I don’t have much to say about Corner 103 other than I’ve always wanted to try it! Ok, I guess that is kind of a big deal. Walking through the rural-tastic downtown Sonoma, I’ve passed by the “the Corner” more times than I can count — yet I’ve never had the opportunity to actually taste and experience what the winery is all about. So I received a few bottles to taste at home and decided there’s no better way to dive into the Corner 103 portfolio than with their signature blend, the Corner Cuvée.
About the Wine: The Corner 103 2014 Cuvée is made from 79% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 8% Petite Sirah and 1% Grenache grapes harvested from various vineyards throughout the Sonoma County AVA. Varietals were kept separate until just before bottling. Each wine was aged for about 18 months in French oak barrels (20% new).
Flavor Profile: Open up the bottle of the Corner 103 2014 Cuvée and breathe in a fruit salad of plump black cherries, blueberries, and boysenberries. On the pour, this wine is a warn-out, tired shared of red — it’s luminescent, yet tinted with a kind of faded maturity. In the glass, the cuvée maintains that middle-aged look (though is, indeed, completely transparent from center to edge), fading out to an almost burnt-orange hue around the perimeter.
Initial aromas are of black cherries, cocoa powder and cedar wood. Swirl to release an outdoors-y warm grass aroma along with fresher wood scents and a strong acidic line. A deep breath in will find lighter fruits that initially sensed, including raspberry and strawberry.
On the palate, the Corner 103 2014 Cuvée is quite soft and smooth at first, reminiscent of a cool silk sheet brushing your skin on a hot day. The tannins come in about 1/2 way through — as does the acidity, which amplifies towards an explosive, berry-filled finish. Conversely, those tannins that found strength midway, slowly begin to creep away and are all but invisible during the finish. Dominant flavors include cedar wood, red cherry, raspberry, strawberry, green herbs like either eucalyptus or basil, and just a hint of dark brown sugar.
On the whole, a sip of the Corner 103 2014 Cuvée is like popping a whole cherry — stem, leaves, branches and all — into your mouth. The pops of ripe fresh fruit mix with those earthy, bolder elements in an almost yin-yang contrast, and yet they’re so well blended together that they paint one whole, complete picture.
Food Pairing: I paired the Corner 103 2014 Cuvée with a seared salmon filet on top of a strawberry and basil salad tossed with feta and a balsamic vinaigrette. What I loved was how the silky texture of the salmon created a roundness to the palate, almost completely negating any tongue-touching tannins and, instead, allowing those tannins to play a background/backbone role in the tasting. Meanwhile, the herbaceous salad did well to bring forward some of the hidden herbaceous notes in the wine, while the strawberries married well with the fresh fruit and acidity in the wine. An overall well-balanced food and wine pairing.
More Info: I received the Corner 103 2014 Cuvée as a sample for review. (Cheers Sarah!) Retail: $45. For more information about Corner 103, schedule your visit, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Corner 103 website.
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