*Dammit To Hell

If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you know that when I write, I like having a “Muse” wine. My favorite Muse wine through the years has been Villicana Winery’s Liquid Hope Rosé. I began sipping on that when it was still unfiltered, well over a decade ago.

Pale and almost Cõtes du Provence-like in body and style, it had always been perfect for those times when I’d spend hours trying to get my thoughts straight.

Bare Land Immediately after Clearcutting
Justin’s Bare Land Immediately after Clearcutting

Unfortunately, last year they changed the grapes/blend or something. Instead of its usually shimmering pale appearance, it’s more like the color of a translucent Oregon Pinot, except that it’s much more fruity and quite assertive. Nice for an afternoon barbecue party or get-together, but it no longer functions for my Muse needs. I’ve spent the last several months searching for the ideal replacement, and while I’ve come close, nothing has quite hit the mark.

Enter Justin, the red-headed stepchild of Paso Robles.

Dammit.

They Did Bad Things – The Backstory

Just a few years ago, Justin’s new owners, enthusiastic to expand their holdings, removed 15,000 oak trees. That’s not a typo. They essentially clearcut oak trees to make room for vineyards.

The outrage was immediate and forceful. Everyone, from the residents, to the other wineries, to the elected officials, and those of us in the satellite family of Paso Robles, were infuriated. After all, “El Paso de Robles,” The Pass of the Oaks, is the actual name of Paso Robles. And Justin clearcut thousands of the city’s namesakes. Editorials decried their actions, negative press went nationwide, people began boycotting their wines, and lawsuits were filed. Pitchforks and torches weren’t far behind.

The blowup was epic.

I often get confused looks when I ask my friends what do they do with leftover wine. Apparently, that’s a foreign concept.

The impact of the fury blindsided Justin’s new owners, and to their credit, they went into immediate mea culpa mode, where they’ve largely resided ever since. They immediately realized that their example of arrogant and imperious outsiders who eschewed the history and treasures of their new neighborhood did not play well with the close-knit Paso Robles community, or even with those community members who lived elsewhere.

Justin property in remediation mode
Justin property in remediation mode

And, frankly, I haven’t bought a single bottle of Justin wine since. That said, I did accept a bottle of Isosceles Cabernet as a gift. Hey. I’m no fool…

The Tasting

A couple of weeks ago, Marché Bacchus had their usual Saturday tasting, and included in the lineup was the 2017 Justin Rosé. While I curled my lip in scorn and hoped for the worst, I tasted it and immediately swore. Why? Because it was the perfect replacement for my longed-for Muse wine. Delicious. Light. Pretty.

Dammit. Again.

Justin Rose 2017
Justin Rose 2017

It’s light, aromatic, wonderfully dry, and at only 13.5% ABV, it’s something that I can sip while writing. Guess what I’m sipping on now! What’s also important for me is that I can cap it, and it will last for a couple of days in the fridge with little change in quality. I’m not one to drink an entire bottle, which is why I often get confused looks when I ask my friends what do they do with leftover wine. Apparently, that’s a foreign concept. But I digress.

FYI, although it’s bottled in Paso, it’s labeled as “Central Coast,” which tells me that the grapes come from all over the region. That’s okay. It tastes good and supplies the vibe I want.

I bought several bottles (actually, all told, half a case), and have been very happy to once again have a light Rosé wine to have as my Muse.

But did it have to be Justin?!? Argh!

  

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