Of the brilliant 2007 vintage in Napa Valley, it has been said that if you can’t make great wine in a year like that, you never will. And so it was with great anticipation that we took possession of two review samples of ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon from Cornerstone Cellars, a producer for whom we gain increasing respect for every time we try their wares. (You can read about previous encounters of the favorable kind here, here and here.)
We gave these two puppies a little over a week to settle down from their cross-country, journey, then invited our ITB friend Rebecca Poling over to see what they are all about. We paired them with all things grilled – lamb, potatoes and veggies – along with some richly caramelized onions and Kim’s freshly baked bread. Here are our impressions.
2007 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alc., $60: Clean, dark color, with a pretty nose of rich cassis, blackberry and black cherry; Rebecca adds an impression of chocolate covered blueberry cordial. Flavors generally echo on a full bodied, well-structured frame, but Ms. Poling commented on some grainy tannins, a slightly chalky mouth feel and drying tannins on the finish. While they are present, I found these qualities to present only a minor drawback, and I expect that this will age into a lovely Napa Cabernet with several years in the bottle. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, blended from three Napa Valley AVA’s: 33% Howell Mountain (Ink Grade Block), 33% Oakville (Davis Block, Casanova Vineyards) and southern Napa County (Hardman Road). Each vineyard was harvested in late September and early October in perfect conditions. All lots were hand sorted and fermented separately. After a three day cold soak, tanks were inoculated with selected yeasts. Extended skin contact in the fermenter helped round out the tannins, with alcoholic fermentation taking about ten days and skin contact lasting up to fifteen days. Aged for 21 months in French Oak Barrels, 75% new. Find this wine
2007 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.9% alc., $75: Showing clean dark color, and giving even more expressive aromatics than the Napa bottling; rich, ripe and beautifully intense, with flavors and aromas of well-integrated oak, cassis, blackberry and black cherry shaded with a subtle chocolate overlay and hints of earth underneath. Full bodied, well-structured, silky, elegant and refined, this is classic Napa Cabernet in the best sense of the term. I could drink this one on a regular basis, now and for many years to come. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the east-facing slopes of Ink Grade Block, Howell Mountain, at 1800 to 2000 feet, where volcanic soils create great growing conditions. Harvested in late September in perfect conditions. All lots were hand sorted and fermented separately. After a three day cold soak, tanks were inoculated with selected yeasts. Extended skin contact in the fermenter helped round out the tannins, with alcoholic fermentation taking about ten days and skin contact lasting up to fifteen days. The wine was aged for 21 months in French Oak Barrels, 75% new. Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,