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Cornerstone 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain)

January 8, 2012:  Yesterday, I took a wine tasting course for the volunteers over at White Crane Winery in Livermore.  Although I’ve been drinking wine for a number of years and had also been taught what to look for at previous tastings, I did learn a lot.  More on that in another post.

In order to give my UC Davis Aroma Wheel a spin, I stopped by the Wine Thieves in Lafayette tonight and picked up a 375 ml. of the Cornerstone 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain (Napa).

January 9, 2012: I had neither “Soiree’d nor decanted the wine last night.  At first sip, after breathing for over an hour, it was still tighter than an infant’s grasp on a man’s beard.  However, my initial impressions were of chocolate and vanilla.

Tonight it is much looser, the flavors more approachable.

The color is a beautiful deep garnet, with a tiny clear rim.  The fingers appear slowly, and travel even more slowly down the glass wall.

The chocolate (cocoa?) aroma is still present, along with an appealing tobacco — a vanilla cigar?  I had a pepper steak earlier this evening, so, not surprisingly, I’m detecting a faint whiff of spice or pepper on the nose.

The initial impression is gradual, and slightly fruity (red fruits, raspberry), slightly floral.  The feel is the beginning of a small wave, an eddy caused by a boat’s wake.  The peak is pleasant, no overly exuberant tannins, and the taste rounds out with a balanced, elegant finish.

I’d drifted away from bordeaux a few years ago due to over-muscular tannins, and had begun exploring more fruit-forward or earthy varietals, specifically GSM blends, malbecs and mourvedres.  This wine is the beautiful denouement to the drama.

According to Cornerstone’s site, over two-thirds of the Howell Mountain vineyard fruit is certified organic, and the winery is striving to increase that number.  While the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is virtually gone, after my tasting this evening, this winery is definitely on my watch list for the years to come.


About Helene Kremer

San Francisco East Bay

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