Sunday, September 22, 2013

Josh Cabernet Sauvignon (2011)

This wine -- a Cabernet Sauvignon from Josh Cellars, introduced a new term for me ... "vin de garage."  Those words represent a wine that winemakers make for themselves.  Put another way, it is a fancy, French-way to say "a winemaker's wine."

The wine, which is eponymously named "Josh," is described as a vin de garage.  This got me to thinking about what makes a "winemaker's wine."  The Josh is produced exclusively with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown and cultivated in the North Coast of California.  The grapes are punched down three times a day.  According to Josh Cellars, this helps to maximize flavor extraction.  The grapes are then subjected to a 10-15 day extended maceration until the juice is fermented and aged in a combination of new American oak and French oak for sixteen months. 

The Josh pours a dark, burgundy red, which signifies a more earthy Cabernet Sauvignon, at least in my opinion.  And, in this case, my opinion was confirmed by the wine.   The aromatic elements of this wine are very full and somewhat dark ... currants, black cherries or plums.  The taste of this wine is also substantial.  The winemaker describes the flavor as having black currants and deep dark fruits (those plums and dark cherries), along with smoke and spice.  I clearly sensed the dark fruit and the spice.  The smoke was a little more elusive. 

A full bodied, dark Cabernet Sauvignon like this one calls for a substantial pairing.  Beef, pork or lamb, either grilled or roasted would be a perfect pairing.  As I write this post, my thoughts turned to a nice grilled ribeye steak or New York strip steak, seasoned with just salt and pepper.  A simple steak would be a very masterful complement to this wine.

A simple pairing like this suggests something about the wine.  The winemakers describe the Josh as a wine that is bold and expressive, but unassuming, and approachable. I would agree with that characterization.  I found this wine at a local grocery store. It costs about $15.99 a bottle. 


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