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Cathy Corison the Queen of Cabernet


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Cathy Corison is one of Napa Valley’s first women winemakers and is well recognized by her colleagues as one of the more influential winemakers in the entire Valley. Her Corison Cabernet wines have long been noted for their quality and character. We visited with Cathy at her wonderful winery and vineyards in St. Helena.

We have long been admirers of the barn that houses the Corison Winery. The best view is during Mustard season. The vibrant colors set against the grey siding and the green roof make for an awesome view and a photographer’s delight. The barn is set back from Highway 29 and easy to miss. As one drives along Highway 29, by the time you catch a glimpse and are intrigued by the building it is too late; you have driven past the entrance. By all means turn back at the next chance and pay a visit to Corison Winery. It is traditional Napa Valley.

Once inside the building, you will find a makeshift tasting room set up, no frills, no fancy merchandise, just good wine. Take a look at the beautiful French barrels. Cathy uses three different types to age her Cabernet. Outside the barn is the beautiful Kronos Vineyard of very old Cabernet vines. This is just what Cathy needs to make her traditional elegant, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. These vines are old and stingy, producing very little per acre, but the yield is some fantastic juice.

There are other wines that are made here but the Cabernet is what Corison is all about. These wines are expensive but very delicious and can be drunk now; but please don’t rush, these wines can sit and become even more complex. We know, because on our visit we tasted a 1999 Kronos alongside a 2004. Both are delicious but the 1999 vintage lingered forever.

Even though the winery is open by appointment only, there is always someone in the tasting room to welcome you and pour the wines. Make sure you ask to see the vineyards behind the barn; they are beautiful, with the Mayacamus Mountains as the backdrop.

The winery is located just south of the town of St. Helena on the west side of the road. Driving north once you pass Zinfandel Lane begin looking for the entrance to Corison. Tasting is $10 and can be applied to the purchase.

The Good: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines at their finest
The Bad: Unfortunately, the Cabs are out of my pocket book, except for a special occasion treat

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

2 thoughts on “Cathy Corison the Queen of Cabernet”

  1. A very nice profile of one of the great California winemakers. I’m the General Manager & Wime Director at Stark’s Steakhouse in Santa Rosa, CA and I always know that when a bottle of Corison cab is ordered I’ll have some happy guests. Here’s something that I’m sure will interest you; while Corison IS usually very expensive (the 1999 was $150 on our list) Cathy is offering some very aggressive pricing of her library wines as a response to our difficult economy. We currently have her 2000 Napa Cab on our list for under $50. If you’d like the opportunity to try her wine but can’t usually afford it, now is the time. Apparently Cathy Corison is a wonderful person as well as a wonderful winemaker.

  2. I love those prices of the Corison Cab on your wine list. I hope many of your patrons take advantage of this deal and great wine. It will pay off in the long run.

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