Soon-To-Be Library Cabernet
Winemaker Charles Thomas helped bring Opus One to life and Robert Parker has called him “brilliant” and a “star winemaker,” while Wine Spectator simply calls him “one of California’s best winemakers.” The 2014 Cornerstone Cellars Benchlands Cabernet is the handiwork of Thomas and his winemaking partner at Cornerstone, Kari Auringer, whose own resume includes a Scarecrow 100-pointer. Their combined expertise makes them one of the most formidable winemaking duos in Napa, and the 2014 “dream vintage” delivered perfect fruit for this ripe and luxurious Cabernet. The last bottles of this vintage are up for grabs at the winery’s Yountville tasting room for $65, or right here, on Wine Acces for $49.99. Last call before the 2015s are released and the remaining 2014s are declaired Library Wines with a higher price tag.
Opus One. Robert Mondavi. Cardinale, Lokoya, Verité, and Quintessa. The producers on winemaker Charles Thomas’s C.V. are the marquee names of California Cabernet, and his role at these powerhouses has earned him unqualified praise from the world’s most influential critics. Thomas and his winemaking partner at Cornerstone, Kari Auringer, whose own resume includes a Scarecrow 100-pointer, are one of the most formidable winemaking duos in Napa.
Like Thomas, many winemakers believe that winemaking begins in the vineyard. But few can back it up as he can, with experience at nearly every conceivable step between terroir and table. Thomas worked as barrel enologist, senior enologist, and assistant winemaker at Robert Mondavi, where he was instrumental in the conception and execution of an exclusive project called “napamedoc,” which, after a 1982 name change, became known the world over as Opus One.
In the decades since, Thomas’s contributions to Cardinale, Rudd, and Quintessa have cemented his place in the pantheon of transformative winemakers.
Thomas and Auringer were lobbed a softball with the 2014 season: a “dream vintage,” according to Wine Spectator, extending the winning streak of vintages that have enshrined the early teens as among Napa’s most lauded periods in memory. The duo bolsters the beautiful, ripe, and concentrated fruit with 80% new French oak barriques, yielding a wine of exceptional power and grace.