Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goofy Drinks...Justin Vineyards "The Orphan" 2005

This wine first grabbed my eye with its strange name ("The Orphan"). Then I realized that this wine was made by Justin Vineyards, a Paso Robles establishment known for their higher-priced (for me, anyway) Bordeaux-style red blends like Isosceles (about $60 retail for the 2004 release).

The tag line on the bottle explained the odd name...

"When we blend wines from our various lots each year we find there are always some who don't fit in. Rather than abandon them and deprive them of a home, we united these mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah 'Orphans' and offer them for your adoption."

You have to appreciate the Marketing folks at Justin, who probably had a conversation like this:

Marketer #1:
"Hey, we've got all this juice left that's not good enough for our primo wines, what should we do?"

Marketer #2:

"Hmmmm....I've got it! Let's mix it all together, bottle it, put a cute label on it and sell it for twelve bucks a bottle! We're geniuses. Let's go have a two-hour lunch now. Whee!"

But the price tag and the name sealed the deal for me. I get to try a high-end vineyard's wine for $12? Oh, okay...twist my arm.

I opened the bottle and poured the wine. It was a deep, dark inky color, indicative of the wines in the blend (Cab Sav and Shiraz). So far, so good.

When I swirled and smelled the wine, I knew I was in for something good. It smelled like a big, bold, standoffish Cab. I could say "berries" or "pepper", but that just wouldn't give you the full nose. If you've even been in Napa Valley during harvest-time, imagine that smell. Or if you've ever been up-close-and-personal in a winery when they have a Cabernet vat open and are working the wine, imagine that smell. It was the smell I associate with big red wines - that are yes, maybe still a little young - but that I tend to love anyway.

I did a little Happy Dance, then tasted the wine.

YUM. It did not disappoint. It tasted like the big, bold Cab that its smell alluded to. Think blackberries and plum, fruity but not sweet. It was maybe a bit TOO big. And a bit too young. But my palate still liked it. The tannins hit the back of my tongue and got it tingling at just the right speed.

Ah yes...Food! I paired this wine with:

-V's Toasted Chicken Ravioli
-Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic Pasta Sauce

This pairing ended up quite nicely. The food stood up to the wine, the wine stood up to the food. It was a very even match. I was a little perplexed about whether to do a white or red wine with this menu, but the red won, mainly because I think white wine and red pasta sauce is just wrong.

Final Bottle Status: Not empty...but only because I was eating solo! 9 out of 10 taste buds. This was a very nice wine that I will definitely buy again.

I would definitely get this wine again. I might grab a bottle and cellar it for a year, just to see what happens when the youngness wears off. If the bottle lasts that long!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi i came across ur blog through google.Sounds good. Merry christmas.