Friday nights I like to have a little fun. And there ain’t no party like a Pinot party ‘cuz the Pinot party don’t stop! Also, Friday night is often times pizza night and pizza and Pinot is one of my fav food pairings. Well, good thing I like to keep PN’s on hand in the cellar for just such an occasion. I was actually holding on to my Josh Cellars Pinot Noir for something a little more…sophisticated. But then I thought, why not have a sophisticated PN and elevate the pizza experience? And that’s exactly what it did.
About the Wine: Joseph Carr, founder and winemaker of Josh Cellars is strongly influenced by the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, but says his goal is to create “wines that are bold and expressive, but unassuming and approachable.” I like that quote because it completely matches with every experience I’ve had with a Josh Cellars wine — it’s the kind of wine that, like I said, can elevate even the simplest meal, yet it’s completely friendly (on the palate and for the wallet.)

Josh Cellars Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from the cooler California climate wine countries including Mendocino and Monterey counties. The wine has clearly been oak barrel aged (though I can’t tell you for how long).

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: While visually the Josh Cellars Pinot noir emits a classic medium reddish-purple hue in the glass, the aromas are something quite special. Your initial impression may be, “yes this is a Pinot Noir.” But I encourage you to swirl and sniff again. Do you smell that? Yes, there are classic aromatics including dark cherry, overripe strawberry, and cola, but with a closer olfactory inspection there’s also the undeniable scent of oak, nutmeg, and fertile forest floor. And that’s what I mean about the elevation of this wine — even on the nose, Josh Cellars takes a classic and kicks it up that half-notch to really make this wine an experience.

Now, to the taste. Because of the use of oak, those fruits you smelled — dark cherries and strawberries — are all kept at bay. They are there, but with so little acidity and the elegant use of oak, they’re round and lush on the palate. The mouthfeel is as smooth as silk with just enough tannins to give the wine body and structure. The finish is a confident one, without too much of a lingering taste or texture.

Food Pairing: Obviously you know what I paired it with. Pizza. Was it the perfect pairing? Ok, perfect maybe not. It went well because while pizza can be crazy with a mish-mosh of veggies and cheese, this wine — in its utter calmness and confident collection of flavors and textures — just brought the meal that level of sophistication you like to think you have when drinking a bottle of wine. I guess what I mean is, the Pinot set the pace of this Pinot-pizza party.

Now, Josh Cellars recommends pairing their Pinot Noir with hearty vegetables like Brussels sprouts, and game meat like turkey or duck. I’m not sure that my palate would agree with that recommendation, but I am willing to give it a go.

More Info: This is not the last you’ll hear of Josh Cellars from me. I’m a big fan of their wines. In the meantime, please do check out Josh Cellars website where you can find a retailer close to you that sells whatever varietal you’re in the market for. I was able to find Josh Cellars Pinot Noir at Safeway (Sale Price: $13.50).

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