohol   14.1 % v/v, pH   3.30, T.A. 0.540 g/100mL

Cornerstone Cellars 2011 Napa Valley ‘The Cornerstone’ $150

From the quality of our fruit to the execution of every detail in the cellar, ‘The Cornerstone’ represents and unwavering will for perfection and abundant passion for excellence. Commanding respect, ‘The Cornerstone’ is a proud wine representing nobility and elegance highlighting the personalities of each vintage, vineyard and variety as well as the unique terroir that is Napa Valley. We feel ‘The Cornerstone’ possess all the elements of greatness -  individuality, power combined with elegance, extraordinary complexity and remarkable ageing potential. The result is an extremely limited production of an ultra-premium wine.

Elegance and balance best describes the wines from the Cornerstone Cellars style this vintage. Numerous challenges were provided to viticulturists and winemakers throughout the 2011 vintage. What began with a wet winter and spring continued with rainfall into June that delayed bloom and disrupted fruit set. The mild, steady warmth of the summer months lacked any significant temperature spikes allowing the fruit to ripen slowly, but uniformly with fantastic flavor development. Unusually cool and wet weather returned September and October pushing the vintage even later, but we were rewarded in the end with weeks of amazing weather that provided needed ripening time. The commitment to quality runs deep in this valley so with our patience and the precision farming of our fantastic growers we were rewarded once again with elegant, well balanced wines.

Blending together selected barrels which have distinguished themselves during their aging, the Cornerstone Cellars 2011 Napa Valley ‘The Cornerstone’ is a masterpiece where the exquisite individuality of three varieties creates a harmonious wine with vitality emphasized in preference over power. The authority of the cabernet sauvignon, the suppleness of merlot and the floral intrigue of cabernet franc create a wine endowed with exceptional elegance and finesse. Deep, rich, brooding aromatics of red and black berry fruits, plum, blackcurrant, and anise meld together and open to a lightly roasted mocha and hints of sweet baking spice. Unbelievable elegance and definition graces every inch of the palate with seemingly endless layers of expressive dark red berry fruits, spice and an intense core of cassis supported by polished tannins, suave and energetic with a harmonious acidity providing a terrific inner-mouth energy. Long and flowing in the finish, ‘The Cornerstone’ has a luxurious presence.

85% Cabernet Sauvignon ,10% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc Oakville Station Vineyard, Oakville

Harvested early to late October, Aging: 22 months in French Bordeaux oak barrels 100% new

Bottling Date: July 16th., 2013 - 104 cases of 12 x 750mL, 30 bottles of 1.5L

Bottling Analysis:   Alcohol   14.4 % v/v, pH   3.60, T.A. 0.580 g/100mL