2010 Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
California: Napa Valley
One step at a time...
Today’s Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc is an entry-level offering from one of Napa Valley’s premier high-end Cabernet Sauvignon producers, Cornerstone Cellars. After a recent trip to their tasting room in Yountville in which we sampled a number of their wines, this was the one that we absolutely loved.
While a bit shy on first pour, this wine opens up *beautifully after given a chance to breathe. Very reminiscent of Bordeaux in flavor profile, with layers of grilled sweet plum and blackberry in balance with more earthy notes of sweet tobacco leaf and a fresh spring garden.
For lovers of Cab Franc, this is not one to miss.
A nearly opaque, dark crimson at the heart of the glass, allowing just a touch of light through the middle.
Classic Bordeaux on the nose, with dark fruit notes of sweet plum and blackberry, trailed by tobacco leaf, fresh spring garden, dark baking spices, and a touch of black peppercorn.
A wonderful blend of fruit and earth, with notes of grilled black plum, black cherry, and boysenberry mingling with espresso bean, sweet tobacco, a hint of a fresh garden, clove, anise, and slight dark spice.
While initially shy, this wine opens up beautifully after decanting, with a fantastic balance of tannin and structure.
Beef short ribs, braised in a hearty red wine with root vegetables, served atop golden mashed potatoes.
What the Winery Says
With perfectly balanced fragrant aromatics of red berry fruit, sweet basil and tobacco leaf that are both alluring and complex, combined with well structured, fine grained, suave tannins, this wine has the right amount of ripe, integrated acidity which gives a lovely inner-mouth energy producing a very tactile, elegant wine with a velvety persistence.
90 Point Review - Wine Enthusiast (Previous Vintage) This is a lushly attractive wine for drinking now. It has pretty flavors of tart red cherries, accented with smoky oak, and brightened with crisp acidity. The dryness and smooth tannins add to this polished Cabernet Franc.
- Jeff Keene
- 90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
- Napa Valley, California
- Fruit Variety
- 95% Cabernet Franc , 5% Merlot
- 18 months in new French oak
About the Winery
There is no finer place in the world to grow cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot than the Napa Valley. It is an honor to be able to craft wine from such outstanding fruit and our responsibility to make each wine to the very best of our ability. We make pinot and chardonnay in Oregon because we think it is a world class place to grow those varieties that the Napa Valley is not. It’s more important where the vines put down roots than where the winemakers do.
We make wine that we believe in, we make wines we love to drink. We believe that what makes a great wine does not change. Our wines all express our vision of the 3 V’s: vineyard, vintage and variety.
Winemaker Kari Auringer
We recruited Kari Auringer to join us as our Napa Valley winemaker because we knew she shared our vision of balanced wines, driven by acidity and freshness. Kari’s passion for the great wines of the world kindled her desire to be a winemaker and lured her from Chicago and a career in graphic design to the Napa Valley. She began working with some of California’s great winemakers and also earned a degree in enology.
Kari describes herself as a hands-on winemaker and gladly immerses herself in all aspects of the winemaking process from vineyard to bottle. Her style is one that embraces routinely rolling up her sleeves and staying intimately involved with every step of the intricate process, from vineyard sourcing and hands-on berry sorting through the countless details of winemaking, sensory analysis and the infinitely nuanced art and science of blending. If you don’t find her tasting barrel samples in the winery, she is probably out in the vineyard.
When Kari became winemaker for Cornerstone Cellars she was, in fact, coming home, as for most of the vintages of the 2000s Kari was assistant winemaker to Celia Welch, who made the wines of Cornerstone Cellars from 2000 through 2007. Kari’s fingerprint is already on almost a decade of Cornerstone Cellars wines. Over the last decade she has contributed to the fame of some of the Napa Valley’s most luminous names including Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Keever, Kelly Fleming and Corra. Kari has been singled out as a rising star in Napa Valley winemaking and believes her success is a combination of dedication, hard work, talent and working with great people.
Kari puts it best when she says; “We are committed to producing great wines from great vineyards, and making the kind of wines that we want to drink, wines that are a reflection of the vineyard, the vintage and the variety.”