Justin Rosé 2019, Paso Robles
Cost: $19-21
A good rosé never goes out of style. The Justin Rosé 2019 from Paso Robles is proof of that.
Many wine drinkers think rosé is only for spring or summer months, but well-made rosé holds up through all kinds of weather and all kinds of food pairing.
This is a particularly well-made rosé at a good price. You can enjoy it by itself while basking in the sun on the deck, or with a good dinner on a cold day.
In the glass the wine is bright and clear, a beautiful salmon color. Even before the first sip you get inviting aromas of strawberry, crisp apple and floral notes. The flavors are rich, with strawberry, cherry and apple predominant. The wine is nicely balanced, with ripe fruit flavors and crisp acidity, making it a versatile wine with food.
The grapes are mostly syrah, whole cluster pressed and fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks.
The winery is one of the most beautiful in the region, but, of course, it is closed now because of the corona virus. But you can still enjoy a tasting with Justin’s taste at home program.
While the tasting room is temporarily closed, Certified Wine Educator and Sommelier, Jim Gerakaris, can help you create a Justin experience through their new, interactive virtual tastings.
The winery will handle the details. You can either reach into your cellar or allow Gerakaris to craft a custom flight for a future tasting. There is a form on their website, justinwine.com. Fill it out and the winery will contact you about holding your own virtual tasting. It’s a great way to be part of a fun tasting while still maintaining social distancing.
Winery:  When former investment and international banker Justin Baldwin planted his first vineyards in 1981 he was a pioneer in producing Bordeaux blends in Paso Robles. His goal was to make world-class blends, and he certainly succeeded.
His first 160 acres west of Paso Robles are still the estate vineyards, but the winery has added vineyards and also purchases grapes from other growers.
The first cab was released in 1986, along with a chardonnay. The quality and reputation of the wine has grown; Justin Isosceles (a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot similar to a classic wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank) landed at the No. 6 spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines in the world in 2000.
I came across the winery while wandering through Paso Robles on vacation a few years ago and was captivated by the beauty of the tasting room and vineyards. The wine was so good I bought a couple of cases on the spot.
It is a stunning property that now features a world-class restaurant as well as four suites where you can spend the night. The company also added an outdoor tasting bar where visitors can have lunch. It offers several tasting experiences, from their regular $35 tasting to a chocolate paired tasting to a tour and barrel tasting to a hidden cellar tasting with sommelier Jim Gerakaris for $250. There are also several other tours and tastings at various prices.
Baldwin no longer owns the winery, having it sold it to Fiji Water in 2010, but he stays involved.
For more than 30 years, Fred Holloway has helped create some of the most honored wines in California. In the 1990s, he helped produce the award-winning Artisan Series for the Jess Jackson Family. That led to other opportunities, and a bevy of high-scoring wines. Fred joined Justin in 2003, where his knowledge and commitment make him an exceptional part of the Justin team.
Paso Robles also has grown in size and reputation since the 1980s. It is widely recognized as one of the great wine-producing regions in the world and is now home to the third highest concentration of wineries in the United States. Paso and the larger Central Coast region have many fascinating wineries and smaller crowds than the more famous Napa Valley.
Paso Robles’ distinctive microclimate has the widest day-night temperature swings of any grape-growing region in California. The hot days allow the grapes to develop intense flavor, while the cool nights create great structure and balance.
The winery also produces another Bordeaux blend called Right Angle 750, a syrah/cabernet sauvignon blend called Savant, as well as syrah, tempranillo, zinfandel, malbec, petit verdot, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, viognier, a port-styled dessert wine named Obtuse and an orange muscat wine named Sunny’s Block.
The winery champions sustainable farming practices, including reducing or eliminating fertilizers and pesticides, recycling and use of solar power.
Goes with: We had this beautiful wine with fried shrimp, hush puppies and a salad. It was a very nice pairing.
When we have a shrimp dish (which is quite often) I usually go for a safe pairing of chardonnay or pinot blanc. Teri doesn’t care for most sauvignon blancs, so I try to avoid those with shrimp, though sauvignon blanc is a good shrimp wine.
I have found over the years that light rosé makes an excellent match for fish, shrimp and other seafood. The Justin rosé was an outstanding match. It’s rich fruit flavors were not overpowered by the shrimp and zesty cocktail sauce.
I soaked the shrimp in milk and coated them with a Zatarain’s fish breading. This added to the zesty flavor of the shrimp. I fried the for about 5 minutes in peanut oil heated to 350 degrees, and the shrimp came out with a good, crusty breading, but were still moist inside.
You could also try this wine with a Cobb Salad in the summertime, or with a roasted chicken seasoned with garlic, thyme and lemon when the weather gets a bit cooler.
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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