Dark garnet with no edge. Raw beef and mild earth, heady and plush. Gobs of sweet oak vanilla and toasted anise. Nothing terribly complex or overt, just an over-riding elegance and deep, rich fruit–miserably ripe–toasted and round and all confined in an inescapable sweet oak. This is my favorite Justin and although it often lacks the verve of Isosceles, I find the meritoriousness of its pure spice and decadence more interesting than the Cab-dominated offering. Calling this thing “Right-bank” OR calling iSauce “Left-bank” is a misnomer on both counts, although I *get* the importance of attempting to educate American consumers on the difference. I have never had a Pomerol which tastes like Justification just as I have never had a BDX which tasted like iSauce. Both are Paso Robles interpretations designed for early-entry and each showing a decided lack of acid. A handful of Napa Valley ME’s can drink like Justification, Nickel & Nickel, Duckhorn, Raymond Reserve, Shafer… but they are straight ME’s and never as ripe or alcoholic, and none of them have a majority CF ingredient. I do not get too much of a classic CF profile out of this wine–and this 2013 is one of the most un-nuanced offerings of this label I have experienced. The whole package is flat and round, dangerously toying with flabby and oxidized–thanks to an obvious lack of acid and a whopping 15-0 AL. A saving grace of bitter greens and sultry spice redeem it. Decanted heavily–probably an unnecessary effort, considering the marketable drinkability of this 2YO wine. In the mouth, voluptuous dark cherry, tar and slight pepper–mostly AL burn–plays along with a surprising and welcome wilted celery and fried parsnip: vegetal situations Paso Cab producers typically avoid like the plague. Welcome tannin and what one can only hope is the CF-pepper-quotient take over mid-palate, and dense fruit and structure dance together through the long finish. “Long aging will reward” is something I would be highly skeptical of. This fat bish has 5 years tops before the ample AL and fairly unsophisticated velvet fruit start singing the song MANY red Paso, Edna and Santa Barbara offerings relish in at this extraction-level. Still, it is wonderful to drink RIGHT NOW!
2013 JUSTIN Justification Paso Robles ME/CF 58/42 15-0