Tuesday, September 30, 2008

J.K. Carriere's 2006 Releases

After trodding the dirt on Parrett Mountain, J.K. Carriere winemaker Jim Prosser led us back to the little white barn where he makes his Willamette Valley wines. Now, I started seeing a fair amount of high-end 2006 Oregon pinot on the shelves a year ago, but Prosser prefers to wait longer than most. His early drinker, the $24 Provocateur, was released back in May, and only as of September 21 did Prosser make available his 2006 Willamette Valley Chardonnay and his standard-bearer, the 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

Now, 2006 was the second-hottest vintage ever in Oregon and you might expect rich, opulent fruit, for that is what dominates so many 2006 Oregon pinots. This, happily, is more classic, and even downright reserved. As with all Prosser's wines this is built for age and I simply have to reserve judgment; suffice to say that the elements are here and the boysenberry and cherry fruit is nicely balanced with the acidity, the earth notes, and proper (though hardly hard) structure. I'm looking forward to popping this starting three years from now, though it might need still more time.

I'm not so reluctant to judge the Chardonnay. As I wrote yesterday, it's eerily reminiscent of a good village-level white Burgundy, and if this wine will last for (at least) five years, I'm pretty dang enthusiastic about it right now. The wine was whole cluster pressed and cold barrel fermented (using only wild yeast) in neutral oak only — so fear not, my Parkay-phobic friends, this wine will not invoke any naughty scene from Last Tango in Paris. Its fleshy round body is shot through with lovely acidity and a quiet minerality, which gives it focus, while the flavors of fresh pears are accented by brown baking spices. Prosser made but 90 cases of this, so if you want to check it out, do so soon.

No comments: