Cornerstone Cellars typically blends their Bordeaux grape varieties - it’s what you do with Bordeaux grape varieties. But it was not so with the 2012 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Black Label Cabernet Franc. It's a 100% varietal wine. Cornerstone’s managing partner, Craig Camp, writes, "We did not plan it that way, but the wine insisted and it's our job to listen to what the wine has to say, not tell it what to do."
Camp continues, "Blending trial after blending trial ended up the same way with the unblended Cabernet Franc being the winner. There was simply nothing this Cabernet Franc needed, so we decided to do exactly that - nothing.
"While this wine is one hundred percent Cabernet Franc, it's still a blend as we have combined fruit from three exceptional vineyards for our Black Label Cabernet Franc and each of them adds something special: Our Oakville Station Vineyard in To Kalon adds depth, power and a velvety texture; the Talcott Vineyard in St. Helena gives structure and richness; the Carrefour Vineyard in Coombsville brings lift, freshness and classic Cabernet Franc aromatics."
Aging took place over 18 months in French oak barrels, half of which were new. 933 cases of this wine were produced, and it hits 14.7% abv. The retail price is $45.
The '12 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone Napa Valley Black Label Cabernet Franc is inky dark and big on the blueberry aromas. Cinnamon and nutmeg add a festive note. The palate shows a decidedly savory aspect of the dark fruit. Minerals, earth and black olive notes add complexity and provide a great backdrop for that bold fruit display. The wine also has great tannic structure and a freshness that's a joy to find in a red wine.
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