Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walking the Stepping Stone

By Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

On average it take me about two to three months review a wine that has been sent to me here on Wine Post. There is first the time lag between when I receive the wine and when I taste the wine. That is usually about three to four weeks. This is deliberate, as it allows the wine that has been sent to me to get over its bottle shock from being put into a box, shaken vigorously by the UPS or FedEx man, and then delivered to me.

After waiting an appropriate amount of time, I then taste the wine and write down my tasting notes. I will usually taste the wine after about 15 minutes of it being opened, then again after 30 minutes, and then again after an hour. This allows me to see how the wine changes and evolves. It also gives me a small glimpse into seeing if the wine could have aged. The more changes the wine goes through while open to air, the more these changes could have blended into a wine as it sits in the bottle. It is not a sure indicator, but it is close. You can definitely tell when a wine is closed tight and needs a while in the air to open up. More time in the bottle would certainly help these wines open.

I mention this because these are some of the properties I found in Cornerstone Cellars' newest label: Stepping Stone. I received a bottle of the 2007 Grenache and 2007 Cabernet Franc. The Grenache is from the Red Hills AVA, in Lake County, within the North Coast of California (circles within circles). The Cabernet Franc comes from vineyards in Carneros. I really enjoyed both of these wines, but I thought the Grenache was great. It had beautiful wild berry flavors, with a fine sprinkle of crushed black pepper. The longer this wine sat in my glass, the smoother and more enjoyable it became, clearly indicating to me that this wine could have held up for another five years easily.

The Cabernet Franc was also very nice, with fresh and vibrant fruit, hinting at a background of herbal polish. Blueberries and raspberries were the most prevalent with a band of dust that carefully divided the fore-palate and the mid-palate.

Another thing I like about Cornerstone is that on the individual wine pages there are a few notes about WHY the winery decided to make the wine.

Disclaimer: I received both wines as samples from the winery.
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