For Wine Wednesday check out the Southwest Florida ties to this Napa Wine. It’s called Cornerstone Cellars. First, let’s back things up a minute. It’s that time of year when winemakers from all over the world make their way to Southwest Florida. They come for charity events and wine festivals. In the United States, it’s a time of year when there is not much going on at most wineries. The vines are sleeping and the wine is aging. It’s a great time for west coast wine folks to head to the warm Southwest Florida weather.
A lot of them stay. The area is home to several winery owners. Cornerstone is among them. The Napa Valley winery was founded in 1991 by two Memphis, TN doctors. One of the investors also lives in Naples part-time. That’s good news, because the small production wines are available here.
Cornerstone’s winemaker, Kari Auringer, was in Southwest Florida for the annual Food & Wine Weekend at The Gasparilla Inn & Club. The show went on in spite of Hurricane Ian upheaval. This year’s theme was women in wine. After the festival, Kari hung out in Southwest Florida for a few days. I got to enjoy lunch with her and taste several wines as we went along.
I love Kari’s story. Her career began in the advertising world in Texas where she owned a very successful company and had a great affection for wine. She didn’t go to school for winemaking until she was 40 years old. So if you are thinking about changing careers, take inspiration from her. Today she makes these big beautiful cabernets and a delicious sauvignon blanc ($35).
The sauvignon blanc has a great balance of fruit and acid. It has nice complexity but still goes down easy. The Benchlands Cabernet ($85) is perhaps the easiest to find. It’s a classic cab with cherry, dark chocolate, and balanced tannins. I also enjoyed Cornerstone Oakville Station ($130). If you have tried, been wanting to try or just love cabernet from the famous To Kalon Vineyard, this one has your name on it.