Cornerstone and Stepping Stone Cellars

Owner(s) Craig Camp, John Carrier, Michael Dragutsky, Jeff Keene, Hal Lewis
Web site www.cornerstonecellars.com
 
Link to this site
Cornerstone and Stepping Stone Cellars

Napa's Craig Camp has enlisted noted Oregon winemaker Tony Rynders to produce Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley beginning with the 2008 vintage. Production in 2008 was a minuscule 50 cases of Pinot Noir, increasing to 200 cases of Pinot Noir in 2009 and 800 cases of Pinot Noir and 200 cases of Chardonnay in 2010. The wine will be produced and bottled just outside of Gaston, Oregon where Rynders also makes his own wine under the Tendril label. Camp is using his contacts from time spent in Oregon to acquire top-notch vineyard contracts.

Camp, who was the president at Annie Amie Winery, developed a passion for Pinot Noir more than 30 years ago when he began importing the Burgundy selections of Becky Wasserman and made frequent trips to the Burgundy estates she was representing.

Tasting is available in Yountville at 6505 Washington St. (707-945-0388).

Reviewed Wines

2012 Cornerstone Stepping Stone Cuvée Artist Series Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 500 cases, $30. Label features “Color of Life” painting by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from several vineyards in multiple appellations. Clones are Pommard, 115, 777 and Wädenswil. Aged 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 18% new. Intended to be drunk “young and cool.” · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Highly fragrant initially with aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and dried rose petal. As warming occurred over time in the glass, fruity aromas were displaced by notes of forest floor and garden bouquet. The satisfying mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits was backed by firm, but tucked in tannins. The cherry-driven finish was very dry and appealing. Best enjoyed with a slight chill. Score: 89. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Cornerstone Willamette Valley White Label Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 300 cases, $40, screwcap. Sourced from Carabella Vineyard (Chehalem Mountains), and Gran Moraine and Willakia (Yamhill-Carlton). Dijon clones 76 and 95. Barrel fermented in French oak for 15 months, and 100% malolactic fermentation. · Moderately light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of white-fleshed fruits, mango and a hint of gardenia. Bright, crisp and clean on the palate, with tasty flavors of lemon cake, pear, and apple backed by sound acidity. A note of mineral-driven flint and salinity is evident. Very easy to like, with appealing roundness. An excellent food wine. A good example of how far Oregon has come in producing world-class Chardonnay. Score: 91. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Cornerstone Willamette Valley White Label Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 1,500 cases, $50. Sourced from multiple vineyards in several appellations. Clones are Pommard, 115, 777, 114 and Wädenswil. Aged 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, 56% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal inviting aromas of raspberry jam and cherry cobbler. Juicy, vibrant and beauty of flavor, offering middleweight tastes of black cherry and black raspberry with a pleasing touch of spice. Impressive grip and personality and highly enjoyable now, but with the tannic backbone to age. A very long and expansive finish seals the deal. Score: 93. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »

2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Unreleased. Five vineyard sources. Vinified by Tony Rynders. · Pleasingly fruity on the nose, featuring red and blue fruits on the palate with a good grip of spice. Plenty to like here because of the wine’s appealing finesse, balance, and length of finish. A classic cool climate Pinot Noir. Very good. Reviewed August 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 137 cases, $30. The painting on the label is “Color of Life” by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from all six Willamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority from Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. Aged 13 months in 35% new French oak. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries and toasty oak. Mid weight core of dark cherry fruit becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with mild tannins and some length on the earthy, fruit-driven finish. A straightforward, accessible wine showing a tad more oak than I prefer but otherwise solid. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 137 cases, $30. The painting on the label is “Color of Life” by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from all six Willamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority from Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. Aged 13 months in 35% new French oak. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries and toasty oak. Mid weight core of dark cherry fruit becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with mild tannins and some length on the earthy, fruit-driven finish. A straightforward, accessible wine showing a tad more oak than I prefer but otherwise solid. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc.,166 cases, $35. 50% Yamhill-Carlton and 50% Chehalem Mountains. Aged in 24% new French oak for 16 months sur lies. 80% malolactic fermentation. · Light straw color in the glass. Enticing aromas of peach, butter pecan and toasty oak becoming more intense over time in the glass. Flavors of white peach, baked pear, grilled lemon and toffee are broad in the mouth and nicely supported by well-integrated acidity. The finish is dry and refreshing. A polished, very well crafted wine. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 498 cases, $50. Sourced from all six Williamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority (68%) from the Yamhill-Carlton District. Aged 15 months in 62% new French oak. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherries and dark berry compote with a hint of smoky oak. Not as expressive as it will be with more bottle age, yet showing enticing flavors of dark cherries and raspberries pulled into line with fine acidity and tannin. Finishes dry with a flourish of cherries. Nicely composed and balanced and a worthy cellar candidate. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 400 cases, $50. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of black cherries and spice. Delicious medium weighted flavors of blueberries, black cherries and black raspberries with an emphasis on cherry. Riffs of cola and spice add interest. Juicy with restrained, dusty tannins, well-honed acidity and the slightest complimentary oak in the background. The flavors are ahead of the aromas at this stage. A beautiful wine that shows impeccable balance for the cellar but can be thoroughly enjoyed now. An All-American for 2012. Reviewed January 12, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Cornerstone Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 50 cases, $45. 50% Eola Hills AVA and 50% Yamhill-Carlton District AVA. 75% Pommard clone and 25% Dijon 115 clone. Aged 15 months in 50% new and 50% 1-yearold French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of dark berry jam, spice and roseate potpourri. Delicious essence of darker berry and stone fruits with a note of anise, oak spice and loamy earth. Still has some tannin to shed and isn’t offering all the charm it will in another year or two. Doesn’t yet capture your full attention, but definitely gets a nod. Very good. Reviewed September 8, 2010 ARTICLE »