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The legendary wines of Joseph Carr

I met Joseph Carr several years ago at the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic. Joseph was known at the time as a “Celebrity Winemaker,” who the New York Times said is on his way to stardom. Watch him and remember his name.

That was five years ago.

Today, Joseph Carr wines are “off the chart” both in quality and in lower than expected price points. His wines are produced at Ranch (Napa region), where elite, boutique winemakers produce their wines.

This is where the process for Joseph Carr begins. He crushes, barrel ferments, blends and ages the grapes at the facility. Joseph explained that he sources all of his grapes from the greatest “unnamed” properties in and around Napa, St. Helena and Stag’s Leap (CA).

With Joseph’s technical skills and above average palate, blending the finest grapes available in America only results in some of the finest examples of Napa based wines in the world.

His background is a bit sketchy. After graduating college in 1979, the Berlin, NY native was hired by the now legendary Big Tree Inn (upstate NY), where he was challenged by the owner to “read this book on wine over the weekend—I will question you on Monday about wine. If you pass the test, I will appoint you as the ‘Wine Steward’ of the Big Tree Inn.”

Joseph passed with flying colors. The rest is history.

As time went on, Joseph earned his Level 2 Sommelier certificate. His knowledge was growing, as well as his curiosity. He was getting antsy and wanted to work on a wine-related project.

In 2005, he opened his own winery. Close to going bankrupt, after many failures, Joseph caught a break. The restaurant group headed by Chef Bobby Flay knew about his wines and wanted to include one on their wine list at all of the Bobby Flay restaurants.

This was the brake that was needed.

Joseph and his wife Deidre were on their way to discovering the American Dream.

In 2009, while the economy was bad, Joseph was on top of his game. He dedicated a new wine and named it Josh, after his late father, Josh Carr.
300,000 cases of Josh Cellars wines are slated to be produced next year, helping create a positive cash flow stream for Joseph Carr—which will be a first. With the money hurdle over, it was time for Joseph to experiment with his grandiose wine making and marketing ideas.

He teamed up with legendary winemaker Aaron Pott to create what will be hailed as a “cult wine,” a wine that will go down in wine history as a Classic Napa wine with a price tag that is at the $50 level, well below the customary $150 Oakville wines we are used to seeing.

Limited to 500 cases, the 2010 ‘The Beast” is made from 34% Cabernet Franc grapes, 33% Merlot and 33% Petit Syrah. I was fortunate to share a glass of the wine with Joseph and my wife, Maria (now an aspiring journalist). The aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, and sweet plums were over powering. My palate exploded with hints of black licorice, white pepper, concentrated blackcurrant, dark roast coffee, clove and cocoa.

I knew that this wine was going to be a real star.

The long finish was pleasing, soft tannins, velvety texture, rich, silky and full-bodied. ‘The Beast” is here to stay and as mentioned earlier, will be the type of “cult classic” wine that is good for the industry.

And good for Joseph Carr, as well.

He has found the American Dream.


Note: To find Joseph Carr and Josh Wines, visit his website at

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Posted by on August 22, 2013. Filed under Food,Wine and Beyond. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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