Monday, June 13, 2011


Stepping Stone Napa Riesling

Napa Valley’s Cornerstone Cellars is known for their high-end Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  These are wines mainly destined for the cellar, to be aged and enjoyed at some future date.  We all want a wine to drink right now, though - with dinner tonight - and to that end, Cornerstone produces a line of everyday wines, made and priced to be enjoyed as soon you get them home.  They carry the Stepping Stone label.

Cornerstone was kind enough to provide me with three of their Stepping Stone wines for review, two whites and a rosé.  The trio retail for $18 each.  Stepping Stone also offers a Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Today we'll find out about the Stepping Stone Napa Valley Riesling.

Winemaker Jeff Keene has done a great job with this Riesling, made the Alsatian style.  The wine carries an alcohol level of 13.5% abv and has a pale, straw color.

The Stepping Stone Riesling's nose is simply beautiful.  Soft aromas of flowers and honeydew are met with an equally soft sense of minerals for a bouquet with all the sharp edges removed.  So gentle are the aromas I was somewhat surprised to find that the wine is fermented and aged completely in stainless steel.  Despite the label designation, the grapes actually come from the cool-climate Carneros AVA.

The palate shows lovely citrus flavors - lime and some orange zest - and a fine minerality that rides on an acidity which would be just fine with a piece of fish, crackers and a soft cheese or even a handful of walnuts.  It's a dry, crisp expression of Riesling and the finish is of medium length and really lets the acidity shine.

We'll cover the Stepping Stone Sauvignon Blanc Cuvée Musqué and their dry rosé  tomorrow and next week on Now And Zin.

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