And now the conclusion of my Memphis trip!
The following night I was fortunate enough to meet with more of the Memphis based partners of Cornerstone. Everyone came from diverse backgrounds, but all had one common passion: compelling and intriguing wines from California and Oregon. For this meal together I wanted to focus on the future of Cornerstone’s wines from both states. We sipped on both red and white wines from 2011, 2010, and 2009. I was excited to try some of the 2010 Stepping Stone reds as the last time I tasted them was just days after their bottling. Their elegance, flavor, aroma, and texture is readily apparent. The partners had many questions as well, wanting to hear more about my travels and where Cornerstone was in the cities they traveled to. Fortunately, these were conversations I had recently with a number of our distributors and was able to point them in the right direction for their next destination.
A few days later after visiting accounts with our distributor, Mike, Beni, and I all had an evening free to do dinner. Rarely do I have access to such a beautiful and well stocked kitchen. I insisted that instead of the three of us going out we instead stay in and I cook dinner. Beni’s ears perked up when I said that as she is a great chef with a killer rack of lamb recipe. Wine is to be had with any proper meal and prior to coming up with a dinner plan Mike and I headed to the cellar. I just as well should have walked into a time portal. In half of the cellar very Cornerstone vintage was elegantly displayed. The other half held wines from friend’s California and Oregon as well as an impressive array of older Bordeaux and Burgundies. Relying on a staple pairing, red with red, I cooked rib eyes with Farro and Brussels sprouts.
On my last evening in Memphis, Mike and I went to Folks Folly restaurant to provide the staff with a Cornerstone tasting of their own. Attending the Friday night pre-shift fifteen servers and managers listened to Mike tell the history of Cornerstone while I poured them the 2007 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that they carry on their list. Even though I waited tables for years in the Napa Valley, it was rare that I would get the chance to taste wines with the owner of a winery during pre-shift. Many of them knew Mike already from the Memphis community. Being that this was a very rare and special treat, we decided to pull out a library selection for the staff thus allowing them to see all of Cornerstone’s storied past. As Mike is talking about our 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet, I see a few servers eyes light up as I reach into the wine bag and pull out a bottle of 1996 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Beaty Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. I love being able to try older, rarer wines. This group was no different and one could see how much they enjoyed the wine. Be sure treat yourself and stop by Folks Folly on your next trip to Memphis.
My four days with Mike and Beni were very memorable. The meals, the stories, the history, the wine and oh yes, the fun. It was not all business on this trip. I did make it to Graceland.