Beautiful, deep ruby core with a lighter ruby/purple rim. Aromas of rich red and black fruit of cherry, ripe strawberry and black currant, framed by subtle vanilla and brown spice with cedar, tobacco and pencil shaving highlights. On the palate, bright red cherry, black currant and a touch of strawberry jam framed by leather, cedar and graphite with background spice of vanilla, cinnamon and just a touch of white pepper. The finish is exceptionally balanced and complex with subtle, lingering fruit that makes you want another sip.
Blend: 64% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot
Justin and Deborah Baldwin acquired their land in 1981 and planted 72 acres in vineyards that same year. Initially they were wine growers, selling to other wineries. Then, in 1987, they harvested their first grapes bottled under the Justin label. Justin Winery concentrates on two Bordeaux styled red wines: Isoscleles, which is a 100% estate blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and Justification, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Varietals are planted to specific soil types on their hillside vineyards 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the Central Coast.
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The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.