"One of the things that is so remarkable about Cathy Corison’s cabernets is how cool and classic they are in profile, harkening back stylistically to the great Rutherford Bench wines made on the valley floor in the 1960s and 1970s, when so many other winemakers in Napa will tell you today that it is simply not possible in an era of global warming to make wines in that style anymore! "

- John Gilman, View from the Cellar (05/17)

When asked to name favorite Napa Caberenet Sauvignon my mind goes two places instantly: Cathy Corison in the valley and Philip Togni on the mountain. Not to take anything away from the brilliant wines produced elsewhere in Napa, but these two icons simply sit at a different table, as I see things. If Togni is famous for his rugged and dark fruit-inflected Spring Mountain wines, then Cathy Corison is the standard bearer for Napa's most restrained and finessed style. 

Terroir-driven Napa Cabernet has become a bit of a selling point over the last decade, but Cathy Corison has been on this path since she founded her winery in 1987. Or course, the real story of Corison began many years before. After graduating from UC Davis with a Masters degree in Enology, Cathy began working in 1978 at Freemark Abbey and then was the winemaker at Chappellet throughout the 80's. As stylistic tides shifted in Napa she was resolute in telling her own story, one emphasizing a sense of place without aritifice. And so, Corison was born, sourcing grapes from the famed 7-mile long, 2-mile wide Rutherford Bench, located just west of Highway 29.

The Corison Cabernets always strike me for their more ethereal, yet concentrated, elements of black cherry, violets, cigar box, and graphite. The surprising feature in how these wines are characterized vs. Napa neighbors is they age beautifully despite being lauded for their "grace" and "elegance". Today, bottles from the early 90's are still totally fresh and vibrant.

The Corison Napa Valley designate bottling is sourced from vineyards that span that Rutherford Bench. The Kronos Vineyard comes from Kathy's home winery in Saint Helena, old vines planted on that famed phyloxera resistant St. George rootstock. The Kronos bottling may not be dubbed "Cult California" like some of the behemoth 100-pointers, but it is still among the rarest and, as far as I'm concerned, one of the very greatest wines of California.

2014 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 
$99 per bottle.

2013 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 
$99 per bottle.

2010 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 
$119 per bottle.

2003 Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 
$176 per bottle.

2002 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1.5L
$369 per bottle.

2001 Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 
$247 per bottle.