The $14 Justin sauvignon blanc is a step up from most of its cheaper brethren, and worth the extra money
What’s the difference between a $10 wine and a $15 wine? Usually, save for a more marketing-friendly front label, not much. This is one of the curses of premiumization, in which we pay more for wine that is not appreciably better.
Sometimes, though, as with the Justin sauvignon blanc ($14, sample, 14.5%), there is a difference worth paying for. The Justin, a white wine from Paso Robles in California, is a step up from most $10 sauvignon blancs, including my favorites. It’s a little more full and round, with white fruit and even some tropical fruit to balance the usual citrus. Most less expensive sauvignon blancs don’t have that, and their one-note grapefruit gets old after a glass or two.
About the very high alcohol: Most of the time, high alcohol white wines that aren’t chardonnay use the extra couple of points of alcohol to simulate chardonnay, in the belief that consumers prefer chardonnay even if they’re drinking something else. This wine, though, still tastes like sauvignon blanc, and the extra alcohol doesn’t get in the way.
In this, the Justin sauvingon blanc is still balanced, fresh, and varietally correct. That rarely happens with a 14.5 percent white wine and is a testament to the winemaker’s skill – very ripe fruit, but not so ripe as to make the wine something it shouldn’t be.