Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Two from Meyye Wines

This week I’m back with more California new releases, including some well-known names and new-to-me producers.

Justin’s Paso Robles-based wines are widely available and they have a diverse lineup. I have three of their staples this week that would be great for this late summer, vacation-y time. A Far Niente Cab brings a lot of Napa goodness at a reasonable price, and I also have one of the best bargain California Pinots I’ve found to date in The Pinot Project’s offering.

This is my first dive into Meyye Wines, and I’m already a huge fan. Immediately, I knew something was different with this producer. As a wildlife photographer and bird nerd, the intricate labels embossed with local birds drew me in, and the wines include the names of the birds in the Coast Miwok language. And the wine inside the bottle is just as excellent as I was hoping. Winemaker Rob Campbell — a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coastal Miwok/Southern Pomo) — launched this project after working with Story Winery in Amador County until 2019, realizing his long-time dream to found a winery honoring his heritage.

“I’m intentionally using the Coast Miwok language since the language was considered ‘officially dead’ in the past, but my people are making a concerted effort to restore it,” Campbell says. “In addition to being ultra-premium wines that taste great, it’s my small way of preserving our language by sharing with native and non-native people alike.” These small production wines are available from the winery’s site, and soon some restaurants, and certainly worth checking out.

These wines were all received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2022 Justin Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $18
Medium yellow color. A vibrant pop on the nose of gooseberry, white peach, orange peel, along with peach blossom, honey, tropical flowers, and honeysuckle. The palate has a juicy and rich texture with flavors of white peach, honey-glazed pears, drizzled with some lemon juice, a ripe yet balanced appeal. Floral and perfumed with honeysuckle, orchard fruit blossoms galore, along with some celery seed and mint tones. Fun, vibrant, fresh, quite complex and a solid bargain. (88 points IJB)

2022 Justin Vineyards Rosé – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $20
The color of ripe watermelon and peach. The palate shows a bright mix of white raspberry, peaches, wild strawberries, with tones of chalk dust, sea salt, some crushed sweet tart and flinty/herbal vibes. The palate sports chunks of pineapple, slices oranges, mango, lime juice, delightful stuff, along with floral, perfumed nuances and tones of white pepper, mint, and celery seed. A base of whole-cluster Syrah, super fun and crowd-pleasing, but complex as well. (90 points IJB)

2020 Justin Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $30
Vibrant purple color. The nose shows suave plums and currants, laced with smoky earth and coffee, notes of pepper, roasted red pepper, some roasted chestnut, hints of dark chocolate. Juicy and ripe on the palate with sweet tannins, a pleasantly chewy feel, with moderated acidity. Flavors of juicy plums, raspberry jam, with currant jam, and the fruit is mixed with tones of anise, tobacco, sage, along with coffee, mocha, and anise cookie. Fun and ripe but nuanced and balanced, too. Great grill-out, crowd-pleasing Cab at a reasonable price. Aged 14 months in 25% new American oak. (89 points IJB)

2021 The Pinot Project Pinot Noir USA, California
SRP: $13
Light ruby color. Ripe and fun on the nose with fresh strawberries, raspberries, some cherry pie, topped in sliced rhubarb, some white pepper, bay leaf, tobacco nuances. Juicy and fresh on the palate with soft tannins and medium acidity.
Available nationwide, it’s rare to find a Pinot Noir of this price point that taste this real and expressive. Great…

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Wine Reviews: California New Releases Wine Reviews: California New Releases *Wine Reviews: California New Releases