Just as the vines are thinking about flowering in vintage 2011, we are preparing and finishing the 2009 vintage reds for bottling. In wine you always are touching the past and the future simultaneously. It’s hard to think of an industry where your key focus for the month is something you’ve made two years before that you won’t sell for another whole year.
Perhaps this is part of the appeal of winemaking. The ability to be working in the past, present and future all at the same time is as enticing at the wines we make.
The seasonal cycles set our bottling season. Just after winter pruning it’s time to bottle the whites and rosé and ,as bud break flows into flowering, its time to bottle the red wines.
Our 2010 whites and rosé are already in the bottle and are just being released for sale this month. This includes the zesty Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Cuveé Musque and the dry, intensely aromatic Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé. New for us, and a wine we’re very excited about, is our Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Riesling. Our Riesling is dry as a bone with incredible floral and mineral aromatics and flavors.
Next into the bottle will be our 2009 Stepping Stone red wines: Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, but you’ll have to wait at least six months to taste those when they’re released this fall. For more immediate gratification we have something new for you: Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Rocks!. We have a red Rocks! and a white Rocks!, each are blends of different varieties that will change from year-to-year depending on what inspires us. The defining terms will be delicious and fun. The Rocks! wines are house wines for Cornerstone lovers.
In July, as the grapes are ripening in the warm Napa Valley sun, we will bottle our 2009 reserve selections: Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and our new benchmark wine, The Cornerstone, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, crafted to be a Napa Valley classic. Only 100 cases will be produced and it will be released in 2012 after a year of bottle aging.
There is another time element to this year’s vintage which ties us to an even older vintage, 1991, our inaugural vintage. As we approach our 20th harvest it is thrilling for us to be releasing innovative wine full of personality and the individuality that has always made Cornerstone one of the Napa Valley’s most dynamic wineries.
Starting next week we’ll be pouring our 2010 Stepping Stone whites and rosé in our Yountville tasting room. Please join us for some tastes of the past, the present and some hints of what the future holds: our wine time machine.