Justin Baldwin

When you think of the finest wines to come out of Paso Robles, Justin Vineyards should be at or near the top of the list. Justin Baldwin launched the iconic winery after planting the first vines in 1981. Although he sold the winery years back, he remains a fixture and recently hosted a virtual tasting of three superb wines from his cellar. I was fortunate enough to taste along.

Justin’s knowledge and appreciation for wine is evident, and he exudes passion discussing it. He selected three wines for this intimate event, all from the 2017 vintage. The first bottle we opened was Right Angle. A Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux blend, it includes Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot. Deep purple in the glass, it boasts a heavenly nose mostly of dark cherry. On the palate, it’s loaded with ripe red and black fruits. It has a lingering finish and is extremely reasonably priced at $35.

We next tasted Savant, Justin’s Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. At 65% Syrah, this is a hearty blend with deep red/purple color and an enticing nose. Barrel-aged for 21 months in French oak, 53% new, both varieties shine. There’s smoke and black pepper, and lots of dark berries. The mouthfeel is round and it has a lingering and satisfying finish. $50.

Justin then had us taste his Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon barrel-aged 17 months in French Oak, 66% new, this is a particularly satisfying wine. Deep and rich in color with notes of black cherry and chocolate on the nose, it was the perfect ending to a memorable hour. There’s lots of black cherry, along with tobacco leaf and vanilla in the mouth. This was one of the finest Cabs I’ve enjoyed in some time. At $58, it’s a remarkable value.

If you ever get the opportunity to taste with Justin Baldwin, virtually or otherwise, I recommend you jump on it. Cheers!