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11680 Chimney Rock Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446 USA
Toll Free: 800.726.0049
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JUST Ask Joe
Do you have a question about wine?
JUSTIN Winery Sommelier Joseph Spellman is here to answer any question JUSTIN Wine Society members have about wine.
Joe’s wine career began in 1979 as a sommelier in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars including Charlie Trotter’s. He has worked for wine wholesalers, retailers, and a prominent Napa winery. Joe is the “JUST” the second American to achieve the coveted title “Best Sommelier in the World in French Wines and Spirits” awarded in Paris in 1997. In 1998 Joe was named Bon Appetit Wine & Sprits Professional of the Year. He is a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and he conducts wine seminars across the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.
Joe is the Chairman of the selective US Court of Master Sommeliers (which has only admitted 140 people worldwide since inception!). The Court of Master Sommeliers encourages improved standards of beverage knowledge and service amongst professionals and others seeking to improve their knowledge and enjoyment of wines. The Court's charter is to further wine education worldwide.
Joe is a frequent panelist at top wine events nationwide including Aspen, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Disney Properties, and Pebble Beach. He is a member of numerous professional tasting panels including the Beverage Testing Institute, United Airlines and the Grand Jury Européen.
Now Joe is available “JUST for you”! He’s here to help you gain a better understanding of those older bottles in your cellar, make the perfect food and wine match for that special occasion; broaden your understanding of the history and practices of any wine region in the world or anything else that comes to mind.
Simply email Joe at JUSTAskJoe@JUSTINwine.com and receive your reply within a couple of days.
You can also ask your questions in person when Joe is in your area conducting his numerous “JUSTIN On the Road” Wine Society seminars and dinners.
JUST another reason to be a JUSTIN Wine Society member!
We’ll feature new questions and answers often. Check back soon for updates!
Q: I'm a huge red wine lover but have recently been getting migraine headaches after the smallest consumption of wine. Hence, I have had to completely avoid drinking red wine. A sympathizer suggested organic. Are Justin wines considered organic? I don't care about certification, I only care about minimal chemicals/added sulfites that may be causing headaches. Please give me any recommendations you may have so that I can began enjoying my beloved elixir! ~S.G.
A: Headaches are usually caused by a combination of factors, including alcohol, and in the case of red wines, histamines. Some people are extremely sensitive to them, and they can cause sinus headaches. A migraine is something entirely different, as I understand it, and someone who has chronic migraines would certainly want to limit alcohol of any kind.
Organically grown wines do not contain one iota less of the key elements that can cause headaches. They may be more earth-friendly, but not necessarily more head-friendly. Neither are sulfites a culprit, as they are found in virtually all wines, and moreso in whites than reds. They present particular challenges to sufferers of asthma.
Justin adds no “chemicals” to the soil or to the wines during production. But the winery is not “organic,” as very few are, due to extreme restrictions on inputs to soil and winery. However, many of our vineyards are now farmed biodynamically, and all sustainably.
Q: I’ve heard people describe wine as having a “floral nose” what does this mean? ~ A.S. Des Moines, IA
A: A wine that is described as having a “floral nose” has an aroma similar to a flower’s scent.
Q: What is ISOSCELES Reserve? ~ M.B. Pittsburg, PA
A: The highest expression of JUSTIN is our ISOSCELES Reserve. The classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec are beautifully integrated and have extraordinary definition of fruit and awe inspiring finish. Past vintages have enjoyed honors such as Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wine of the Year, London International Wine Competition Best Blended Wine in the World, Robert M. Parker Jr. 95 + points and more! Aged 25 months in 100% new French oak, production is limited and only Wine Society members have access to ISOSCELES Reserve. Many have called it “The Central Coast’s most collectable wine.”
Q: Tell me more about your “JUST on the Road” seminars? ~ D.S. San Diego, CA
A: We recently hosted a tasting for club members in Long Beach, CA. We will soon be conducting JUSTIN seminars in San Diego and one in Chicago. At these events you will meet members of our wine team (including Joe) and taste current and past releases matched with regional cuisines. It is our way of bringing the winery to you! Be sure to check our monthly enews for upcoming events in your area!
Joe is available to answer specific food and wine questions; questions about varieties, vintages, styles, sequences, and regions; aeration, ageability and equipment. Please try to avoid open ended or distracting questions about how to build a wine cellar, how to collect, how to become a Master Sommelier, how to get in the business, etc.