JK Carriere Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2005

The nose is classic Burgundy by way of Oregon: little red fruits, dark earth, forest floor under California redwoods, smoke, camphor, and soft sweet peat. Young still, the color is a beautiful deep ruby, darker than ‘proper’ Burgundy and yet lighter than most New World pinot. Smelling it alone is enough to get you salivating; it smells inviting, like an old family friend you don’t see but once a year.

In the mouth, it exhibits a rich, inky sweetness of summer fruits, followed by an unexpected sourness, which resolves again into a smooth, rich, deep flavor that trails off into a range of unexpectedly delightful flavors, with just enough alcohol to support it all without becoming intrusive. There’s a bit of firm, supporting tannin there as well, which suggests wonderful things just a few years down the road; it might be a good idea to lay this one down until the next presidency at the very least.

With a bit more air, the wine began to develop ever more interesting flavors, with a touch of barnyard or wet earth at times, and occasionally fresh straw, hay, or even something approaching newly laid asphalt.

JK Carriere
Price: US $42
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2007

This is easily one of the finest Oregon pinots I’ve had, easily the match of anything from the New World, and in the league of, say, Bass Phillip or Domaine Drouhin. Most importantly, it’s clear that they’ve opted to let the wine speak for itself; unlike many other Oregon pinots, it seems honest, pure, clean. Bravo.

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