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Cornerstone Pinot Noir 2016 ($32, winery, 89 points) — Under new winemaker Lukasz Orwinski, previously at Burning Kiln and Rosewood Estate, wines are on the upswing at this Beamsville winery founded by Jerry Kopasnski in 2002. This Pinot from the warm 2016 vintage shows bright red berries, subtle oak spice and touches of cassis, black currants and vanilla toast. It shows juicy red fruits on the palate with silky tannins and good acidity to go with anise and wood spices on the finish. Tasty Pinot.


Cornerstone Gamay Noir 2016 ($18, winery, 87 points) — The nose shows a mélange of plums, earth and red fruits. It is has good zip on the palate to prop up the abundance of red fruits, plums and peppery notes. Serve this slightly chilled and enjoy.


Cornerstone Syrah 2013 ($24, winery, 88 points) — A peppery/smoky Syrah on the nose with a range of earthy red fruits, black currants and spice. The palate shows blackberries and currants with a thick covering of cracked black peppercorns, earth and barrel oak spices all propped up by decent acidity.


Cornerstone Cabernet Franc 2013 ($29, winery, 88 points) — Textbook CF with savoury red berries, toasted vanilla, oak spice, a light sprinkling of herbs and anise on the nose. Expressive on the palate with a range of brambly raspberry and cherry fruits, medium+ tannins, licorice, campfire smoke, bay leaves and perky acidity through the finish. There is a bit of the warmer vintage 2012 CF still available ($25). Look for darker fruits, more earthy notes and a fully mature profile.


Cornerstone Vidal Select Late Harvest 2015 ($19 for 375 mL, winery, 90 points) — Expressive nose of ripe apricot, peach, citrus and grilled pineapple. It is remarkably fresh on the palate, despite the sweetness, and draws out the pear, apricot compote, peach pie and honey notes. A balanced and delicious late harvest wine.


Cornerstone Forte 2014 ($20 for 500 mL, winery, 88 points) — Fancy the odd cigar? This is the perfect pairing with a good Cuban on a warm night outside by the fire. It’s a fortified wine finished at 18% abv. It’s very dark in the glass with aromas of thick cherry/kirsch, dark chocolate, sweet spices, cassis and black currants. It’s like molten dark chocolate on the palate with supporting notes of dark cherry, black currant jam and sweet spices.

I first met Jerry Kopanski a few years ago at the Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market. I was enamoured with his 2011 Cabernet Franc made in a ripasso style. I bought a case of that wine and sadly have none left … it’s hard to hold onto a bottle priced at sixteen dollars the delivered so much. When I stopped by in December I was curious to see what was new in the portfolio.


I was pleased to see that Cabernet Franc at this winery continues to be the standout in the portfolio. Currently you can purchase and taste the 2012 and 2013 vintages. There is interesting use of appassimento as well with a rich and deep Pinot Gris as well. Needless to say I plan on returning to see what the next few vintages of Franc will taste like.


2013 Pinot Gris Appassimento – $17.00 – **** – Pinot Gris is a grape that can often be dismissed as boring – so what happens when you give it the appassimento treatment? The texture of this wine is rich and heavy with aromas and flavours of honey and beeswax making an appearance here. The weight of the wine is mated with peach and golden delicious apple. The finish is long and a mineral note pokes its head through on the finish. I picture this bottle on my table next to creamy pasta or fried fish.


2016 Chardonnay – $24.00 – ***½+ – At the time I tasted this wine it still felt young and maybe a little disjointed. The oak notes scream out of the glass with wood smoke and vanilla. I anticipate with a few months and patience this should become a little more focused and centred. That being said, if you’re not a fan of oak this may not be the wine for you. That being said the concentration of fruit offers a nice match to the buttered popcorn that invades your whole mouth when you take your first sip. The acidity in this bottle pulls the wine together and keeps it clean on the finish with a nice vanilla note that lingers.


2012 Cabernet Franc – $25.00 – **** – This wine is made in an appassimento style and now that we are 6 years away from the hot 2012 vintage it’s starting to show some signs of age. The fruit is a little more dried out – but still plentiful. Aromas and flavours are currant, blackberry, and raspberry. There is a little more smoke and while the tannin is starting to relax it’s still a little grippy on the finish. It will be interesting to see how this will continue to evolve and should easily have another 5 years of life left in a cellar.


2013 Cabernet Franc – $29.00 – **** – This wine is also made in an appassimento style and even though only one year younger, and from a more typical Niagara vintage is brimming with youth. There is a nice vanilla note that envelopes raspberry, and cranberry on the nose and on the palate. The alcohol does warm you up a little bit when you take your first sip, but just enough to remind you that this has had it’s sugars and flavours concentrated. The tannin is approachable but this wine will also evolve nicely for another 5 years next to it’s 2012 counterpart.

2-6 full racks of pork ribs
Dry rub seasoning – garlic powder, salt, dried herbs
Apple juice/beer/water
Rub each rack of ribs with dry rub
Place ribs on their side, with the cut side of the bone in the roasting pan. (Do not lay flat in pan) – Pour approx 1 cm of liquid into the roasting pan
Cover completely with tin foil

Bake/Braise at 375 degrees for approx 3-3.5 hours
When done, remove from liquid and either allow to cool or serve immediately.
If cooling, wrap and freeze them for another meal. After cooled or frozen, place on a baking sheet and cover with your favorite bbq sauce to finish. Bake at 425 degrees for approx 15 minutes
Tamarind Apple BBQ Sauce
2 cups basic BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp of tamarind sauce/paste
1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Our friends thought this delicious rib dish paired well with our PINOT NOIR 2016, so try this recipe out and let us know your thoughts!
Cornerstone Estate Winery Owner, Jerry Kopanski share his views with Homes by De Santis on why he considers Beamsville his home and some of the accomplishments of his Award Winning Wines.
Jerry and Wanda Kopanski founded their charming, family owned winery in 2002. They consistently produce premium wines using their own fruits. Cornerstone focuses on limited productions, resulting in small batches of VQA wines.
Concocting the perfect marriage is simple with our Wine and Food pairing series. Wine and Food Pairing Series – Stoned White 2011 and a Bitter Green Salad. Concocting the perfect marriage is simple with our Wine and Food pairing series at Cornerstone Estate.
Concocting the perfect marriage is simple with our Wine and Food pairing series. Wine and Food Pairing Series – Cabernet Merlot 2010 and a Pasta A Fagioli Soup. Concocting the perfect marriage is simple with our Wine and Food pairing series at Cornerstone Estate.