When it comes to having a dinner party, most people create their menu, and then choose the wine. When it comes to our tasting series, we do just the opposite. The winery visits our property, and, at a round table filled with wine glasses, notepads, and a silver spit bucket, 5 of our team members taste the wines to determine the menu.
A recent visit from Emma Bzdafka of Justin & Landmark Vineyards looked a little something like this:
Justin is a remarkable winery known for their world-class Bordeaux-style blends. When investment banker Justin Baldwin purchased 160 acres of land in Paso Robles back in 1981, there were only a handful of wineries in the region. Now, Paso Robles is as widely recognized as a superior US wine region as Napa Valley—due in great part to Justin’s influence. It wasn’t until 1986 that Justin bottled, labeled, and sold his first wine. And that triangle-shaped logo? Justin Baldwin was trying to figure out names for his wines by flipping through a dictionary and dog-earing all of the pages. When he was narrowing it down, he flipped through the book and saw the triangles he had created on the tops of the pages and decided that was the perfect design for his label!
BTW, did we mention that in 2000 Wine Spectator ranked the 1997 ISOSCELES the 6th-best wine in the world?
So what did Emma bring us to taste?
2013 Justin Sauvignon Blanc
Not your New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc, this one has more melon notes than grapefruit, and enough acidity to hold its own with food.
Chef's ideas: Wild Salmon—it's great timing for wild salmon because there's not a lot of fat content, so it won't overpower the wine.
2012 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay
Aged in French oak barrels for 10 months, the palate is white peach, chalk, and citrus—a very refreshing wine.
Chef's ideas: squash blossoms, mild blue goat cheese, and grilled tomatoes.
2012 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir
The 2012 was Justin's first vintage of this wine. It is medium-bodied with grilled strawberry & bing cherry flavors balanced with softly integrated tannins.
Chef's ideas: a rotisserie? 'Piglets' with prunes and foie gras? Or a trio of cheek, rib, and butt? We guess he's still thinking on this one.
2012 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon
This is what Emma describes as a crowd-pleaser—the wine everyone likes, “feminine”, and a classic Justin product.
Chef's ideas: a “401” plate—use ALL local products (401 is Rhode Island’s area code, in case you were wondering). Beef slider with homemade spicy pickle, “saugy” with homemade spicy mustard (slang for a Rhode Island-made sausage), and an Olneyville hot dog (a local RI hot dog maker).
Hot dogs & cabernet? You won't find any pretention here.
2011 Justin Isosceles Reserve
Only the “1997 best Bordeaux on the planet”, and most well-known wine of Justin.
Chef's ideas: it needs "fat"—bone marrow, beef from Kobe & Piedmont (Japan & Italy respectively).
2011 Justin Obtuse
Made using the same method as traditional Port (fortified with Brandy), but instead features Cabernet Sauvignon, Justin's hallmark grape variety.
Chef's ideas: dessert—something with sour cherries and chocolate.
So what is the official menu designed to fit these wines? Come find out on April 19th-and you'll get to taste the wines, too.
Justin & Landmark Vineyards Food & Wine Experience
- Sunday, April 19th, 2015
- 6 wines paired with 6 courses from Chef Thomas Duffy at The Spiced Pear Restaurant
- $98 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
- Advance reservations required: 401-847-1300