We had another one of those really unique and interesting experiences recently that we wanted to share with you, but it will be divided into three parts on this blog. Part 1 will cover the wine and winery tour, part 2 will cover the food, and part 3 will cover the inn where we were fortunate enough to stay. This outing all started with Annie winning a dinner at the Justin Vineyards and Winery restaurant on the radio, it then became a full-fledged overnight adventure when a good friend of ours (Glenn along with his boss Tracy) worked his magic…and wow, much gratitude to Glenn, Tracy, and the entire Justin staff!
Prior to diving into Part 1 on the wine and the wine tour, I wanted to say that we will not only talk about the “goods” (aka the wine, the food, etc.) but we will also talk about the vibe and the customer service. I feel it necessary to discuss the customer service because we have heard on occasion that some people have had experiences at Justin where they walked away feeling that the service was a little snobby. This was our fourth visit there, our second time eating and our first time staying overnight and visiting the club member’s area called the Wine Society…and we have yet to have anything except a great time, both with the service and the products.
Part 1 – Justin Vineyards and Winery
Upon arrival to the tasting room and restaurant we were greeted immediately once we walked in, which is huge in our book…acknowledging the consumer is key. It’s especially important at Justin because you go in to the same door and front desk area to head to the tasting room, the restaurant, or check in to the inn; so giving the consumer direction is important and they did that!
Once we found out where we were supposed to be going we headed over to the wine club member’s area, called The Wine Society, and met up with Glenn. After chatting for a bit and meeting the staff in this tasting area (they continued the theme from the front desk, they were great) we enjoyed the picnic that Annie had packed prior to taking the tour.
As you’ll see from the photos the tour was pretty cool. Glenn had tons of information about Justin Winery, from how and when it started all the way through to the current days and winemaking processes. One of the highlights was walking through the caves and seeing the Isosceles Library, which has Isosceles wines going back to 2000…pretty sure that’s the earliest one I remember seeing. I think caves just add an interesting appeal to the overall winery experience and the Justin Vineyards and Winery caves were no different…well worth touring so if you have the opportunity, let us know what you think!
What’s on the wine menu?
The day we were there the menu was as follows:
2010 Reserve Chardonnay – delicious, not too much oak
2009 Reserve Tempranillo – chocolate, tobacco, smokey nose, good fruit
2009 Justification (67% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot) – great mouth feel, silky, tannic, yet friendly
2009 Isosceles (94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3%Merlot) – dried cherry nose, rich nose, smooth and complex- Delish!
2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – a bit young and tannic, fruit and pepper
We got to taste some of their other wines, too such as:
2010 Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Isosceles Reserve – full, fruity, delish, incredible
2009 Savant (68% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon) – nice, smooth, but full
Overall it is a VERY strong group of wines we tasted. Justin Winery is definitely one of those places where everyone can find at least one (if not many) wine on the menu that they love. I was the most turned on by the Viognier and Chardonnay due to my love of good whites, but also of the ’09 Justification, ’09 Isosceles, and ’08 Isosceles reserve.
Justin Winery produces about 100,000 cases and has roughly 160 acres planted currently (JUSTIN Estate Vineyard + DeBro Vineyard).
Justin does biodynamic, environmentally friendly vineyard practices, with lots of owl boxes. They don’t spray sulfur, but use oils and other natural elements. They are not certified but they do observe the practice.
Their cover crops are rotated each year: barley, wheat, peas, legumes, etc.
The vineyards sport strong calcareous soils, cool nights and warm days…good for growing Cab.
The Isosceles Center was built in 2001.
Justin is the closest winery to the Pacific ocean in Paso Robles.
The caves are built into the hillside, and serve as their main barrel storage.
So, did you get all that? Justin Vineyards and Winery is an incredibly beautiful, well maintained and staffed place to go and enjoy the good life. When I say good life, I mean all the good stuff, like wine, food and views! So, pack a picnic or make a reservation at the restaurant and get on out here for a little taste!