AWG Correspondent

Anthony Marocco

Justin Vineyards & Winery Photos

Justin Vineyards & Winery Review

Regions: Paso Robles AVA, Adelaida District AVA, California

Reviewed: May 5, 2014 by Anthony Marocco
Published: October 31, 2014

One of the first wines I ever tasted from Paso Robles was the Justin Cabernet Sauvignon. This rich, velvety, complex, age-worthy Cab was packed with layers upon layers of fruit, and it completely caught me off guard. When we made our excursion from Napa down to Paso, Justin Vineyards was, of course, on our list of wineries to visit.

After traveling along the farm-lined roads, we came upon the front gates of Justin Vineyards. The front gates resemble those of a private residence or a ranch. As we entered the driveway, white pergola covered the center island walkway directing patrons to the tasting room. The modern tasting room, topped with a brown-grey tin roof, is highlighted by acres upon acres of vineyards surrounding the property. As you approach the bright, welcoming building, you'll probably notice flocks of patrons enjoying the rear patio located just a few feet from the vineyards. The chic, modern interior with dark, wood floors, bistro tables, and a rectangular, metal-wrapped tasting bar welcomes those seeking a glass inside.

The facility includes a shop containing library wines and winery trinkets and sliding glass doors that separate the bistro tables from a restaurant-style setting. Glass doors lead to the multi-level patio allowing people to enjoy wine by the gorgeous vineyards. The first level of the patio contains wooden circular chairs, and the lower level contains wooden tables and chairs covered by patio umbrellas - a picturesque view to say the least. Justin finds a way to present visitors with a modern, chic, and simplistic look while maintaining a rustic feel that is harmonious with the surrounding outdoor environment.

When it comes down to it, though, what drew me to Justin was the wine - specifically the reds. In fact, until this visit, I had no idea that Justin offered whites. We began our tasting, for a modest $10 fee, with the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($13.75). Aromatic with honeysuckle and light citrus notes that tease the nose with hints of grassy character, this white boasts bright acidity, plenty of lemongrass and citrus fruit flavors, and a zesty finish. Next up on the ticket was the 2013 Rose, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ($20). A washed-out salmon color and herb and white pepper aromas greet you while the palate touts light citrus and juicy red fruit. It finishes crisp, dry, and savory.

Moving along to the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($22.50) - this is where things got interesting. This youthful Cab boasts a very fruit-forward nose loaded with black cherry, currants, sweet tobacco, and hints of ground pepper. The palate is juicy, bearing ripe, black cherry, vanilla undertones, and nuances of fresh herb that conclude dry and firm. Next up, we had the 2011 Justification ($50), a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot. Cherry cola, fresh ground coffee, and a touch of spiced oak waft upward while smooth currants and cherry dominate until mid-palate when notes of tobacco, spice, and earthy notes take over. Firm tannins are prominent in this layered, complex, red blend that finishes with scintillating peppery notes. The red train keeps on trucking with the sought-after 2011 Isosceles ($62), a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. Dark ruby with a slight purple hue, the wine boasts plum, black cherry, toasty oak, licorice, and light spice aromas. The palate is velvety smooth with black cherry, dark berry, light spice, and notes of rich cedar and smoke. It finishes long with additional notes of tobacco. This red blend is very complex and perfectly balanced.

We concluded our tasting with the 2012 Savant ($50), a blend of 70% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Petite Sirah. Intense is the first adjective that comes to mind. The jammy berry, cured meat, chocolate, and leather notes on the nose somehow mingle in perfect harmony. The palate is ensconced with juicy blackberry, vanilla, and peppery cedar undertones. It finishes with lavish notes of dark chocolate. There was no chance that this bottle was not coming home with us.

After all of the wines tasted, it was clear that the Justin Wine Society was a must-join, and we indeed look forward to our fall shipment of goodies. From the environment to the wines, this experience was matched by very few, if any, and requires anyone in the Paso Robles area to visit Justin Vineyards & Winery. You will thank me later!

Address & Contact Information: 11680 Chimney Rock Rd. Paso Robles, California 93446. Telephone: 805-238-6932, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00.

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