Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain & Napa Valley Cab - 2 Pack
$59.99 + $7.00 shipping
1 2004 Howell Mountain Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon
1 2005 Napa Valley Cornerstone Cabernet Sauvignon
CT links above
Are these ready to drink, or should they be aged for a bit? Was it a good year?
Must be good if it’s $30 a bottle!
Looks like pretty big discount from winery “retail,” a little over 50% off. Guess these folks have some wine to move! $30 per bottle seems reasonable if these are well-made considering cost and yields of mountain fruit.
The big question: style. Could use some TA, pH, and Brix data for one, and some commentary from the winery on what their intent was as well. The descriptions suggest a bit of a cherry-berry milkshake play here which isn’t really my game.
I think the 2004 is a $60+ bottle if purchased by itself, 2005 was a great year for Napa in general so that bottle should be very good as well. I am all over this deal.
You’d be surprised at what get passed off as “good $30 wine” sometimes . . . .
Not a comment on this wine, just in general. Price usually has more to do with marketing and producer expectations than intrinsic quality. Thus far I’ve only found one absolute: great wine isn’t cheap and cheap wine isn’t great. Pretty much every other option under the sun is possible. Delicious cheap wine. Undrinkable expensive wine. Amazing $20 bottles. Remarkably boring/average $40 bottles. Usually paying more gets you more, but not always and marginal returns are always diminishing at higher prices.
I tried a Howell Mountain cab last year and it had a very minerally taste from my experience if you’re into that.
Very true, but isn’t that the case for most anything we shop for? Designer jeans, Monster cables, etc.
The solution - do your homework. Of course, it’s a little harder with wine, since everyone’s tastes differ. Try to seek out regular reviewers whose tastes match your own.
Here are some reviews:
2004 Howell Mountain Cab
2005 Napa Valley Cab
Will have to make some room for these… such a sucker for Napa Cabernet. My gf is going to give me the ‘you have a problem’ talk again but I’m sure she will happily drink these with me. Looks like mostly positive reviews and some even mention one of these goes for $100 @ the winery.
You think he hasn’t tried? NG, do your homework too… on gcdyersb if you’re going to give him such advice ! Not many people have quite the extgensive wine market knowledge, tasting experience, or obsession for Cabernet franc that has gcdyersb!
Given the nearly 15% (and possibly more in reality) alcohol, and from teading the notes, and looking at the cedar, dark plum, and “eat with steak” etc kind of descriptions, it seems these wines are quite extracted, “jammy” wines but if they have enough balancing acid these wines could be structured, keepable wines (if not longterm keepable like a traditionally-made old-fashioned wine). One reviewer explicitly says they do. But can we have some pH or other acid data, anyone?
I’m also wondering what the tannins are like. Round and smooth and mouth-drying like the (long-macerated) ones from Pine Ridge, or stronger and more kicking tannins, with more fruit instead… I suspect the former, but anyone have any experience here?
oh, just saw this… yes, absolutely! EDIT: the frontprage description uses the word “ripe”. I’m sure WD and his monkeys are very careful in their use of the word… so yes it’s probasbly riipe.
The CT reviews (see Cesare’s first post, top) are for once particularly enlightening: eg for the 04 Howell:
" NPWolfe on 7/17/2010: Fedric Koeppel, in his July 3rd entry on his Bigger Than Your Head blog, went all Alice-Feiring-nuclear on the “international style” of cabernet. To wit, “I’m so tired of this crapola. I just want to pour out these damned wines. I’m tired of interchangeable cabernet-based wines that could have been made in Napa or Sonoma, Tuscany or Peidmont, Barossa or Coonawara, Rapel or Mendoza or Walla Walla because they all look and smell and taste and feel the same. Lord, I’m so weary of carefull-calibrated, committe-made cabernets that the toe the line of all the popular, 95-point conventions and cliches.”
Cornerstone is pretty much one of “those” cabernets. Served just above cellar temperature. Slight bottle stink. Slight sour taste that disappeared with about 30 minutes of decanting. Fair amount of sediment. Blackish red color. Blackberry jam and vanilla nose. Thick on the palate with jammy flavors, vanilla, oak, and tannins. Soft finish. Worked well with steak and potatoes. Even though I share Koeppel’s sentiment, I did still find this to be an enjoyable bottle of wine. "
Almost certainly are extracted wich rpm will hate. Still, if it’s an extracted blackberry-boysenberry but with tannins and enough acid play I’ll definitely give it a shot, as I’m still to get my tongue around all the flavour possibilities of the CA cabs; and it’s $25 which is cheap for a napa in anyone’s book. Just let’s find some acid data!
Caton-lovers, do you think you’ll like this?
Somebody on the rpm tour wwas telling us about the differences between the terroir-infused styles of Mt Howell and Mt Veeder wines and also among the other mountainous appellation styles, but I didn’t manage to take that down in my notes. Of course, this may be a style which doesn’t really show off the f=vineyard and terroir flavours…
Nonetheless, I’ve found an excellent website which might help instead explain the 13 Napa sub-appellations and their typical characteristics, for those wanting to know how these will taste:
EDIT: A shorter one about the mountain Napa AVAS:
These wines certainly appear to be shooting for the international style and should appeal to those who prefer immediately drinkable expensive Cabernet. Ah! Youth!
Although they’ve stuck with their “13 appellations” branding (not wanting to redevelop their website? 14 redirects to the same site), note that there are now 14 appellations, with at least one more pending (and expecting to receive) approval.
On a side note, I picked up some of their 2005 14 Appellations meritage on sale last year and man, that was some good stuff.
I bought 6 bottles of the 2004 Howell Mountain on Wine Access earlier this year for $35.99 each plus free shipping. The wife and I opened one and decanted for about 2 hours - we really liked it but my meager notes only mention that it needs to be cellared for a few years. If I didn’t have 5 still in the cellar I would buy again but alas too many cabs right now, One other note - we were recently at Cru wine bar in North Dallas and the 2004 Howell mountain was $175 on their menu - unbelieveable!!
UPDATE - I did find a few more of my notes on th 04 - dark inky black with hints of leather, spice and plum. A bit of alcohol heat. Wine came together more and more as time went by.
If memory serves, I think it was at Beuna Vista. I got some Howell Mountain, and I think we tasted some Mt. Veeder after the most excellent upstairs tasting.
Side note: I got side-tracked yesterday on the Monday offering…how do I order that today?
2004 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
$75.00 / Bottle
2005 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
That’s the price the website is showing. Is that accurate? If so, Then this is one great deal!!