2010 J.K. Carriere, Vespidae Pinot Noir
This month we present two wines from wineries we have featured in the past. The first is from Newberg’s J.K. Carriere. You may recall the story of Jim Prosser who found his way from the corporate life to winemaking, with adventures in the Peace Corps (as a business advisor), Pakistan (climbing), and the U.S. (cycling), in between. Somewhere along the way he was bitten by the Pinot Noir bug, and found time to work with eight great producers in four countries (Burgundy, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S., in Oregon), before founding his own winery in 1999. His focus is on producing classically-styled Pinots from excellent fruit sources, with a goal of grace over power in his wines. The bee on the label is an homage to the wasps which Jim is deathly allergic to, and his flagship wine, Vespidae (the Latin name for the wasp family), is a further nod to them. But there’s nothing deadly about this wine! It comes from the 2010 vintage, famous for its late-season pillaging by marauding birds. What fruit he managed to save from the reduced yields, he made into this rich, warm, and layered wine that is full of smooth, dark flavors of spicy cherry. It is sourced from relatively older fruit from: Shea Vineyard (13-year-old vines) adding dark fruit; Temperance Hill (31-year-old vines) adding old-vine complexity; Black Walnut Vineyard (8-year-old vines) bringing sweet earth notes; and Anderson Family Vineyards (20-year-old vines) contributing high tones and spice. Wild yeast fermentation adds to the complexity of the wine. We thought it was tasting lovely when we tried it recently, although Jim says it should gain in complexity for up to ten years. It is $40.25
2010 Evesham Wood, Cuvée J, Pinot Noir
Evesham Wood is a long-standing icon of Oregon winemaking, founded back in 1986 by Russ Raney, another winemaker heavily influenced by Burgundian winemaking. After 24 years of winemaking in Oregon, Russ and his wife Mary decided to retire in 2010, and turned their estate over to Erin Nuccio, who had been working alongside Russ for several vintages and shared the Raney’s winemaking and vine-tending philosophy. It is clear that little has changed in the transition—the wines are still beautifully nuanced and expressive of their unique vineyard source. Last year we presented Evesham Wood’s 2009 “Le Puits Sec” Pinot Noir, sourced from the winery’s 13-acre estate vineyard of the same name. Its 25-year-old vines are dry-farmed and certified organic, producing well-balanced, expressive wines that let the terroir shine through—a goal of the winery from the beginning. This month, we feature their highly-coveted Cuvée J, a six-barrel selection sourced exclusively from Le Puits Sec Vineyard. The 150 cases produced of this reserve wine disappear quickly, but we were excited to get enough for the club. It is a very age-worthy wine, though even now, the purity of the fruit shines through, in a quiet way that doesn’t shout. The subtle notes of spice and the beautiful texture linger long on the palate. It is $45.