Friday, November 6, 2015

A Blend By Any Other Name Is A Cuvée

On the heels of Cornerstone Cellars new line of single-vineyard bottlings on their white label, comes a cuvée. Cuvée is really a fancy word - well, a French word - for a blend.

"Essentially all wines are cuvée blends to one degree or the other," writes Cornerstone Cellars managing partner Craig Camp. "Unless a wine comes from a single barrel or tank that passed from fermenter to bottle with no additions, all wines are are blends. They’re either blends of barrels or vineyards or varieties or all of the above."

After kicking off the White Label series of single-vineyard wines - to allow those sites to "sing in their own voice" - Camp explains that, "sometimes even the finest singers love to sing with others, finding a new harmony and complexity in blending the textures of their voices."

From that notion, Cornerstone Cellars' Michael’s Cuvée was born. Camp states the wine is "a selection from our finest vineyards and varieties, a unique expression of the best of each vintage brought together in a new and distinctive harmony." The wine is named for Cornerstone's founder Dr. Michael Dragutsky.

The 2012 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Michael’s Cuvée is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and nine percent Merlot. The grapes were taken from the Oakville Station Vineyard in To Kalon, Kairos Vineyard in Oak Knoll and Ink Grade Vineyard on Howell Mountain. The wine's alcohol tick 14.9% abv and less than 250 cases were made.

The '12 Michael's Cuvée offers an inky appearance and a beautiful set of aromas - blackberry, currant, pencil lead and a touch of violet. Expectations are high after one whiff. The sip delivers on the promise of the nose. Silky smooth and rich - and it's a young wine - it echoes the dark aromas and complexity of the nose. This wine, at $75, might be a luxury for you. Rest assured, you get that for which you pay. The wine is luxurious, the tannins are supple and the finish seems like forever.

Pair this wine with steaks - of course - beef stew and the roasted vegetables of the fall. I would not hesitate to place it on the Thanksgiving table. Be forewarned, your guests will expect you to have it next year, too.