Run and Get It. Now.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

No, seriously, why are you still reading instead of going to go get some of this wine? Perhaps the humidity is on my brain, but I can’t think of anything better to drink the DC swamp than the 2013 Cornerstone Corallina Rose of Syrah. In fact, I did just so yesterday. Twice. Once at Rhone Rangers and then a bottle over dinner last night. The Corallina retails for $25 and sports a screw cap.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It has acid, structure, and great fruit.

2.) 90 degrees and humid yesterday. Chilled down and drinking it on the porch, I could almost forget about the weather.

3.) I love a Rose of Syrah as the Syrah tends to lend body to the wine.

4.) For all the Rose naysayers, try this and you will be a convert.

On the nose I found strawberry, raspberry, cherry, stone fruit, and lime. The palate reflected the nose perfectly. The racy acidity balanced nicely with just a hint of a fuller note on the finish.

 

 

Rock This Way

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Winery.

While our weather has turned unseasonably cool in DC for August, I’m still digging white wines. The summer screams white wine and bubbles to me and we’ve been drinking plenty of both lately. I played roulette in the basement and hit upon the 2012 Stepping Stone White Rocks from Cornerstone Cellars to taste.  The wine has a screw cap closure, clocks in at 14.1% alcohol by volume, and retails for $18 a bottle.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Drink with heat. Which we generally have plenty of in the DC area.

2.) I love the Stepping Stone line from Cornerstone for the price points and the experimentation.

3.) My favorite is the Cabernet Franc.

4.) If I weren’t sipping the White Rocks on my front porch, I’d pair it with my cheese course or a light grilled white fish.

2012 Stepping Stone White Rocks from Cornerstone

On the nose I found floral and lime notes, other citrus, wet stones, orange blossoms, and white pepper.  In the mouth I got citrus, lemon, lime, more citrus, and lots of citrus.  Overall I’d call the wine zippy, bright, fruity and fun.  (Somewhere I have misplaced my camera card and the photos of this bottle with it…)

 

 

Impressions from the 2013 Wine Blogger Conference

Back from my 5th Wine Blogger Conference, held this year in Pentiction, BC, I find myself again inclined to ruminate on what I learned, saw, drank, ate, etc., while spending 4 days in a new-to-me wine region.  Simply because I am tired of repeating myself, please see, in particular, #s 4, 8, and 10 from last’s year’s retrospective on the conference.  Those items still stand for me as takeaways from this conference. And every other WBC I’ve attended.  Despite some of those complaints (and positives), I will be back to attend the 7th annual WBC in Santa Barbara next July.

1.) I no longer look like my picture. After 6 years, this is the first time not a soul made that comment to me. So either I’ve changed quite a bit (possible since I have brown curly hair now…) and I need to update my photo or I’m simply not as present on social media as I used to be. My best guess is a combination of the two. I vow to be better about both things, updating the photo and being more active on Twitter.

View from Summerhill Winery

2.) We could not have asked for a more picturesque place to hold the conference. The Okanagan Valley is simply stunning. Not to mention, the weather cooperated beautifully and the days were sunny, breezy and delightful. I stayed in two locations while in the area, Kelowna and Pentiction. While I can’t choose a favorite, each had its strengths. I’d highly recommend the Manteo Resort in Kelowna for families. I stayed in  a “villa” on the property (basically a townhouse) that had a full living area, separate full kitchen, laundry facilities, 2.5 baths, and 2 bedrooms. The resort offered water sports, pools, playgrounds, a fantastic restaurant, and proximity to many vineyards. At Penticton Lake Resort, I’d think singles or couples would find it more appealing. While still offering water sports, a pool, and proximity to vineyards, it had multiple restaurants, bars, a club, a casino, and more typical hotel style rooms. Both beautiful properties, I’d happily return to either.

3.) That said, a major bummer of the conference turned out to be the inability to bring wine home and being unable to get the wines in the States. You pretty much have to go to BC to taste and drink BC wines. I took home the legal number of bottles (without having to pay extra duty, that’s 2) so I’m pleased to have two (plus 2 others I paid duty on) of my favorites to taste with Mr. Wannabe Wino, I’m disappointed to not be able to get anything else I tasted.

Bee-keeping at Tantalus Vineyards

4.) If you make it to the area, check out Tantalus Vineyards. Hands down my favorite stop of the trip, both for the food, the wine, and the experience. I have a nifty video of the bee keeping demonstration we were treated to ready to post when I figure out how to do so. Two of the wines I brought home, I purchased at Tantalus, including an interesting sparkling brut riesling.

5.) The smaller nature of this year’s conference truly appealed to me. It reminded me more of the first 2 years of the conference. I had time to talk to people. We had many events together. It was more intimate. I made new friends this year. I fully understand the conference is a business, however, at the end of the day, it needs to remain appealing and useful to those who attend. When attendance is almost double what it was this year, that gets lost.

6.) Wines of Uruguay! Wines of Uruguay! Wines of Uruguay! Get them any way you can. Even if you have to mud wrestle an Uruguayan for them since they drink most of the wine they produce. Especially the Albariño from Bouza. Stunning wine.

7.) The conference was over-scheduled. Again, I understand that this is a money-making venture. I also understand that I am in no way obligated to attend every event. However, having scheduled events running until 11 pm every night is just too much. Some people actually want to go to bed earlier than that and may miss out on something they’d really like to attend simply by virtue of the fact that they don’t want to be exhausted for the next day of the conference. This particularly struck me on Friday, when we went on our excursion and then were bused immediately to an event over an hour from the hotel with no option to return to the hotel without attending, then had to await buses to take us back. I was wet (more on this later), exhausted, and wanted to leave, but didn’t end up being able to get on a bus home until 10:30 and didn’t arrive back to the hotel until almost midnight. The event the next morning started at 7:15. That’s not enough sleep.

8.) Since I’m recommending wines, here’s one from another region that caught my attention: the 2010 Kacaba Reserve Cabernet Franc.  If you ever get to the Niagra wine region, you should most definitely look Kacaba up. Worth it alone for the Cabernet Franc.

Brodo Kitchen’s chef makes us eggs in the park

9.) A small list of places to eat for sure if you make it to either Kelowna or Penticton: Waterfront Wines (holy cow can that man make a gourmet waffle and poach an egg), Smack Dab (the focus on local beers, with at least 15 on tap, totally won me over), Brodo Kitchen (in Penticton, no website, but they had fresh strawberry juice that rocked my socks), The Cupcake Lady Cafe (don’t be fooled by the name, the breakfast crepes were drool-worthy), The White Apron (fresh made ham and cheese croissants, think pain au chocolat but with ham and cheese), and Hooded Merganser (duck breast poutine, need I say more?).

10.) Go visit Craig Camp at Cornerstone Cellars. I know I’ve said it before, but he’s sincerely one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of associating with, and his wines are damn good.

In the Willamette

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Harkening back to our trip to Oregon this summer, Mr. Wannabe Wino and I popped the cork on the 2010 Cornerstone Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to get to Cornerstone and connect with Craig Camp you are totally missing out. Especially if you haven’t stopped by their tasting room to do a tasting paired with local cheeses. The 2010 Pinot Noir has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $50 a bottle.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I would pay $50 for this wine, no questions asked.

2.) Expanding their OR offerings would make me love Cornerstone even more.

3.) My notes for this wine say “Excellent.” I couldn’t describe it better.

4.) If you like dusty earth, dried violets and cherries, and baking cocoa in your Pinot, this one is for you.

On the nose I got spice, pepper, herbs, cedar, smoke, berries, dried cherries, dried violets, dusty earth, and dried raspberries on the nose. As the wine opened in my glass I kept diving back in and finding more good things to smell. The palate echoed the nose with cocoa notes, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and herbs. All the fruits tasted a bit dried to me and very concentrated.  Overall the wine had excellent acidity and long finish. A very complex and well done wine for the price point, that over-delivered.

 

 

 

Sipping Sauvignon Blanc

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Snow? Cold? Rain? Gray fog? Nothing says Sauvignon Blanc like that kind of weather, right? Well, I often like to pretend it’s summer or spring when we’re in the dead of winter. Plus, the overgrown rodent in PA says it will be an early spring.  Cheers to hoping it’s right.  We opened up the 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to go with a quiche Lorraine the other day.  The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.1 percent alcohol by volume, and retails for $25.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It had me dreaming of heat waves, so it served that purpose.

2.) You can’t see me but I’m making that motion with my fingers to my lips and saying “perfecto” about the pairing with the quiche Lorraine.

3.) I’ll take a bottle for the first 90 degree day of the year.

4.) I’d also drink this with grilled white fish, fondue, pasta with cream sauces, on it’s own on a tropical beach somewhere…

On the nose I found lime, lemon, white peach, grapefruit, and pear. I could smell the acidity and it made my mouth water.  In the mouth I got grapefruit, white peach, lemon, and pear.  Tart and refreshing, my final note on the wine (twice, that is) is “yummy.”

 

 

2009 Cornerstone Oregon Pinot Noir

Final round of speed dating brings us the 2009 Cornerstone Oregon Pinot Noir. This is a wine I’m very very familiar with. In fact, I drank it earlier today, on Thursday night, and last week I think.  It has a beautiful spicy nose with chocolate, roses, violets, red cherries, black raspberries, and white pepper. In the mouth it’s all about black cherry, black raspberry, spice, acidity, and tannins on the finish.

I always serve this with salmon, but it would also be wonderful with the bacon roasted chicken I make.

Stepping Up to Rose

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars.

Today turned out to be a gorgeous day in the nation’s capital, so it seemed a perfect time to bust out some Rose. I plucked the 2010 Cornerstone Stepping Stone Corallina Rose from it’s resting place in the basement to join us on the back porch for some afternoon sipping. The Corallina Rose retails for $18, has a real cork closure, clocks in at 13.9% alcohol by volume, and is made from 100% Syrah.

1.) If you like your Rose with acid to spare, this one is for you.

2.) The palate mimicked the nose perfectly in this wine.

3.) The Stepping Stone line from Cornerstone is pumping out some great wines, my fav is the Cabernet Franc.

4.) We just stopped by Cornerstone on our latest Napa trip, look for that post soon.

On the nose and in the mouth I got lime, raspberry, cherry, strawberry and spice. The red fruits smelled delicious coupled with the racy acidity on this Rose. Pair with BBQ this summer for a great treat.

 

Riesling from Napa

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

I know what you are thinking. Napa? Riesling? Really? Yes really, and it’s good.  I can’t say that I’ve had a lot of Riesling from Napa.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever previously had any.  The 2010 Cornerstone Stepping Stone Riesling registers at 13.5% alcohol by volume content, has a real cork closure, and retails for $18.  I seem to have misplaced my photos for this bottle.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) A warmer climate riesling, the tropical fruits stood out for me in this offering.

2.) Don’t serve this wine too cold, it will mute the flavors.

3.) I’m universally impressed with the new line of offerings from Cornerstone Cellars.

4.) I would recommend this wine as a great value from Napa.

On the nose I found lemon, stone, honeysuckle, star fruit, and floral notes.  In the mouth I got lemon rind, pineapple, spice, honeysuckle, white flowers, perfume, and wet stone. Overall I found the wine to be tropical without being sweet.

 

 

 

Sitting in the Corner

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Cornerstone Cellars

We actually got some snow the other day/night in VA. In October.  That is pretty much unheard of for this area of the country.  The snow turned my thoughts to the big red wines that have been patiently waiting in my cellar all summer for me to drink them. I decided it was the perfect time to crack open the 2007 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for $60.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s still a baby. But some time the decanter cures that easily.

2.) If you’re thinking about serving something along the lines of beef tenderloin for any of your holiday meals, this is the wine for you.

3.) Cornerstone Cabs have been among my favorites since I first tasted them…many moons ago now!

4.) If big, black fruit and hints of pepper are what you look for in a Cab, you will love this wine.

On the nose I got berries, chocolate, earth, pepper, herbs, and black cherry. In the mouth I found more black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, blueberry, and anise.  The wine was quite tight at first, with tannins to spare. I ran it through my Soiree which definitely helped open it up, but I think a few hours in the decanter before serving would really do the trick for this wine. I served it with NY Strip steaks on the grill, and as always, this Cab is plenty big and firm to marry nicely with the steak.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,174 other followers