Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2010 Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé

Continuing with my tastings of the Stepping Stone wines by Cornerstone Cellars, I sampled the 2010 Stepping Stone Corallina rosé recently and found it to be absolutely delightful. Out of the six samples Cornerstone Cellars sent to me, I've reviewed the 2010 Stepping Stone sauvignon blanc and 2010 Stepping Stone riesling so far. With two more wines to taste (after this rosé), I should be done with the lineup in about a week or so.

Admittedly I'm a bit of a rosé junkie, the Domaine Tempier from Bandol is of course my benchmark for top quality examples. When the 2010 Stepping Stone Corallina showed up and I saw it was 100% syrah from Napa Valley, I may or may not have gotten just a touch excited to taste it. Being the patient chap that I am though, I allowed the wine to rest up a bit in my wine fridge before finally giving it a try.

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The 2010 Corallina is gorgeous wine with a beautiful salmon color, a copperish-pink that captures the eye from any angle. It's clear all the way through, resembling some of the French rosé's I've had this year, and I feel is atypical of rosé wine from California.

Aromatically this is all sweet summer melon, fresh berries, a twist of lemon, and bits of floral perfume. The Stepping Stone Corallina has a nice depth, giving the perception of a multi-layered wine, one that you can sink into, discovering new aromas with each sniff of your wine glass. Did I mention I'm a bit of a rosé junkie yet? There's a certain delicate nature to rosé, or at least to the best ones, and finding that special quality in the 2010 Corallina was a wonderful revelation.

Finally! I get to taste this rosé that's been teasing me for the past hour while it slowly came closer to room temperature. Clean, pure acidity with elements of melon, green herbs, summer strawberry and cherry all start strong and turn into a medium-bodied, smooth tasting experience. A spell in oak barrels helped add some richness, preventing the wine from being too one dimensional. I kept thinking "great structure, impressive for a California rosé!".

Stepping Stone's Corallina is complex, with the flavors all in balance yet popping up at different times, creating a sense of adventure when you find a new one. A great seam of acidity keeps things light but not necessarily delicate, this is rosé of syrah after all. Rather, the acid creates a nice sense of body without being overly harsh or astringent. I'm impressed.

Am I fan? YES! This is highly recommended rosé to go out and buy right now. The suggested retail is $18, a really nice price on a very high quality rosé. With a chill on it, you want to break out the spicy hummus and pita chips for a great afternoon out on the deck or patio. To purchase, visit the Cornerstone Cellars website.

This wine was a media sample for review purposes.

Beau Carufel


  1. Cornerstone wines are consistently solid. I have this in my cellar and can't wait to taste. Cheers Dan

  2. I couldn't agree more, this weekend I'll be opening their white Rocks and red Rocks to sample, I can't wait!

  3. Haven't had a chance to taste Stepping Stone's Corallina yet, but it's on the shortlist after this review.
    We've been going wild over here with the rosé's, this fine S.D. summer we're having is making it our go-to. Patio, spicy hummus, pita chips, and a few glasses sounds like my plan for this afternoon!

  4. I really want to hear your thoughts on this one. This is rosé season to be sure, I've had a blast exploring some from Spain and now California over the past few months.