Visiting Corison Winery

IMG_2293Ages ago after I wrote a piece about the appellation St. Helena tasting I attended last year, I received an email from Cathy Corison. One of her wines was among the offerings at the media tasting that day and she offered to have me stop by her winery on my next visit to CA. Due to very conflicting schedules I missed out on visiting her on my next two CA trips, but was finally able to catch up with her on my final day in Napa after the 2009 Wine Blogger Conference.

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My friend Loweeel is a HUGE Corison fan (though he bemoans the fact that the Petite Sirah vines were removed from the property), so I’d heard much about the wines, but had only tasted the one Cabernet Sauvignon involved in the St. Helena media tasting. Thea, Ashley, & I arrived at Corison in the midst of bottling day, wow, what a busy place! And Cathy took time out of the madness to give us a tour of the facility and taste some wines with us.

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Cathy has been bottling wine under her own name for 24 years. She makes 2 Cabernet Sauvignons, a Gewurztraminer, and a little Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé for fun. Her winery sits on 8 acres of vineyards representing some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Napa Valley at between 36-37 years old.  This is the Kronos vineyard where the extremely small lot Kronos Cabernet comes from. The grapes for the rest of her wines are sourced from various vineyards Cathy had become familiar with over her years in Northern California. Cathy held the position of winemaker at several well-known Napa wineries from pretty much the day she left college and has been in the business in area for over 30 years now.

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2006 Corazón Gewurztraminer Anderson Valley: Spice, white pepper, lime, orange blossom, lychee, citrus.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé: Strawberry, lime, currants, dry, floral, bright red fruit, bone dry.

(The really fun part…a vertical of Kronos Cab!)

1996 Kronos Cabernet Sauvignon: Amazing nose, currant, blackberry, strawberry, herbs black cherry, red cherries, plums, raspberries, gorgeous structure and acidity.

1997 Kronos Cabernet Sauvignon: Raspberry cream, chocolate spice, tarts, leather, spice, cedar, raspberries, little black fruit, blueberry, violets, rose petals.

1998 Kronos Cabernet Sauvignon: A little funk, saddle leather, raspberry, spice, cream, anise, tannic, more blackberry, darker.

My favorite of these was the 1997, but they all seemed still so young with so much life left in them. I would love to go back and taste the 1997 in another 5 years or so.

2004 Kronos Cabernet Sauvingon: Pomegranate, red fruit, cranberry, red cherry, bright red fruit, spice, red berries, cinnamon, plums, little brown sugar.

2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Mint, eucalyptus, spice, spicy berries, red fruit, cinnamon, peppermint, pepper, blueberry, more fruit forward, tannins.

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Overall, I’d highly recommend a visit to Corison. The wines are pricey, but if you have the patience and a love of Cabernet Sauvignon, they are well worth your time and dollars to lay down in your cellar. Not to mention, go meet Cathy Corison…who after being up and running around the winery all day for bottling seemed to me to possess enough energy to go run a marathon. Plus, talk about someone with a passion for what she does!

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3 Responses

  1. I am really sorry I wasn’t on bus #4 at that point. She’ll always be the Rock Star in my cellar.

  2. I totally agree that Corison’s cabernets are outstanding even in a valley that produces hundreds of stellar wines. It doesn’t hurt that Cathy Corison also is one of the most down-to-earth, real people I’ve yet encountered in the wine business. No question that her Kronos cabs are among the best I’ve tasted. That was what I thought back in July, but this was confirmed at another tasting about a month ago. (Disclosure: My attendance at the July tasting was partly subsidized by wine industry organizations. My tasting last month was paid for entirely by me.)

  3. Here’s me mourning the dead PS vines from the Kronos vineyard.

    But I did score 3 bottles of her A Capella PS… and it’s FANTASTIC.

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