Cornerstone 2010 The Cornerstone Red Wine (Napa Valley). This wine is massively ripe, with black currant, dark chocolate and anise flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon brings a black currant note and tannic power, Cabernet Franc adds a cherried rich-ness, and Merlot lends a soft, feminine touch. The result is noble, but big, thick tannins call for time in the cellar. Consider opening from 2017, although it will go for a decade or two longer than that. Cellar Selection. —S.H. Price: $150 Order here.
2010 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Ripe, vivacious black- berry, black currant and oak flavors are folded into complex tannins in this dramatic Cabernet Sauvignon. Blended with 10% Merlot, it’s dry, firm and noble, but severely immature at this stage and will require plenty of bottle age. Give it six more years, at the very least. Cellar Selection.—S.H. Price $80 Order here.
Cornerstone 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Everything about this Cabernet argues for cellaring. With a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it’s enormously complex, with fruit flavors that range from blackberries and cherries to black currants. There’s also a pleasant herbaceous-ness that suggests sweet green peas. The tannins are significant so let it develop bottle complexity till 2016. Cellar Selection— S.H. Price $60 Order here.
Suggested Recipe from Leite's Culinaria
Roast Duck Stuffed with Farro, Figs, and Hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 dried bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 allspice berry
Fine sea salt, to taste
12 dried figs (any variety)
1 whole (5 to 7 pounds) duck, deboned (see LC Note above)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound breakfast sausage, uncooked
2 cups cooked farro (or substitute wild rice, brown rice, or mixed whole grains)
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned*, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. A day before dinner, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the wine, sugar, bay leaf, thyme sprig, peppercorns, allspice, and a pinch salt. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the figs, and cover. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
2. A couple hours before dinner, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Fit a roasting pan with a rack.
3. Trim any glands or blood vessels from the duck. Pat the duck completely dry with paper towels and place it on a cutting board, opening it like a book. Season it inside and out (that is to say, on both the meat and the skin) with salt and pepper. Turn the duck skin side down.
4. Drain the figs, trim the stems, and then quarter each fig lengthwise. In a bowl, combine the figs, sausage, farro, hazelnuts, chopped thyme, and parsley. Pat the stuffing into a cylinder about 3 inches in diameter and 3 inches shorter than the length of the duck. Place the stuffing directly in the center of the duck and roll the meat tightly around the stuffing. Tie the duck every 2 inches or so with a separate piece of kitchen string. Using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern to facilitate the release of fat during cooking, being careful not to cut the string.
5. Place the duck on the rack and roast it, basting the duck with the drippings that accumulate in the pan 3 or 4 times, for about 60 to 90 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the farro stuffing registers 160°F (71°C). If the skin starts to get a little too brown, you can lower the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C) so the duck finishes more slowly.
6. Remove the duck from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carve into slices about 1 inch thick, removing and discarding the string. Serve immediately.
WHOLE STUFFED DUCK VARIATION
Can’t get anyone to debone that duck for you? No problem. What you want to do then is roast it whole—bones and all. Yup. Just pat the duck dry, season it with salt and pepper, and shove it in the oven. [Editor's Note: If you lack a preferred technique for roasting duck, our recipe tester Elie Nassar roasted it on a rack in a roasting pan at 325°F (165°C) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and it worked just dandy. You could stuff the bird with the farro and hazelnut and fig goodness or you could instead plop the stuffing in a small baking dish and slip that in the oven alongside the bird for the last little while. (When making the stuffing, you'll need to amend it slightly. Sauté the sausage until no trace of pink remains, then mix in the rest of the ingredients, spoon it into the cavity of the duck or an 8-inch square dish or small casserole covered with a lid or foil, and bake until warmed through, 30 to 60 minutes.)] Easy peasy.