1991 was the first vintage of Cornerstone Cellars - and a head-first plunge into the wonderful world of long-distance wine production for Memphis physicians, Michael Dragutsky and David Sloas.
It was a great vintage year and Cornerstone Cellars found a cult niche: powerful Howell Mountain Cabernets - big, ripe and muscular with focused fruit of currant, cherry and plum - and a miniscule production of 400 cases. This is some of the latest Cabernet in the valley to ripen due to the lean hillside soils and the elevation of the vineyards on Howell Mountain (the vineyard sources are from 1700 to 2400 feet). The yield averages two to two-and-a-half tons per acre. While the temperatures are moderate, the daily pattern is reversed: on a hot day it is warmer in the morning since the vineyard is above the fog on the valley floor, and it is cooler later in the day which makes the flavors more concentrated.
Cornerstone Cellars was rated one of eight "World Class" Cabernet Sauvignon producers in The Connoisseurs' Handbook of the Wines of California and the Pacific Northwest, 4th Edition.