Disclaimer: The wine was received as a media sample. Opinions expressed are my own.
A few weeks ago I was approached whether I wanted to review a wine for a good cause. Apparently, the California negociant Joseph Carr has developed a line of five varietals under the name Josh Cellars, to honor his father. With the holidays coming up, the company is going to donate $1 for every bottle bought until December 31 to the military family support organization Operation Homefront (up to $50,000). While many like to talk about honoring the troops and with Veterans’ Day, I thought that’s a neat idea and why not combine pleasure and giving.
The wines in the line include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Grapes come from California and are made in the French wine making tradition, whatever that really means (sometimes, I do find marketing talk interesting). The wines should be available nationwide.
A few days after the initial contact, I received a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon in the mail….and cursed myself for not telling them that usually I am not that fond of Cabernet Sauvignon. My preferred choice would have been the Pinot Noir or even the Sauvignon Blanc. Ah well. I knew I could count on Nina to help me assess the wine (she’s in love with all things Cabernet Sauvignon).
I checked the technical stuff on the wine, so let me share that with you. It contains 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, which was actually exciting news because I tend to like Cabernet Sauvignon blended much better. For those unfamiliar with negociants, they are wine merchants that cooperate with growers to produce a crop from which the negociant makes and markets wines, think of Louis Jadot or Georges Duboeuf of the American Kermit Lynch.
When we poured the wine, shortly before I took off to Germany, it poured in a surprisingly light color, much less saturated than I had anticipated. The nose showed some heat, prunes, ash, blackberry and strawberry after a while of opening up. When tasted initially, it just had a great mouth feel with a good chewiness and freshness. I got green peppers, some sweet raspberry aromas, cooked strawberries and there were hardly any tannins noticeable. The wine had retained some hints of sweetness, and was all in all quite pleasing. After an hour, I noticed aromas of licorice and tobacco complementing the palette.
What the Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon might lack in depth, it easily made up for its drinkability and how accessible it is. I can see this as a great wine for people that might be interested in wine, but don’t have much experience, and frankly, we all have a ton of such friends. They want to explore wine more, but they also see the entry barrier as too high. I can see the Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon come in handily for those. And when seen from that angle, it makes for a great gift for a family member or something to take along to a party in the neighborhood. It’s an easy to enjoy wine for sure, and the price tag at $14.99 SRP seems quite alright.
Their website is currently under construction, but you can look up their partnership with Operation Homefront on Josh Cellars Facebook page.
“… usually I am not that fond of Cabernet Sauvignon”… add the Rieslings, the Ruche…
Gradually I’m reaching the conclusion that we have a very similar taste for wines :D
This wine sounds very interesting, I shall look for it, after I make some space in the cellar. Glad to hear that you are forcing yourself to drink some more Cabs. LOL
Hahahaha! Well, one should never stop expanding the fields…
Very nice review as always, Oliver, and I think that, based on your tasting notes, your conclusions about its “intended use” are spot on. Also, nice to hear that they contribute part of the proceeds to a good cause.
Thanks, Stefano! It is what it is, I guess…;)
Wine and a great cause? Count me in!
That’s the spirit.
Maybe I’ll give this one a chance. I was not impressed with the Sauv Blanc so I had given up on Josh (the wine, not myself).
Well, what is being impressed, right? :) Give it a try, let me know what you think…
I saw that on a shelf somewhere and almost bought. I don’t recall how much, but thought it to be a reasonable price. After reading your review, I think it’ll be worth a shot. Definitely so with the charity part.
Worth a try for sure!
When I tried this, I thought it might be a better cellar wine than for immediate consumption. My first taste wasn’t that good… I aired it out for over an hour before it really started to taste decent.
Oh, that sucks. I am sorry to hear that. Was it the 2012 vintage or another vintage? It definitely opened up more after a while, but it didn’t seem overly tight to me, especially given the very young age.
Mine was 2012. I haven’t bought an earlier vintage; but because it opened up nicely (after an inordinately long breathing period) I did note it for my cellar list – which is ever growing and mostly unfulfilled! :)
Hahahaha, ok. Glad it was fun after a while!! :)
This is a very good seller for us at Whole Foods. I regularly recommend it for those who prefer their Cabs fruity vs. dry. This falls into my “easy drinker” category, great for everyday and when trying to satisfy large groups, parties etc. Thanks for bringing attention to Operation Homefront, a great cause!
Thanks for your input, Ernest. Definitely a fruity version of Cab, and the slightly higher sugar helps. Glad to hear it is selling well, should be good for Operation Homefront!
Sounds like it’s worth a taste. I’ll look for it…
I hope you’ll enjoy it, Tracy!