Wednesday, August 21, 2013

'The BEAST' Himself, the Legendary Winemaker Joseph Carr by Philip S. Kampe

The Legendary Wines of Joseph Carr by Philip S. Kampe

I met Joseph Carr several years ago at the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic (Lenox, Ma).  Joseph was known at the time as a ‘Celebrity Winemaker’, who the NY 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 the Ranch (Napa area), where elite, boutique winemakers produce 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—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. He was not successful at first. 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 break 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.It has been a huge success and has made Joseph Carr financially viable.
300,000 cases of Josh Cellars wines will be produced next year, helping create  positive cash flow 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. The wine—I was fortunate to share a glass 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’.

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

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