Friday, August 13, 2010

Oregon Trip: J.K. Carriere Wines

Founded in 1999 by owner and winemaker Jim Prosser, J.K. Carriere has recently moved to a brand new facility on Parrett Mountain near Newberg in Yamhill County. Before founding J.K. Carriere, Jim Prosser worked for eight producers in four countries including: Erath, Domaine Drouhin, Brick House and Chehalem in Oregon; Villa Maria in New Zealand; Tarra Warra and T'Gallant in Australia; and Domaine Georges Roumier in Burgundy. The name J.K. Carriere corresponds to the combined names of his grandfathers J.K. Prosser and Paul Carriere. Being severely allergic to wasps and nearly killed by them twice, he chose to prominently feature one of these insects on his bottle labels.

The new facility has steel culverts embedded into the ground to create naturally temperature-controlled barrel caves

In the summer, the tasting room is conveniently open Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm. Otherwise, you need to make a private appointment to visit the winery.

The wines we tasted:

2009 J.K. Carriere Glass White Pinot Noir: whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented to absolute dryness at low-temperature in older French oak barrels. Lees from a Chardonnay fermentation are stirred during aging, following a 100-yeal-old Champagne Rosé technique to strip color and broaden an earthy mid-palate. My notes: beautiful salmon color, citrus aromas, dry and mineral on the palate with some roundness, fresh and crisp on the finish.

2009 J.K. Carriere Glass White Pinot Noir

2007 J.K. Carriere Chardonnay Willamette Valley: a blend of two vineyards: Temperance Hill in the Eola Hills and Maresh Vineyard from the Dundee Hills. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented at low-temperature with wild yeast in older French barrel. My notes: deep golden color, crisp and dry, more mineral than fruity.

2008 J.K. Carriere Provocateur Pinot Noir Willamette Valley: Provocateur is French for troublemaker. A blend of seven vineyards: Temperance Hill, Anderson Family, Black Walnut, Shea, Gemini, Momtazi, and Sheppard. Small-lot wild yeast fermentations in open-top stainless steel tanks. Barrel aged for 17 months in French oak, 4% new. My notes: attractive Pinot nose, dusty spice aromas, well-balanced, light on the finish.

2007 J.K. Carriere Pinot Noir Willamette Valley: a Willamette Valley blend that includes 21% Shea Vineyard for ripe dark fruit, Temperance Hill for old-vine complexity, Eola Hills for centrist cherry, Gemini Vineyard for moving red, Momtazi for hi-tone and spice, Black Walnut for earth, and Anderson Family Vineyard for savory and structure. Small-lot wild yeast fermentations, 100% barrel aged for 18 months, 21% new. My notes: richly flavored with notes of mint, eucalyptus, citrus, and licorice, medium-bodied, well-balanced with a nice, long finish.

2007 J.K. Carriere Antoinette Pinot Noir: Antoinette Carriere was Jim Prosser's Canadian grandmother. The wine is made from the five best Temperance Hill vineyard barrels, sourced from 28-year-old vines growing at high elevation. Small-lot wild yeast fermentations, barrel aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (25% new). My notes: denser than the Willamette Valley blend, complex aromas of wild berry and pepper with mineral notes. Needs time to open up, very long finish, age worthy.

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