Drinking Now: 2012 Cornerstone Oakville Station Napa Merlot

Color: Dark garnet color

Nose: Spice, tobacco, dark berries, touch of ripe strawberry at the end

Palate: Cedar, plum and that whisper of fresh strawberry making this smooth deep wine finish on a lighter note.

Medium acidity, easy drinking, smooth and balanced.

Alcohol:14.5%

This is Cornerstone’s first release under their new Napa Valley single vineyard program. Made from one of their Oakville Station Vineyard blocks in To Kalon. This 100% Merlot is complex and smooth yet the acidity shines though Velvety and opulent it still remains light on its feet as there is more than ample acidity to carry the amazing depth and power of this wine. While generous, this full-bodied Merlot is still a wine for the cellar and will reward five or more years of patience with a truly stunning wine. Just 97 cases were produced.

A kinder, gentler way to destem grapes at Hawks View Cellars in Oregon

For all those wine geeks, ie. Enologists, like me, who love a bit of enology technology, I have included what I believe, is the wave of the future in terms of destemmers. This is a German EuroSelect destemmer that uses rotative rubber hands to de-stem the grapes in a kinder, gentler way.

As part of the Wine Bloggers Conference, we are at Hawks View Cellars in Washington County, Oregon with A.J. Kemp, owner and 2nd generation winemaker, who has taken the time to show us his beautiful winery and allow us to taste some of the incredible wines coming out of not only his region but also from Washington and California.

Might I add their 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir is phenomenal? It is an incredibly full-bodied raspberry, cocoa delight.

Thank you, A.J.

For more information, please visit their website at http://hawksviewcellars.com