Justin Winery – 3-way Review

The Paso Robles area of California is really shaping up to be a huge rock-star region in the Golden State and for good reason – it has a cooler climate than Napa and generally presents grapes that don’t get as sugarfied as so many do in the more nothern areas of California. Producers in this region have honed their craft in making wines that really take advantage of the cooler temps and done very well.

Justin Winery was founded in 1981 by Justin and Deborah Baldwin and follows the typical story of how it was their desire to produce world-class wines etc. etc. blah blah blah – right? How many times have heard of similar stories? Let’s see if their wines hold up to the vision they had:

2008 Sauvignon Blanc – W.E.P. Rating: 100%

Taste: Grassy lemons coat the palate with nice slight hints of white pepper. Excellent acidty keeps the fruitiness in check and helps this be a very food-friendly wine that’d go great with shellfish, sea-bass or a spring salad.

Technical Data:

  • Tank ageing: 5 months in topped up stainless steel
  • Barrel replacement: No barrels
  • Blended: 9/19/ 2008
  • Racking: Once-Post Fermentation
  • Harvest dates: 8/15/ 2008 (West Paso Vineyard) 8/17/2008 (East Paso Vineyard)
  • Filtering: Sterile
  • Fining: none
  • Brix at Harvest: 22.1 to 23.6
  • Bottled: January 27, 2009
  • Harvest method: 100% hand-harvested
  • Closure: Stelvin Screw Cap
  • Fermentation:14 days with M2
  • Total Acidity: 0.81g/100ml
  • pH: 3.18
  • Malolactic fermentation: None
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Barrels: None
  • Yeasts: M2
  • Price: $15
  • Nose: Lemon peel, grass, straw and hay – hints of grapefruit and elmer’s paste.

    Taste: Grassy lemons coat the palate with nice slight hints of white pepper. Excellent acidty keeps the fruitiness in check and helps this be a very food-friendly wine that’d go great with shellfish, sea-bass or a spring salad.

    2006 Reserve Tempranillo – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

    Technical Data:

    • Barrel aging: 18 months in 225-L oak barrels, 25% new
    • Blended: 7/30/ 2008
    • Barrel replacement: 30-40% annually on average
    • Harvest dates: 9/10-10/3, 2007
    • Racking; every 3 months
    • Brix at Harvest: 24.8
    • Fining: none
    • Harvest method: 100% hand-harvested
    • Filtering: none
    • Fermentation: 10 days with UV-43
    • Bottled: May 2nd, 2009
    • Maceration: 22 days including fermentation
    • pH: 3.74
    • Total Acidity: 0.68 g/100ml
    • Alcohol: 13.5%
    • Pump overs: 2 times daily during fermentation
    • Barrels: Allier, Nevers
    • Yeasts: UV-43
    • Price: $45

    Nose: Vanilla-laced cherries with plum-sauce, black licorice, wild game and white pepper. Medicine cabinet, rose petal and pomagranate.

    Taste: Black peppercorns smashed into the skins of plums and then reduced down in a sauce pan. Take that reduction and slather it over some grilled venison and that’s what you have going on in this glass. I also get some campfire smoke action along with toasted vanilla from the oak. This wine – at first – is a bit too oaky but tends to have that blow off rather well if you let it decant or sit around in your glass for an hour or so. Nice lingering finish of cola from a wonderful grape that’s showing very well for this region of California.

    2006 Cabneret Sauvignon – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

    Technical Data:
    • Barrel aging: 18 months in 225-L oak barrels, 26% new
    • Blended:  8/13-8/24, 2008
    • Barrel replacement: 20-30% annually on average
    • Harvest dates: 9/10-10/31, 2007
    • Racking: every 6 months
    • Brix at Harvest: 25.9
    • Fining: none
    • Harvest method: 100% hand-harvested
    • Filtering: none
    • Fermentation: 12 to 15 days with UV-43
    • Bottled: April 13-25, 2009
    • Maceration: 18 to 35 days including fermentation
    • pH: 3.73
    • Total Acidity: 0.65 g/100ml
    • Alcohol: 13.5%
    • Pump overs: 2 to 4 times daily during fermentation
    • Barrels: Missouri, Minnesota
    • Malolactic fermentation: in barrel
    • Yeasts: UV-43
    • Price: $26.25
    Nose: Dark cherries, certs wintergreen action, plum skin, cocoa, licorice, slight vanilla and toast.
    Taste: Good amounts of dark fruit coming thru – plums, black cherries, blackberry with a backend of black licorice and spice. Good mouthfeel, however, a tad oaky – the oak does blow off a bit if you decant for an hour or so. Good mouthfeel and a nice lingering finish. A good effort for a California cab, however, there are cabs easily just as good for quite a bit cheaper.
    Winery Website: www.justinwine.com