Mon 27 Aug 2012
Looking for a real mouthful of old-fashioned cabernet sauvignon? Fitting that description is the Justin Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Paso Robles, made from 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes, aged 18 months in American oak barrels, 28 percent new. The winery was established by Justin Baldwin in 1981, when there were about 10 wineries in Paso Robles. Justin’s reputation lies mainly in several levels of cabernet sauvignon, but the winery also makes an excellent sauvignon blanc. Winemaker is Scott Shirley. FIJI Water bought the winery in December 2010. (Mark the new label design: sleek, elegant, a little dangerous.)
The color is an almost opaque dark ruby tending even unto black. Aromas of black pepper, black olive and leather unfurl to reveal notes of intense and concentrated black currants, black cherries and plums that exude an aura of slightly exotic spice and dried Mediterranean herbs; then come the palate-challenging tannins, robust and grainy; the tongue-tingling acidity, vivacious and essential; the black fruit flavors, saturated by graphite, lavender, leather and loam-like earthy elements. It all adds up to real presence and tone in a wine that would benefit from a year or two of aging — or would probably be great right now with a medium rare rib-eye steak, hot and crusty from the grill. A mannerly 13.9 percent alcohol. Sort of now through 2016 to ’18. Excellent. About $26.
A sample for review.
Thursday, August 30, has been declared World Cabernet Day — you know how these things go, like “The Month of Sauvignon Blanc” or “The Year of Riesling” — and I usually ignore such feats of marketing prowess and go about my merry old way, I mean, it’s not as if cabernet doesn’t have its champions or enviable recognition, but since I have a back-log of cabernets that I need to write about, I decided to be a good sport and try to review as many cabs as I can this week. I’ll celebrate World Cabernet Day in my own way, thank you very much.