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Spotlight On Cabernet Sauvignon

by Jim Gerakaris, CWE

Cabernet Sauvignon is a relative newbie in the wine world, believed to have come onto the scene about three hundred years ago from a spontaneous crossing of the much older cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc varieties on the Left Bank, the western region of Bordeaux in Southwestern France.


The climate in this region, while slightly warmer than the Right Bank, is only barely within the range of fully ripening and maturing cabernet sauvignon predictably each vintage. For this reason, the wines of the Left Bank are typically blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot, grapes that ripen at different times and do their best at different temperature ranges, assuring that excellent wine can be made in both cooler and warmer vintages.


In California, we have a warmer climate and a longer growing season, which allow us to fully ripen and mature cabernet sauvignon each vintage. As a result, areas like Napa and Paso Robles have become well known for producing varietal wines (that is, wines made only from a single grape variety), something that would only be possible in warmer vintages in cabernet’s home on the Left Bank. Optionally we can also make the traditional blends—like they do in the Bordeaux region from cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, or other varieties—which allows us to rely on the characteristics of different grape varieties to add balance and complexity when compared to varietal wines.


At JUSTIN, we fully take advantage of the growing conditions in Paso Robles to make wines like our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and PLATINUM Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which show the fruit-forward, warmer-climate, rich varietal character of cabernet with a great balance of acidity and fine tannins. We also produce traditional blends like ISOSCELES and ISOSCELES Reserve, which are more complex, balanced, and elegant wines. Explore the range of what a Paso Robles Cabernet can offer with our JUSTIN Cabernet Collection featuring our 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.