Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stepping Stone By Cornerstone Red Rocks! 2010

Here’s an $18 wine - an unlikely three grape blend - that will turn your head for sure.  If the aromas alone don’t make you do a double take, the taste will.  It’s a big California wine, and it’s made of Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot.  Napa’s Cornerstone Cellars kindly provided a sample.

The full name is a bit of a mouthful - Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Red Rocks! - and it’s part of Cornerstone’s family of wines priced for everyday use.  The wines in the Rocks! line - both red and white - start with a blank page every vintage.  Varieties, vineyards and percentages are figured out each year after they’ve had a look at the lay of the land.

The Zinfandel is from Lake County, the Syrah is from Sonoma and the Merlot is Napa Carneros.  All three grapes play a role in this wine’s structure.  The alcohol number is 14.5% abv.

Credit the Zinfandel and Syrah for the bombastic nose.  It really has some huge aromas to throw around.  Zin spices and blackberry bramble stand out on the palate, while Syrah kicks in with a bit of sage and black pepper.  The Merlot is the glue that holds this wildness together.  Red Rocks! is a very dark wine and the tannins are firm but the sip is smooth.  This facet is doubled after lengthy breathing.  The second night open, the wine had settled down a bit but still presented itself strongly.

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