Monday, February 15, 2010

Justification 2007 of Justin Vineyards

Western Paso Robles is a great wine region. It has been called the Tuscany of California, and everyone who has travelled the region, understands why. The Santa Lucia Mountain range makes the western border of the wine growing region, and from there the rolling hills with its vineyards create a myriad of unique climate zones for the wine growers. It’s really a very good and interesting wine region.

Here, you’ll find famous wineries such as Tablas Creek Vineyards, Denner Vineyards, Booker Vineyard, Adelaida Cellers, Saxum … and Justin Vineyards. The latter was founded already in 1981, two years before Paso Robles gained its status as AVA. At that time, only a dozen wineries were in business. Today, they are close to 200!
Over the years, Justin Vineyard has grown into a full scale operation with 27 hectares of vines and a total production of 45 000 cases per year. Their most famous wine is the fabulous meritage Isosceles, made of approximately 80-85 per cent of Cabernet Sauvignon with a balance of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It’s a great wine, especially with some years of bottle age. I’ll get back to that wine in the future.
One of my favorites from Justin is the Justification, a blend obviously inspired by the great wine of Château Cheval Blanc in St-Emilion; two thirds of Cabernet Franc and one third Merlot, raised in French and some American oak barrels for 18 months.

2007 Justificaton / 92 p
I had this wine next to the great but still very young 2006 Isosceles, and I have to admit I preferred the Justification. Not at first, but after a while in the glass. It’s of course also very young, dark purple colored and intense, with a cassis scented and slightly grassy nose. I found it to be surprisingly open to be a 2007, and it was very elegant. The oak is well integrated, it’s just a hint of vanilla there, and on the palate it’s rich and fruit driven with lovely notes of cassis and blackberries, not sweet, just lush and silky, yet with a fine texture and perfectly ripe tannins. I followed the evolution of the wine for over three hours, and over time, it became even more elegant, silky and complex, even Bordeaux like. It’s a beautiful wine, and looking at the price ($62-68), it’s a stunning best buy.
Drink it 2010-2022.

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