Saturday, January 3, 2015

Report from ... Joseph Carr Wine Tasting & Dinner - August 27, 2014

This evening we meet with one Joseph Carr, the man who started the very popular Josh Cellars, which was named after his father -  the nickname that was given to him during his stock car racing days.  From the press release, "Growers that I call friends all helped craft our first vintage of Josh Cellars, a 'winemaker's wine' we first made for each other.  Now sourcing from vineyards across the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Mendocino County and the Central Coast of California, we make wines for your friends and family that honour that first vintage, rich and complex, but always approachable."  Tonight we see if Joseph Carr can live up to his mission statement all while having a lovely dinner at Biff's Bistro and listening to the man tell his stories.

Joseph Carr ...
At 18 years of age he became a wine steward at a fine French restaurant
he went home and told his father, "Dad, I'm a sommelier!"; to which his
father replied, "Don't talk like that in front of your mother."
He was a restaurant sommelier for about ten years (from age 20-30),
became a Master Sommelier (level 2) at age 23
He then began to work for Wolf Blass is Australia and started from the bottom,
by 39 he had become the president of Wolf Blass and helped start the Greg Norman brand ...
then he quit at age 42, moved back to California and began making wine at Freemark Abbey.

The Wines ... from Josh Cellars to Joseph Carr eponymous label

Established his Joseph Carr line of wines in 2005.  Started up the Josh line in 2007 and released the first wines under the Josh label in 2009.  Today they sell some 500,000 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon alone, making it the number one Cabernet in the USA (just three years after starting).  The Joseph Carr wines seem to be the more serious of the wines, the Josh are all about enjoyment.

Josh Cellars 2012 Chardonnay ($17.95)
A basic Chardonnay that shows a creaminess and
more than a decent bit of fruit (*** 1/2)
Josh Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir ($21.95)
Lots and lots of cherry especially on the nose, but then
it shows earthy character on the finish with black cherry
and hints of cranberry also lending a hand (*** 1/2+)
Josh Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95)
Smooth and easy with lots of cherry and blackberry (*** 1/2+)

Josh Cellars 2012 Legacy ($21.95)
A blend of Merlot, Zinfandel Syrah and Petite Sirah.
A kitchen sink blend of wines not put into other programs.
Easy drinking with a sweet mid-palate, plum, vanilla, black cherry,
and raspberry - pure pleasure on the palate (****)
Joseph Carr 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (36,000 cases)
96% Cabernet Sauvignon - 4% Merlot
Nose ... cassis, black cherry, chocolate, vanilla and anise
Taste ... juicy with cassis and blackberry; fruity yet with dryness
and acidity that makes the wine a pure joy to drink (**** 1/2)
Joseph Carr 2012 Merlot (8,000 cases)
96% Merlot - 2% Cabernet Sauvignon - 2% Cabernet Franc
Nose ... blueberry, raspberry, cocoa and anise
Taste ... smooth, clean, hint of smoky-vanilla, blueberry,
cassis with a touch of a cigarette finish (****+)

Joseph Carr 2012 Chardonnay (4,000 cases)
100% Chardonnay - aged in neutral new French oak
Nose ... mineral, apple, hint of butter along with vanilla and pineapple
Taste ... mineral, apple seed, lemon zest; there's a real nice delicacy here
that's very pleasant along with a palate that has quite a bit of weight (****)
It was one of those evenings - no tie required ...
Here we have a picture of Joseph Carr without his tie,
which he was a little leery to remove; this is rather a big deal,
will stock prices take a tumble? Time will tell.

The Dinner ... at Biff's Bistro

Smoked Trout
w/ pumpernickel croutons, herb creme fraiche, apple & fennel
Filet Mignon
w/ smoked eggplant puree, sarladaise potatoes & red wine jus
Chocolate Tart
w/ peanuts & vanilla chantilly

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