We've Gone Platinum
by Scott Shirley
Most JUSTIN fans know we love our Bordeaux-style blends: JUSTIFICATION, ISOSCELES, and ISOSCELES Reserve, each of which is a premium red blend in the JUSTIN portfolio. In addition to our JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon and the revered Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, it made sense to bottle a “third” Cabernet Sauvignon, on par with ISOSCELES Reserve.
Enter EIGHTY ONE. A wine of this caliber should stand apart from the typical “weeknight” bottle and make the drinker consider which special occasion will merit opening the next one! In 2011, we released EIGHTY ONE as a tribute to the first plantings of cabernet sauvignon on the JUSTIN estate, which was founded in 1981. A special, limited-release wine, EIGHTY ONE was always intended to be a four-vintage program.
After four vintages of EIGHTY ONE, we have determined the desired attributes required in crafting a trophy Cabernet. Now, on the 30th anniversary of our signature JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon, we are releasing PLATINUM Reserve. The 2015 vintage is the inaugural release of PLATINUM Reserve. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and consists of my favorite barrels from the best barrel lots. Not necessarily from the same vineyard block each vintage, PLATINUM Reserve is the purest expression of Cabernet Sauvignon achieved each year.
Each bottle is decorated in platinum, a prized precious metal which suitably illustrates the scarcity of this limited production.
2015 required multiple passes walking through vineyard blocks when making picking decisions to ensure ripeness across the blocks. This attention to detail was carried through each step of the winemaking process to further elevate the distinctive character of Cabernet Sauvignon. Each pick was kept separate in its own tank and tasted daily to determine the optimal day to drain and press. The free run was kept separate from the press fraction and barreled down into individual lots to be evaluated after harvest. Over one hundred barrel lots were tasted blind before beginning the bottling exercise and only the finest barrels are selected. Some lots, from smaller vineyard parcels, were as few as four barrels while larger lots consisted of as many as twenty-five barrels.
It was essential to find barrel lots that had the power and intensity to support twenty-four months of barrel aging in 100% new French oak. The cabernet sauvignon with the darkest fruit character and ample tannin structure was shortlisted for consideration in the blend. Specific barrel types within each lot were handpicked for inclusion in the PLATINUM Reserve. Twenty-four months of bottle aging prior to release helps ensure that all components have had ample time to marry and integrate, but additional time in the bottle will surely be rewarded!
As a winemaker, I do not wish to be restricted to a single vineyard site. The PLATINUM Reserve is quite simply the very best expression of this grape variety, given the vintage’s growing conditions and all possible microclimates within the Paso Robles appellation. This is the pinnacle. Surmount the ordinary and realize the full potential of Paso Cabernet: the exalted bottling known now as PLATINUM Reserve.
PLATINUM Reserve will begin pre-selling in June and allocations will be available this November. For more information on obtaining an allocation of PLATINUM Reserve or securing a spot on the waiting list, please contact the Wine Society at 805.591.3200 or [email protected]