Wine Review: Cornerstone Cellars Red Hills Lake County 2009 Rose

I have to be honest, I’m NOT a big fan of rose so I’ll have to evaluate this wine based on what I know and enjoy. We’ll start with the pinkish red tint of color and the apparent blueberry fruit on the nose. A sip confirms blueberry and a hint of pepper on the back of the palate from the Syrah/Grenache blend.

As I mentioned in my previous review of Stepping Stone, these wines are drinkable now but could improve with some age. The Rose is a wine that is meant for summer sipping by itself or with light seafood, perhaps ceviche.

Link to Cornerstone Cellars

Wine Review: Cornerstone Cellars 2008 Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cuvee Musque Sauvignon Blanc

Wow, what a name! This wine has a perfect balance of lush fruits with hints of grapefruit. The nose reveals limestone while the light colored wine swirls perfectly around the glass. A firm, medium finish tops this wine off and makes it perfect for light seafood.

I’ve become a growing fan of Cornerstone Cellars since we were introduced to them last year. Stepping Stone is their low end wine but for the price, these wines are a steal. Providing body, finesse and intensity of flavor, Stepping Stone is sure to please many palates.

Trouble in the Cigar Industry

With all the new bullshit legislation coming down on cigar and pipe smokers, we’re left looking at each other with unlit vitolas in hand, stress on our shoulders and a crumbling economy. The problem has become so bad that many retailers are scrambling to find new ways to generate revenue -ways which are ultimately going to drive away business.

One of the shops I’ve visited has a policy whereby customers must purchase $25 worth of merchandise in order to enjoy ONLY two hours with one other person in the shrunken smoking lounge. They shrunk the lounge to make more room for product that’s NOT cigar/tobacco oriented.

This policy took effect recently and has already shown itself to be harmful. Many of the regulars have stopped coming to smoke there and will find other places to hang out, if those places can be found. In San Francisco, we’re limited to the Occidental, 850 Montgomery Cigar Bar and that’s it.

Things continue to worsen. The bar around the corner has a sign up in the “smoking” section that says no cigars, no pipes, no weed ya’ll. I agree on the latter but the former two? I’m a cigar smoker, a pipe smoker and now will be taking my money elsewhere as I search for a cigar friendly place to relax.

In the first case, I understand the need to generate revenue in a brick and mortar store located in state with high as hell tobacco taxes. Legislation has shut down many of the businesses that support cigar and pipe smokers, leaving less revenue on the table. This may all seem like whining from a minority group but the last time I checked, this was AMERICA.

In ultra liberal California I’m no longer allowed to smoke cigars on the community balcony. So far the manager has said shit about me smoking my pipe on the front steps.

So what is the answer for shops with shrinking revenue? Even with unlimited funds I couldn’t justify going to a shop every day to smoke and having to spend a minimum amount, which makes it seem like I’m carrying the shop. And the feelings a lot of folks have expressed have been less than stellar.

Sascha Illyvich