Archive for July, 2011

Five from Stepping Stone

We’ve enjoyed pretty much everything that our friends at Cornerstone Cellars in Napa Valley have sent us to sample over the past few years, from both their flagship Cornerstone label and their second, Stepping Stone. Recently, we took possession of five of the current Stepping Stone offerings, and tried them over a series of evenings. We mostly liked what we tasted, but did find one selection excessively ripe for our tastes. Read on for our detailed impressions.

2010 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Cuveé Musque, 13.5% alc., $18.00/bottle: Clean, medium color, with textbook clonal character and a subtle creaminess lurking quietly in the background that might give the mistaken impression that it saw some oak. Medium bodied, with flavors and aromas reminiscent of grapefruit, pine, lime and a hint of grassiness; medium-to-medium full bodied, with good cut and length. Pairs nicely with grilled salmon and red snapper. Sourced from a vineyard in St. Helena; underwent an extremely cool, gradual fermentation in stainless steel. “The Sauvignon Blanc Musque clone is responsible for some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs in California. Used by many wineries as a blending component, a few wineries (Stepping Stone by Cornerstone being one) are now using the Musque clone as if it were a distinct grape variety: Sauvignon Musque.” – Cornerstone Cellars Find this wine
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QPR Wines of Distinction

The sample boxes from our distributors were backing up at the retail operation in which I was, until recently, gainfully employed, so we divvied up the take and went our separate ways to taste and report back. Happily, the six I took home are all from our good friends at Wines of Distinction/J&J Importers and J et R Selections, and better yet, most were new vintages of old friends from producers that we’ve enjoyed over the years. They were tasted one by one, over a period of several evenings, and here are the notes that I shared with my colleagues.

2009 Sacchetto Ca’ Berto Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, 12% alc., $8.99: Clean, medium color, with nice intensity of flavor and pure varietal character; medium bodied, with very well balanced acids and good length. This is a Pinot Grigio I could drink on a regular basis during the warmer months, and I can’t say that about that many that I’ve had. Find this wine

We’ve enjoyed the wines of Domaine du Pellehaut Côtes de Gascogne in the past; they offer great value for relatively little money, and these two follow the lead of those previous vintages.

2009 Domaine du Pellehaut Côtes de Gascogne Harmonie de Gascone Blanc, 12% alc., $8.99: Clean, medium color, with straightforward green apple and grapefruit flavors and aromas, underscored with some subtle minerality. Medium-to-medium-full bodied, with good acids and length; fairly rich and flavorful, very food friendly and a fine choice for an everyday white. Not flashy, just good, and that’s fine by me. Find this wine

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Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s July 9 Release – Tasting Notes

It’s that time of the year again when the LCBO boffins come out full tilt with the critically acclaimed big boys, otherwise known as the “Top Marks 90+ Wines”. Vintages has assembled a few liquid treats from around the wine world that have been blessed and highly touted by some of the most influential wine gurus, applying a score of 90 points or more. Some are worth their high degree of hype and some are clearly not!

Do you like Sauvignon Blanc? Good, I do too and there are a couple I particularly enjoyed, so best read on.


927582 KILIKANOON PRODIGAL GRENACHE 2007 Clare Valley, South Australia $29.95
One of two excellent Grenache wines from down under, this one spending time in both French and American oak, flaunting aromas of chocolate, black fruit, mineral, slate and lavender. Its palate is ripe, but balanced, showing layers of blackberry and currant, some Asian spice flavours and perfect acidity to complement the fruit. Find this wine
Jay Miller,, 90 points
Yours truly, 91 points
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