Juicy American Wagyu Strip and a dark and sultry Cabernet blend only represented one course of the five I was lucky enough to enjoy recently at a JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery dinner hosted by Fleming’s Steakhouse in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami. It was an evening to match any of the top wine dinners I’ve attended over the years. No surprise, as the Fleming’s Brickell location has elevated the restaurant brand to not only include the reputation as a prime steakhouse, but also a trendy, want-to-be-seen-here wine bar and foodie destination.
The JUSTIN Dinner
From the moment that diners entered the private dining room, we all immediately knew that it would be a top-notch event. Sparkling wine awaited, though not JUSTIN’s; it was Roederer, and teased our palates just perfectly. The candle-lit tables were adorned by rose petals, wine bottles, triangular black boxes containing a wine called ISOSCELES, and a regal decanter full of red beverage on top of the display, like a king on his throne. The anticipation of the coming courses settled comfortably in the room.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Joseph Spellman, Master Sommelier, who works with the JUSTIN brand. He would be our guide through this taste journey, and we began the experience.
Chilled Peach Soup
Fresh Goat Cheese
JUSTIN, Rosé Central Coast, 2017
I can’t quite stop thinking about this rosé. The soft pink flavors and the lively acidity that so wonderfully mellowed the slight spice of this tangy, full-bodied, fruit-based soup.
Caper cream cheese baguette
JUSTIN, Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast, 2017
You may have read bout JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc in one of my Biscayne Times articles, because this was the Sauvignon Blanc that turned me from Team New Zealand to Team California, or at least Team JUSTIN. A well-balanced white wine that is not over-powering in grassy tones. Just enough citrus to blend with the Trout in your mouth for a spectacular seafood sensation.
American Wagyu Block Cut Strip
JUSTIN, ISOSCELES Cabernet Blend Paso Robles, 2015
Admittedly, this course stopped me in my tracks. Atop of the block cut piece of American Wagyu was the most picture-perfect dollop of truffle butter covered in gold. Fleming’s definitely took steak to the next level with this one. The Wagyu was pink and juicy, and buttery truffle gold slid effortlessly throughout the crevices with each cut. A sip of ISOSCELES along with a bite of beef, and the wine quickly went to work. Tannins binding to the fat of the meat, firmly guiding the flavor throughout the palate. Deep, dark fruit of the Cabernet Sauvignon dancing with the savory meat; a tango with the pepper of both the Cabernet Franc and savor of the steak. ISOSCELES is not a wine you take lightly, so give it a strong partner, a match in the mouth, and enjoy the show.
Cabernet Short Ribs
Squash purée, roasted corn
JUSTIN, JUSTIFICATION Red Blend Paso Robles, 2015
Though subtler in structure than the ISOSCELES, JUSTIFICATION graciously accompanies the tender sous-vide meat like a well-intentioned friend. Mostly Cabernet Franc, this wine shows off its complexity by expressing rich dark fruit intertwined with vanilla, spice, and fragrant cedar. Where ISOSCELES needs an equal match, JUSTIFICATION can tackle the meat, and play to the softness of the purée. No justification needed for enjoying this wine.
If you were lucky enough at this point, you still had some of your wine from the evening to sip as the dinner started winding down. However, even if your glass was empty, we still had one more plate to enjoy.
The Pumpkin Cheesecake melted in the mouth with every bite. With soft and sweet whipped cream on top, this delectable slice of pie maintained the zest of the meal with its creamy texture and savory pumpkin flavor. Though we all knew the meal was ending, Chef Carlos Sanz left us all with one hell of a tasty goodnight.
Don’t be shy about asking for JUSTIN wine next time you dine at Fleming’s…or anywhere for that matter.