A few years back I was introduced to JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon by friends and neighbors. It is a dry and powerful wine that sells very well for us in the store. Usually priced in the $20.00 range it is one I recommend often to customers looking for this type of Cab.
With a price range of $60-$75.00 Justin’s the ISOSCELES was often on my radar or I should say on my wish list. Not an everyday drinker for me but a special occasion wine who’s cork was recently popped.
Justin Vineyards and Winery is located in Paso Robles appellation of California’s Central Coast. Per their website the “appellation encompasses more than 600,000 acres and is the largest stand alone AVA in California.” Impressive news to me a big fan of wines from this region. “The region’s first grapes were planted in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries and today are home to the third highest concentration of wineries in the United States.” When owner Justin Baldwin began with 160 acres in 1981 only 10 wineries existed in the area. Fast forward to 2013 and being recently named one of the best 75 wineries to visit by FOOD & WINE.
The winemakers refer to ISOSCELES as a “left bank” Bordeaux style wine. The 2009 vintage, now mostly sold out, was an unfiltered blend of; 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot.
The 2009 growing season began early due to a very warm spring. An early April frost affected parts of Paso Robles, but we were relatively unaffected. Consistently warm summer weather segued into a moderate early fall with some rain, but the vines shrugged off the water retaining great fruit concentration and flavor. Balanced weather through the fall allowed us to pick by flavor profiles without any concerns about excessive temperatures and as a result, our red wines from this vintage show incredible density and power of varietal expression. The style of the 2009 vintage is flashy and intense.
Maturation was over a period of 24 months in 225L French oak barrels (Bertrange, Allier, Center of France); 64% new barrels. The bottling period was Dec. 12-21, 2011 with a release date of May 1, 2012.
My first observations were as follows: no alcohol on the nose, but plenty of earthiness, dark fruit sweetness [noted as ripeness] and oak. Along with glass tinting slow legs which surprised me because of the noted lack of alcohol on the nose. Alcohol reportedly at 15.5% by volume.
On the palate a dark fruit forward blast on the first sip which softened in minutes. Medium body with mid-level yet mouth covering tannins. At the one hour mark I noted better defined new wood on the nose, clove/licorice and fig. Pepper, vanilla/spices and dark fruit [raisin/prune] on the palate.
I can see why Wine Spectator rated the 2009 ISOSCELES 93 points. This is what I would refer to as one Easy Drinker! Next on my Justin wish list? The 2010 ISOSCELES for comparison and Justin’s JUSTIFICATION, just because. ¡SALUD!
93 Points Wine Spectator: “Offers a tight, generous mix of raspberry, wild berry and pomegranate. This is pure and focused, gaining depth and velocity, ending with a long, persistent finish.” Drink now through 2022.” 9,000 cases made.
Winemaker tasting notes:
Appearance: Dark ruby in the glass with a violet rim.
Aroma: An alluring, rich mix of ripe black currants and berries faceted with vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa highlights.
Palate: Full bodied, complex black fruit of lush currants, and cherry layered with licorice and vanilla spice with chocolate, roasted coffee, and tobacco. The finish is extremely long and complex, showing firm plush tannins that bring everything together making it easy to drink it now, but implying a great future.
Below is a chart and/or link to a chart that shows Justin wines by production. I was impressed to find this on their website.
- Brady’s Bunches: Robert Hall Winery (intoxreport.com)
- The top zins and cabs of Sonoma (miamiherald.com)