Just wait. 3 years has passed since I first joined the Justin Wine Society. Almost 1 year has passed since I had to let the club go due to a budgetary lap band Carey and I had to swallow. This was also at the exact time I was unknowingly being mailed my congratulatory letter and Isosceles Reserve annual purchase certificate—documented well here. But it was not to be. At some point I will get back on that list, straight to the back of the line. But, during that time I put together a nice little collection of Justin wines.
Carey and I have long since drank off the less costly edges of my little collection, leaving the reserve and small production bottles to sit—and that is where they will stay. I am very sure of that now.
Around the same time, I picked up a 2001 Isosceles from WineBid.com. I did this after tasting a very young Isosceles. I enjoyed the wine, but at the same time, I felt like I didn’t enjoy the wine as much as I should have. A friend of mine had a few similar experiences. It wasn’t until a few days ago, after seeing another couple of young, disjointed Isosceles sputter a bit On WineLibraryTV, I said, “we’re drinking this wine too young, it’s time for the 2001.” Not that this is some kind of revelation, but we just don’t come across many California wines that aren’t ready to go right out of the gate, let alone require a decade to turn into something sensational.
In 2004, the Wine Spectator told me I had until 2009 to get this 89-point bottle open—today, many of the most recent reviews on CellarTracker.com said the ’01 is just getting going. While this is the first time I’ve had this wine, I would have to agree with the revised estimates.
Incredible color, dazzling ruby/raspberry, not a hint of age-appropriate tarnish. Sweet dried fruit, the slightest hint of soy and hickory smoked meat on the nose. Strikingly cool minerality, as if run through stones. Wrapped with mint and coffee liqueur. There is even a touch of green vegi still on the palate.
Wonderfully cool mouthfeel, melted tannins, and a core of distinct, ripe black fruit—integrated, mellow oak. Purposeful, organized, and long.
“So, any final thoughts on this past-peak, 89-point graveyard bottle?” If I were an armchair Wine Spectator point criticizer I’d adjust that rating. But I won’t patronize; that initial rating is probably the only reason why someone put it up for sale in the first place. My win.