It’s a Tuesday night, your week is already busy, you, and/or, your family are hungry. What can you do to put a quick and delicious meal on the table that nurtures your hunger as well as your spirit? I am a big fan of the slow cooker, aka Crock Pot, for night’s like these. I want to prepare a good meal with good wine but don’t have 2 hours to spend each night in the kitchen. My son loves pulled pork and pulled pork is typically easy to load into the slow cooker the night before, turn on in the morning and by 6 pm dinner is done! Viola! Add a delicious, easy drinking wine and suddenly Tuesday feels like Saturday!
Cornerstone 2012 Stepping Stone Cuvee Willamette Valley Artist Series Pinot Noir: This wine poured light ruby with orange highlights into the glass and opened with fresh aromas of bright red berries and spice. On the palate the first glass of this Pinot Noir brought bright fresh flavors of cherries, strawberries raspberries and currants along with white pepper spice and toasted cedar. As the wine continued to open it revealed additional layers of flavor including blueberries, blackberries and eucalyptus. This Pinot Noir was light and lively with round acidity, light yet integrated tannins, medium body and a lingering finish. 13.5 % alcohol. Quite a treat to find such a layered and beautiful Pinot Noir for such a great value of SRP $30. Removed from oak sooner than the White Label Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, this wine was crafted to drink immediately with your weeknight dinners. The grapes in this wine were cultivated from five AVAs of the Northern Willamette Valley and made in the tradition of Burgundian village wines. Cornerstone recommends the Stepping Stone Oregon Pinot Noir be served lightly chilled; perfect as we transition into spring and even better for summer sipping. 91 pts Wine Spectator. This wine was delightful; I recommend this wine. Click here to purchase this wine direct from Cornerstone Cellars.
This wine would pair very well with casual dining such as burgers, salads and tacos. I chose to pair the Cornerstone Stepping Stone Oregon Pinot Noir with pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw. The recipe I used for the pulled pork was from the January issue of Food Network Magazine and can be found here. Honestly, though the pulled pork turned out delicious this particular recipe was much more detailed and time consuming than I would have preferred and the results were not any better than the pulled pork recipe on the back of the McCormick’s Slow Cooker Pork spice pack found in the spice aisle in any given grocery store. However, the wine paired beautifully with the pulled pork sandwiches and made a weeknight meal special. The sweetness of the coleslaw mixed with the savory/sweet sauce of the pork blended beautifully with the Pinot Noir.
You will recall from my articles “Feeling Alright Now with Cornerstone Cellars Chardonnay” and “Wine, Food and Love with #WinePW” that I am already a huge fan of the outstanding wines being crafted by Cornerstone Cellars. Craig Camp, Michael Dragutsky, Jeff Keene (CA wine maker), and Tony Rynders (OR wine maker) are firing on all cylinders by perennially releasing outstanding award winning wines from their least expensive, Rocks! Blends, through their entire portfolio to their most expensive, White Label The Cornerstone. You simply cannot go wrong drinking Cornerstone Cellars wines.
Cornerstone Cellars considers themselves an “atypical” Napa Valley winery and I agree; just the fact their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced in Oregon speaks to their willingness to focus more on producing high quality wines over staying in one region; “It’s more important where the vines put down roots than where the winemakers do.” Don’t you love that?! Cornerstone Cellars crafts wines to express their vision of the 3v’s: vineyard, vintage and variety. In 2008 Cornerstone’s Craig Camp teamed up with renowned Oregon wine maker Tony Rynders to collaborate on their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir project. I am so honored to receive the results of this collaboration!
From the Cornerstone Cellars web site:
We do not make wine for everyone. We make what we believe in, not what the mass market demands. We will not be a slave to the fashion of the moment, we make wines we love to drink. What makes a great wine does not change; it’s not like having hemlines to go up and down according latest whim.
I strongly encourage you to visit the Cornerstone Cellars web site to learn more about them, view their entire portfolio of wines and to order this lovely Pinot Noir. Furthermore, take a moment to look at their low cost, low commitment, high value wine club. It could be one of the best wine club values I have ever seen!
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Cornerstone Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is Magnetic by Darren Rahn. This song highlights the upbeat, smooth yet lively nature of the Stepping Stone Pinot Noir. Furthermore, the wine and the song add a jazzy zest to an otherwise ordinary weeknight dinner.
Get your own bottle of Cornerstone Stepping Stone 2012 Cuvee Artist Series Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!