Oregon Wine Club – April 2015

2012 J.K. Carriere, Anderson Family Vineyard, Pinot Noir
No, it’s not déjà vu—we did feature a wine from this winery last month: the 2012 Carriere Chardonnay. Winemaker Jim Prosser had poured that wine plus a number of his Pinots for us on a recent visit to the shop and we were blown away, as always, with the whole line-up. So this month we present his Anderson Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. While we have put a number of 2013s in the club, there are still a lot of wines available from previous years, such as the excellent 2012 vintage, and this month we’re including two of them. For this Pinot Noir, Jim used 22-year-old Dijon clone fruit sourced from the steep, rocky South Block of Anderson Famiy Vineyard, located in the Dundee Hills AVA. This is some of the oldest Dijon clone Pinot fruit in the state, dry-farmed and organically-grown on Jory soil, which tends to produce complex fruit with lower acidity and nice, firm tannins. As with all of Jim’s wines, the emphasis is on grace and nuance over power and, although the wine did spend 19 months in French oak, only a third of it was new. Jim made only 120 cases of this wonderfully layered and flavorful Pinot, with its deep red fruit and balanced tannins. Or, as he describes it: “jungle vines, smoke, and brown sugar.” It is $60 and Jim advises decanting it if you drink it soon, noting that it will also continue to gain in complexity over the next ten years. You could pair it with a wide variety of food—anything that wants a red wine, but doesn’t want to be overpowered by it.

2012 J. Christopher, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Here’s another Pinot from the 2012 vintage, this one from Jay Christopher Somers, whose elegant 2010 “Nuages” we featured back in January, 2013. As we mentioned then, Jay’s original dream was to become a rock star. But along the way he changed course and, since 1996, he has been producing small lots of handcrafted Pinot Noir at his winery in Chehalem, Oregon (after working at Adelsheim and Cameron wineries in Oregon, as well as in New Zealand). Many of the wines we feature in this club emphasize the unique influence of specific clones or vineyard sites. And Jay makes a number of single-vineyard Pinots, but he also produces wines blended from several vineyard sites. This one, his flagship wine, is sourced from top vineyards in four different Willamette Valley AVAs: Dundee Hills, Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill-Carlton, and Eola-Amity Hills, all of which are dry-farmed. It incorporates Pommard, Wadenswil, and several Dijon clones and, as with the best Pinots from the ideal growing conditions of 2012, this one has deep color and warm, inviting fruit. It was aged for 18 months in 25% new oak, and a quarter each of one-, two-, and three-year old barrels, adding to its very smooth and balanced feel. It is an amazing value at $28, and a very versatile food wine.