PICKS of the RACK: Cornerstone Cellars | Two Rosés for Summer Sipping (and Beyond)

Cornerstone SS 2013 Rose CompCornerstone Cellars | “Corallina” |Syrah Rosé | Napa Valley | California | 2014 | $25

90 pts | “HIGHLY RECOMMENED”

A selection from Cornerstone Cellars’ Artist Series, Corallina is sourced from the Oak Knoll District AVA on the southern end of Napa Valley. The Oak Knoll District is the second coolest appellation in Napa Valley (after Los Carneros), as it lies in close proximity to the cool, breezy, and foggy San Pablo Bay above San Francisco. Conditions here allow grapes to ripen and mature slowly and evenly, developing vivid color, aromas, and flavors. These qualities are unmistakable in the 2014 Corallina, an exuberant rosé of Syrah offering aromas of dried rose petal, passion fruit, and botanicals, followed by flavors of ripe watermelon, Rainier Cherry, and lychee — all accented with solid minerality and vibrant acidity over a long, tangy finish evocative of a fine liqueur. Unlike many rosés, Corallina is not a by-product of red wine making; the Syrah sourced for this wine is farmed to be vinified into rosé. Right after the Syrah is picked, the whole clusters go straight into a press for three hours, and the resulting juice then undergoes slow fermentation — to complete dryness — in stainless steel. The wine rests for an additional five months in neutral oak — enhancing texture without conveying flavor — before bottling. The end result is a rosé of appreciable character and depth in a saturated shade of coral. Serve it with antipasto, grilled tuna or salmon, Thai or Indian curries, roasted pork loin, and other spirited fare. (13.8% ABV | 500 cases produced)

RocksCornerstone Cellars | Rocks! | Rosé | California | 2014 | $15

88 pts | “RECOMMENDED”

Rocks! is Cornerstone’s “house wine” label, and the wines — white, rosé, and red — are each blends of several grape varieties sourced from various vineyards across California. The 2014 Rocks! rosé is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Syrah (although we do not know the proportions), and is so deeply pigmented that it would be an offense to call it a “pink wine.” It is a casual and generous rosé, with notions of raspberry liqueur and violet on the nose; and on the palate, suggestions of dried strawberry and cinnamon stick. It is completely dry, with sprightly acids and a mouth-coating texture. If you are looking for a versatile and crowd-pleasing dry rosé (in the not-too distant past this would have been a contradiction in terms), look no further. Serve it with prosciutto-wrapped melon balls, quiche, seafood salad, grilled chicken, and other casual fare.      (14.1% ABV)

Availability: For information on the availability of these distinct and pleasing rosés in your area, visit Cornerstone Cellars virtually at www.cornerstonecellars.com, or call the tasting room in Yountville, California, at 707-948-6512.

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