Josh Cellars Merlot Review (2023)

Josh Cellars Merlot Featured

What Kind of Wine Is Josh Cellars Merlot?

Josh Cellars Merlot is a dry red wine from California. It is flavorful and well-balanced, offering bright cherry and plum flavors. On top of that, Josh Cellars Merlot feels firm from its velvety tannins. The vivid acidity refreshes and rounds the mouthfeel.

California Merlots are fruit-forward, displaying lots of raspberry and blackberry flavors along with chocolate notes. And due to the warm Mediterranean climate, they usually have soft and silky tannins. Merlot is the most commonly known grape variety in France and is also one of six permitted grapes in the Bordeaux blends. Unlike California Merlot, the French version has more complexity in its tannin, developing extra secondary and tertiary aromas.

The United States is the third-largest producer of Merlot, after France and Italy, with California being the main Merlot producing region. Merlot grapes cultivated in Paso Robles, Sonoma County, or Napa Valley have the highest flavor concentration. Also, Merlot benefits from barrel aging. Maturation adds depth and complexity, and in a way, balances out the intense fruitiness with oak and vanilla spice flavors.

Josh Cellars Merlot Review

  • Winery — Josh Cellars
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa Valley
  • Type — Napa Valley Merlot
  • Aroma — Cherry, Raspberry, Cranberry, Green Bell Pepper, Licorice
  • Grapes — Merlot
  • Taste — Blackberry, Plum, Strawberry, Tomato Leaf, Chocolate, Coal, Petrol
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Roast Chicken, Seared Salmon, Mushroom, Pizza

Josh Cellars Merlot is a well-structured red wine. It is compelling. With an aromatic nose full of red fruits and a mouth filled with blackberry and chocolate, Josh Cellars is a fantastic California Merlot. The fine-grained tannins combine with the long finish, delivering a rich wine-drinking experience.

Overall Rating: 4.2

  • Great Blending Between Plum And Chocolate
  • Palatable
  • Refreshing Acidity
  • Sweet, Long Finish
  • Aging Potential
  • The Alcohol ‘heat’ Might Seem A Bit Intense
  • A Slightly Sour Aftertaste May Be Discernible

Tasting Notes

Josh Cellars Merlot is an inviting and smooth red wine. It is super aromatic, as notes of red fruits and black pepper combine in a unique way. Next, on the palate, balanced blueberry and chocolate flavors are accentuated by a hint of minerality. Herbaceous touches then join the refreshing acidity and make for a pleasing finish. Josh Cellars Merlot brings out the best of bold flavors and is well appreciated for that.


Josh Cellars Merlot wine begins with a deep ruby color. The center is semi-translucent, and after a few swirls, an attractive and equally deep purple hue develops on the sides. Indeed, the chromatic blend resembles ripe plums. Further, the legs of the wine are long and watery, complementing the appearance. Josh Cellars Merlot is a good-looking red, inviting wine enthusiasts to dive into its fruity personality.


Josh Cellars Merlot is fresh on the nose with aromas of red fruits. Cherry, raspberry, and cranberry scents combine with black pepper notes and a slight hint of green bell pepper and licorice. As a consequence, the aromatic profile of this Merlot is delightful and elegant. Great!


On the palate, Josh Cellars Merlot showcases dark fruit flavors, chocolate, and minerals. Tart plum and blackberry emerge as the wine flows into the mouth, while hints of coal and even petrol interlace with milk chocolate, creating a beautiful, complex blend. Subtle touches of tomato leaf also appear, giving extra substance. Additionally, the grippy, almost silk tannins elevate the tasting experience, as they are pleasant and unobtrusive. Eventually, a brilliant acidity takes over and offsets the slight sweetness.


Josh Cellars Merlot has a long and lingering finish. A sweet raspberry and strawberry aftertaste is also felt, mingled with chocolate. In fact, the finish seems endless. And that is superb. Consequently, Josh Cellars Merlot has a smooth, pleasing finish that leaves no wine enthusiast dissatisfied. A fine conclusion to a delicious Merlot.


Josh Cellars Merlot is jammy, smooth, and palatable. It has enough chocolate and plum to satisfy even the most demanding Merlot lovers. Compelling and with refreshing acidity, Josh Cellars Merlot is the perfect beverage. It is a real crowd-pleaser. Just try this red after a tough day. I guarantee it will make you grin. Without a second thought, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Josh Cellars Merlot Food Pairing

Merlot wines are versatile and usually pair well with a variety of cuisines. Roast chicken, seared salmon, and mushroom-based dishes to name but a few. And Josh Cellars Merlot is no exception to this general rule. Sliced roast chicken on a bed of mashed potatoes with a grilled Portobello mushroom salad, avocado, and lime makes a superb combination with the black fruit flavors of this Merlot. Likewise, seared, almost blackened salmon is a great choice, as the fatness of the fish creates mouth-watering combinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Makes Josh Cellars Merlot?

Josh Cellars Merlot is made by Josh Cellars, located in Napa Valley, California. Founded in 2007 by vintner Joseph Carr as a tribute to his dad, Josh. Joseph started his career as a wine steward. Then, he became a renowned sommelier, and later, a wine executive. But he left everything behind and pursued his dream of starting his own company, making wines from California.

Josh Cellars offers a diverse portfolio of well-balanced and tasty wines. The grapes are sourced from California’s great wine-growing regions, as every vintage represents a commitment to quality. The winemaker of Josh Cellars is Wayne Donaldson, considered a leader in the international wine industry. He has worked in the world’s finest wine-growing regions like Champagne (France), South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and California.

Josh Cellars belongs to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, a leading marketer of wine produced by prestigious families. They have enduring relationships with their suppliers, many of whom have been together with the Deutsch Family since the company began in the early 1980s.

How Is Josh Cellars Merlot Made?

Josh Cellars Merlot is made by following the traditional wine-making process. After harvest, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed, and pressed to release their juice (or must). Then, that juice is placed inside stainless steel vessels to undergo alcoholic fermentation. The temperature steadily increases to extract color, flavor, and tannins from the fermented grapes. Afterward, specialized wine-making techniques, like a malolactic conversation, take place to enhance the wine’s character. When this is over, the final wine is filtered from its yeasts and bottled.

Where Is Josh Cellars Merlot Made?

Josh Cellars Merlot is produced right in the center of the American wine industry: Napa Valley. California has a Mediterranean climate, with combinations of warm and cool influences from the Atlantic. These weather conditions allow the production of a vast range of inexpensive and premium wine styles, with concentrated flavors and moderate acidity. Contrary to wines produced in different parts of the world, California wines conserve their fruit-forward nature. And that makes them irresistible.

How to Serve Josh Cellars Merlot?

Josh Cellars Merlot is a dry red wine, and as such, it is served best at a standard room temperature (60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 to 18 Celsius). The mild temperatures allow the wine to preserve its sweet fruitiness without becoming muddled or tasting thin and empty. That said, under certain circumstances, Josh Cellars Merlot could be lightly chilled, like an Italian Valpolicella or a French Beaujolais, at thirteen degrees Fahrenheit (fifty-five degrees Celsius).

Josh Cellars Merlot has to be poured into standard-sized red wine glasses to allow the air to come into contact with the wine surface, encouraging it to release its intense aromatics and flavors. Decanting the wine is also an option to consider as Josh Cellars Merlot will benefit from the additional aeration, making it seem even more refreshing.

How Much Does Josh Cellars Merlot Cost?

Josh Cellars has a premium price for a California Merlot. The good thing is that it justifies this price point with its quality and complexity. Josh Cellars Merlot prices range from $14 to $20 per 750ml bottle, depending on the vintage and the vendor.

How Long Does Josh Cellars Merlot Last?

This bottling can benefit from long-term storage, but not over three years. Josh Cellars Merlot may be bold, but it is also elegant. Generally, red wines that undergo bottle aging are expected to develop fig, prune, leather, and tobacco flavors. If you decide to go down that route, seal the wine with a cork and store it in an environment with a degree of humidity and temperatures that do not fluctuate (sixty degrees Fahrenheit or ten to fifteen degrees Celsius).

Direct sunlight or artificial light must be avoided at all costs, as the wine may suffer damage and end up faulty. The storage environment should be odor-free. The cork allows a small amount of air inside the bottle to maintain the freshness. Air with odors present may negatively affect the wine structure and degrade it.

How Many Calories Does Josh Cellars Merlot Have?

Josh Cellars Merlot has a low caloric density. There are approximately 24 calories in 1 fluid ounce of the beverage, amounting to almost 122 calories per serving. The total calorie breakdown is 0 grams of fats, 0 grams of sodium, 3 grams of total carbohydrate, 0 grams of protein, and approximately 0 grams of total sugars.

Consequently, Josh Cellars Merlot calories are very friendly to consumers on a diet. They are very low for a Californian red with intense and concentrated flavors. Josh Cellars Merlot alcohol content sits at 13, 5% per 750ml bottle. That is a standard alcohol concentration of red wine. So, wine enthusiasts will discern a slight sweetness when tasting the wine, coming from the alcohol.


Josh Cellars Merlot is a well-structured red wine. It is compelling. With an aromatic nose full of red fruits and a mouth filled with blackberry and chocolate, Josh Cellars is a fantastic California Merlot. The fine-grained tannins combine with the long finish, delivering a rich wine-drinking experience.

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