A Dad Named Joseph & A Merlot Named Josh

Posted on October 7, 2015

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What’s In a Name? Everything.

What up, party people?! Lo and Tee, back again. Happy October! Pumpkin Spice lattes, knee-high boots, and football games are abounding (well, abounding everywhere BUT still-hot LA), which can only mean on thing: Fall. Thank GOD.

We are SOOOO ready to kick our white wine friends to the curb. Not that there’s anything wrong with white wine. We are just, you know, OVER. IT. Give me meat. Give me earth. Give me depth and warmth and stains for days. Red Wine, we want you back!

So we thought the perfect Merlot to welcome in the fall would be the one the wine snobs love to hate. The one Sideways put on the map. The one. The only. Merlot. (insert crowd noise). And who doesn’t love a wine with a story behind it, right?  Well, hold on to your glasses, Queens. This one’s a real heart-strings tugger.

In 2005, Joseph Carr, sommelier and all-around wine enthusiast, decided to follow his dream and started making his own wine at his winery, Joseph Carr Winery in California. His goal? To make a wine that would live up to his father’s (nick)name, Josh. His father, also Joseph Carr, was a heroic man. An army vet and volunteer firefighter, he was known for his willingness to put his life on the line for his fellow man. He eventually became the mayor of his town in upstate New York and believed that a community has to “take care of each other.” This sense of humble community is what led son Joseph to make a wine after his father. He wanted to create one that was bold and expressive, heroic yet approachable. And lo, Josh Wines was born.

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(Side note: All The Grape Girls ever made for their fathers was a headache.)

The Josh Merlot we found on our journey was quite the companion to welcome us back to the Red Zone. I mean, we were already happy to be drinking red again, so our bar was set pretty low. However, with the first sip, we were sent above and beyond our expectations. She’s not just  a pretty label, y’all. She’s got depth. She’s got layers. Cherries. Baked Plum. Mocha. Raspberry. COCOA POWDER? Yep, you betcha. All there. A touch of acidity which was softened out especially when we added our Brix Medium Dark Chocolate to the equation. Well done, Josh. Well done indeed.

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Chocolate makes everything better. Get yours here.

Merlot History: A Hard Knock Life

Fun fact: Did you know that Merlot was named for a bird? That’s right. The earliest record of Merlot was in the Bordeaux region in 1784, where it was named Merlau for the local bird who loved eating the grapes. At this rate, The Grape Girls will have a wine named for us in NO time.

Another fun fact about Merlot? It was originally a back burner grape. At first, she was made specifically as a blending grape. She wasn’t the star of the show, she was a solid chorus girl, with a broadway belt and high kicks for days. But then, like Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie, she was plucked from the chorus and given the chance at the spotlight and NAILED it. Boom. A lustrous career and love affair with Merlot began.

Poor Merlot, she had a rough go at it from the start. In 1956, she was all but wiped out completely by a deep freeze that France. Boom. Gone. So she was replanted, and then BAM! By 1960 she was wiped out again by rot. Of course, this frustrated the French people, and in 1970 the French government outlawed the planting of Merlot. We, The Grape Girls, think this was a bit of a dramatic reaction. Thank goodness she still found her way.

When she finally got up and running, harvesters found that there were two main styles to make a Merlot:

  • International Style – a later-harvested wine with lush, velvety texture. It’s high in alcohol, for those who need a little extra kick.
  • Bordeaux Style – an earlier-harvested grape that is higher in acidity, medium bodied, and flavored with fresh red fruit.

So that’s a little dab into the Merlot world. Join us next week when we keep exploring what makes her HER…and why we love her so much.

#TipItandSipIt,

Lo & Tee

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