Meet the winemaker
Zorvino Vineyards hosts a dinner with Napa’s Joseph Carr
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
The eastern and western wine worlds come together at the Zorvino Vineyards Napa winemaker’s dinner on Friday, July 25. The evening will feature a four-course, California-inspired dinner created by Chef Matt Postal, and each dish will be paired with wine created by Napa winemaker Joseph Carr, who will be on hand to discuss each label.
“Zorvino is really about fun and sharing experiences. Even though we have a certain amount of wine that we make each year, it is important to share other wine experiences with the community,” Zorvino wine director Tom Zack said.
Joseph Carr has spent most of his life in the wine industry. He began as a sommelier in college.
“I wasn’t a very good waiter, so they moved me to sommelier,” he said. “I went on to do it at a number of four-star restaurants and hotels.”
Carr was sommelier for Hyatt Regency Hotels and wine director for the Sagamore Hotel, in Bolton Landing, N. Y. Then he moved on to become an industry executive for a European wine distributor. Eventually he took the position of president for the North America division of Mildara Blass of Australia.
Even though Carr was at the top of the wine world, it wasn’t enough. “I wanted to follow my dream and start a winery,” he said.
Carr told his plan to his wife, Deirdre, who agreed after a few glasses of wine. In 2005 he created Joseph Carr Napa Valley, a family-owned business with Deirdre, their daughter Cailen, and dog Max.
“I’ve been in the wine business for 30 years,” he said. “It is almost the only thing I’ve ever done. I’m following the American dream.”
The wines themselves are produced at Larson Family Vineyards, which borders both Napa and Sonoma counties. The company produces approximately 20,000 cases of wine annually. Carr said they follow a European approach to wine making that is lower in alcohol (under 14 percent) for a better flavor balance.
“Joe is someone who is very careful about detail,” Zack said. “He makes incredibly good wines from good fruit, but he doesn’t charge an exorbitant price. He wants to share his wine with all people.”
Carr’s wines are available at state liquor stores.
“On the back of every bottle I only write one word — share. It says a lot about my family. It’s how we live our lives,” he said.
The meal will begin with a creamy roasted leek soup topped with grilled prawns. That is matched with Carr’s Carneros chardonnay — a French-style wine produced in a limited supply. The next course will be grilled duck breast served over mesclun salad with a shiitake mushroom vinaigrette, which is paired with a Sonoma coast Pinot Noir.
Carr noted they are best known for their cabernet sauvignon, which he described as their forte. Chef Postal has paired it in the third course with a New York strip sirloin topped with blue cheese butter and served with horseradish mashed potatoes and braised Brussel Sprouts.
Dinner will end with a dark chocolate falling lava cake with plum chutney paired with a Napa valley Merlot. The wine’s black cherry and sage aromas and hints of plum, cocoa and spice should match well with the cake’s chocolate richness.
The evening will start at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, and dinner will begin at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $65 per person and tickets can be ordered on Zorvino’s Web site (www.zorvino.com) or at 887-8463.