Last night I went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park for the Winter Dining Series featuring Joseph Carr and his wines.

Paul and I met Joseph last year at the NY Wine Expo at the Javits Center. One notable that stood out from our conversation back then is that he was from New York. He’s from “upstate” NY. Joseph’s definition last night of “upstate” is Albany and above, but most New Yorkers think Poughkeepsie is “upstate.”

The evening began at 6pm at the Danny Kaye Theatre where Joseph presented to us his history and 4 of his wines. Joseph was thrilled to have this opportunity and compared it to a baseball player always wanting to play at Yankee Stadium and finally getting the chance. This was Joseph’s dream come true. A little history and I’ll get to his wines.

Joseph got his start while in college at SUNY Geneso as a wine steward at a local French restaurant. The wine industry was never a career thought until this experience. After a successful career as Sommelier in various establishments and President of Mildara Blass, North America, he sat his wife down one night, opened a bottle of wine and told her he wanted to pursue a dream of producing wine. (he had to open a second bottle the totally convince her) Hence…Joseph Carr Wines were born.

Today they produce fine wines from Napa Valley and Carneros. Maybe I can talk him into producing a Hudson Valley Line to add to his portfolio. I’ll have to see…

Onto the tasting:

Joseph Carr 2007 Carneros Chardonnay – This wine was one of the nicest unoaked Chardonnays I’ve tasted. It’s delicately crafted with hints of fresh pear and pineapple.

Josh Cellars 2007 Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir – Josh Cellars was named after his father. This wine was fruity. This wine was a treat because there was only a small production made.

Josh Cellars 2006 Amber Knolls Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine had a some Merlot blended in with it. It had hints of spice and vanilla with dark berry.

Joseph Carr 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine is 85% Cabernet, 10% Merlot, 2.5% Cab Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot. This wine had hints of black currant, and slight pepper on the nose. Soft tannins with flavors of plums and dark cherry.

Tomorrow I will review the dinner and food pairing.