Few wineries in the Napa Valley have the ironclad reputation of Corison, one of California's great Cabernet Sauvignon institutions. The Corison Winery is located right on the main drag in St. Helena on Highway 128, surrounded by the one of the oldest Cab vineyards in the valley. Housed in a modest barn which serves as both the winery and tasting room, tucked between vanity chateaus and giant names like Provenance, Opus One, and Del Dotto, Corison has developed a cult-like following by producing a decidedly different style of wine than most of their neighbors, one that favors aromatic complexity, freshness, and balance to flavor density and ripeness.
Behind these wines is Cathy Corison, the first female winemaker-proprietor in Napa Valley. Cathy grew up in Riverside, California. She studied biology at Pomona College and caught the winemaking bug after taking an wine tasting class while still in school. After she graduated in 1975, Cathy moved to Napa Valley to search for a career in the wine business. She later went on to earn a Master's in Enology from UC Davis.
In the early days of her career, Cathy experienced resistance from the male-dominated wine community in Napa. Even while in school at UC Davis, she was told by her professors and other industry folk that she would never be hired as a winemaker in Napa Valley. At the time, many women were barred from working on the production floor and instead were encouraged to do lab work. Corison decided against working in the lab and in 1978 she eventually found work as an intern at Freemark Abbey. A short time later, she became a winemaker for the winery.
This was just the beginning for Cathy. Her success led to a 10-year residency at Chappellet winery, where she produced some of the winery's most iconic vintages. She went on to produce wines for several other notable names, such as Staglin Family Vineyard, York Creek Vineyards and Long Meadow Ranch. Many years of winemaking for others honed her skills and left her eager to express her own winemaking voice. In 1987, she founded her own label and made the first vintage of Corison Cabernet. Two years later and Cathy had quit her day job, cellar-hopping between different wineries producing wine for her personal label. In 1995, after years of searching, she finally found Corison a home: a old vineyard in St. Helena on Bale loam, a stony, alluvial soil, rare for the valley and ideal for the Cabernet vine.
The wines of Cathy Corison set a standard of elegance for Napa Valley. Her methods are guided by a simple philosophy: to let the wine speak for itself. Methodical care for her old-vine Cabernet vineyard (organically farmed for 20+ years), a careful selection of oak, and a gentle, precise touch in the winery result in wines that are both powerful and delicate, finishing at around 13% with amazing aromatic complexity and structure.
Cathy has received various accolades and awards over the years, including being named the San Francisco Chronicle's Winemaker of the Year in 2011, and the wines consistently earn top scores every vintage. We absolutely love these wines here at De Nux and we are thrilled to be bringing them here to the state of Arkansas. Here's the lineup for the fall of 2017:
2013 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - $95.00 approximate retail
"Harmony and unity define this vintage. With a year in the bottle, the 2014 is beginning to blossom. A warm spring, following one of the driest winters on record, got the ball rolling early with the set of small, concentrated berries. Moving into summer, the remainder of the season was moderate, giving us the long, cool season I hope for. Leaning more toward the darker end of the Cabernet fruit spectrum this year, the wine exhibits plum, black raspberry and blackberry aromas and flavors while maintaining the red cherry core typical of Corison Napa Valley Cabernet. Hints of exotic garrigue include savory thyme, rosemary, violet and rose scents. Minerality adds verve, and top notes of smoke, baking spices, cedar and dark chocolate complete the kaleidoscopic complexity." - Cathy Corison
2013 Corison "Kronos" Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Restaurant Only
"Wow. This inky wine jumps out of the glass with ripe boysenberries and floral perfume. 2013 was a near-perfect vintage with ideal spring weather for flowering, which resulted in a bumper crop of deliciousness. With highs seldom climbing out of the 80F’s and chilly nighttime lows, an unseasonably cool summer gave the wine its firm structure. Lush ripe red fruit with balancing natural acidity complement the characteristic Kronos viscosity. The tannins are assertive but feel like velvet." - Cathy Corison
Here are some places you can find a bottle!