Brian Demay’s Wine Wednesday: Justin Cabernet Sauvignon

I have been on a Paso Robles kick lately. It seems every wine I try lately from this storied region along California’s Central Coast has been excellent. I have mentioned on this blog before how important it is for grapes to be able to cool down at night to preserve freshness and acidity. The term for this is diurnal shift, and Paso Robles offers the widest day-night temperature swings of any grape-growing region in California! Ideally, your grapes get warm and dry conditions during the day, and cooler temps at night. Flavor develops during the day, structure, balance and crispness develop at night, and you need both for optimal grape ripening.

Someone who knows this probably better than anyone is Justin Baldwin, who bought 160 acres in Paso Robles way back in 1981, and has made quite a name for himself ever since, even winning Wine Enthusiast magazine’s American Winery of the Year award in 2016.

Justin has a long history of producing quality, award-winning wines, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is reliably delicious, year after year.

The 2017 Justin Cabernet is very aromatic with notes of earth, vanilla, strawberry and black currant. Pull the cork and you’ll enjoy soft flavors of ripe cherry, raspberry, and more black currant, but this is a bold, dry wine with baking spices, cinnamon and nice firm tannins which balances the fruit. I liked Justin’s 2016 Cab, but the 2017 is even better.

For 30+ years, the Justin Cabernet has been a solid go-to red that’s great with a variety of foods from pasta to burgers to pizza, not to mention steak. This is a really nice dinner wine at a reasonable price.

On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2017 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon gets four corks! If you haven’t picked up a bottle of Justin yet, let this be your incentive. I would have put the rating at 4.25 corks, were it not for the price: around $24 a bottle, although I found this bottle at $21 on sale.

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party coming soon! I host a wine dinner every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!

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