Joseph Carr Rutherford Red Blend 2012
After a decade serving as a world-class sommelier followed by another decade as an international industry executive, Joseph Carr set out on his own 2005 to form his family-owned wine company. It was, as Joseph Carr says, “a chance to follow a dream.”
Joseph Carr employs a European sensibility in winemaking that emphasizes balance, complexity, and elegance to produce high-quality, handcrafted, ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Joseph Carr sources fruit from the finest vineyards in Northern California’s most prestigious appellations—St. Helena, Rutherford, Stags Leap District, Alexander Valley, and Sonoma Coast AVAs—but remains dedicated to offering exceptional value.
In 2010 Carr joined forces with Aaron Pott, one of Napa’s most respected and sought-after winemakers. Aaron has made wine for a host of high-scoring, cult Napa wineries like Blackbird, Quixote, Quintessa, and Seven Stones. Between the 2005 and 2013 vintages, he scored 90+ points 84 times and 93-96 points 35 times from Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate. In 2012, Food & Wine names Aaron Winemaker of the Year.
Leveraging close relationships with top Napa vineyard owners and growers, Aaron Pott is able to buy lots from top producers at a fraction of their usual price – as long as he doesn’t reveal the sources. This is the secret behind Aaron’s ability to craft wines showcasing a degree of finesse, balance, and structure usually reserved for wines well over $100, but that Joseph Carr makes available for around $20.
The Rutherford sub-region of Napa Valley centers on the town of Rutherford and covers some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyard real estate, spanning from the Mayacamas in the west, to the Vaca Mountains on the other side of the valley.
Inside of the Rutherford AVA, bordering the Mayacamas, is a stretch of uplands called the Rutherford Bench. (These bench lands technically run the length of Oakville as well). Mountain runoff creates deep, well-drained, alluvial soils on the bench, giving vine roots plenty of reason to permeate deep into the ground. The result is wine with great structure and complexity.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvingons and Bordeaux Blends garner substantial attention for their enticing fragrances of dusty earth and dried herbs, broad and juicy mid-palates and lush and fine-grained tannins. The sub-appellation claims some of the valley’s most prized vineyards today, namely Caymus, Rubicon and Beckstoffer Georges III.
It is also home to Napa’s most influential and historic personalities. Thomas Rutherford, responsible for the appellation's name, made serious investments here in grape growing and wine production between the years of 1850 to 1880. Gustave Niebaum purchased a large swath of land and completed his winery in 1887, calling it “Inglenook.” Today this remains the oldest bonded winery in California. Georges Latour founded Beaulieu Vineyard in 1900, making it the oldest continuous winery in the state. Latour also hired the famous enologist, André Tchelistcheff, a man credited for single-handedly defining the modern Napa winemaking style.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.