In his former life, Joseph Carr was a 10-year sommelier and 10-year wine industry executive who decided to strike out on his own and create his own brand. In 2005, Joseph Carr Wine was born, producing wines from Napa Valley, Carneros, and the Sonoma Coast at Larson Family Vineyards. In 2009, Eric Asimov of the New York Times named Carr as a “producer to watch” and described his offerings as “wines of balance and restraint.” Carr has since partnered with Tom Larson to bring us his self-proclaimed “vin de garage,” his second label wines named Josh Cellars after his father. As states Carr, “A wine I made for Josh, my dad and my hero.” Grapes for the wines are sourced from sustainable and organic vineyards throughout California, including Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The wines are produced using traditional French winemaking techniques and are both approachable and affordable, with prices ranging from around $9.00-$15.00 per bottle (wine.com and snooth.com).
This holiday season, Josh Cellars has partnered with Operation Homefront. For every bottle sold between November 1 and December 31, 2013, Josh Cellars will donate $1.00 per bottle up to $50,000 in support of the members of our military and their families. According to the Operation Homefront website, “To get RELIEF during a crisis, a place to RECOVER if you need it and a little bit of RECOGNITION for a life of sacrifice. That’s what we do at Operation Homefront… and it’s making a difference.”
I had the opportunity to sample a couple of Josh Cellars’ offerings due to the generosity of Josh Cellars and their communications company, Cone Communications. Below are my thoughts.
2012 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $13.99, screw-cap closure): This is a very nice, affordable option for those who prefer a light, citrusy, and fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a pale straw color with citrus and floral aromas, flavors of lemon and lime followed by a kiss of melon, stone fruits, and tropical fruits, and mouthwatering acidity. If you want more of the sweeter fruit flavors to come through, allow the wine to warm a bit before serving. I’ve had quite a few Sauvignon Blancs at higher price points, but this Sauvignon Blanc is right up there with those in terms of quality and varietal characteristics.
2011 Merlot (SRP $14.99, cork closure): This Merlot is a great price-to-quality wine. I could not believe the price when I researched it. It’s garnet-colored with medium body, luscious, juicy flavors of bing cherries, black cherries, and raspberries, chocolate/cocoa/mocha undertones, and nice acidity on the medium finish. Put the bottle in your refrigerator for about 20 minutes and more of that chocolate quality is revealed.
As someone on a budget, I appreciate quality wines that I can afford to bring to my table and share with family and friends. Josh Cellars is that kind of producer, one who creates handcrafted wines for all of us to enjoy. The experience is multiplied greatly when I know I am contributing to a worthy cause. So why not enjoy some Josh Cellars wines and pay it forward to our military heroes this holiday season?