An Oregon Taste Off

It’s been a while since I had the opportunity, or the inclination, to put together a combo pack of wines. Whilst I have been tasting some excellent wine the last few weeks it was not until today that the chance to pair and try two very different, yet both very delicious wines, came up.

Earlier this morning I had my taste buds excited by a range of wines from Oregon. As many of my readers know, if you are going to buy Pinot Noir from the West Coast you really need to delve into the wines of this State.  This is where Pinot likes to grow, and wine-makers who are passionate about making great wine grow the best Pinot Noir in Oregon. The first flight of wines were from the J.K. Carrier vineyard. This winery, started in the late 90’s is owned by Jim Prosser. A lifelong wine-man, he apprenticed in Oregon and with Roumier in Burgundy and finally decided to put his own initials on a wine label. He is a true believer in allowing acid and fruit to co-exist for pure pleasure; and his pinots deliver, every last little drop. We began with his entry level pinot – the Provocateur. This is the blend of juices left from barrel sampling his 5 sourced (and estate) vineyards. It’s an easy drinking table wine, slightly expensive but every bit as good, if not better, than many entry level Burgundy pinots. His first run, blended pinot is Vespidae – sourced from all his vineyards and left to mature in barrel for 18 months, undisturbed, like a baby in swaddling cloth. His three single estates are Antoinette, Anderson and Shea Vineyards. I have written short tasting notes below.

The story continues with a tasting about 4 hours later, of wines from the Harper Voit Vineyards. Drew Voit, the wine maker popped in to taste me on his line-up of 4 pinots. I mentioned that J.K. had been in just a few hours earlier but he wasn’t fazed! Nor should he have been. What a great way to taste the differences between two of the most accomplished wine-makers of pinot noir in Oregon. The wines spanked. Very different in taste and substance but both sets of wines equally delicious. If I could just win the lottery, I would be a very happy drunk – table wine at my house would be J.K whilst waiting for Chef to prepare dinner and by second course, Voit Pinot Noirs to finish. With a full staff to clean up and wash up I would sit back in my leather armchair and contemplate a world without pinot. Yuk!

Tasting Notes:

J.K. Carriere Vespidae 2013 - $48.00

Aged in barrel for 18 months – allows the wine to become mellow. Flavors of Turkish Delight, pomegranate and bright cherry. Very fragrant, very supple. Low alcohol, deference to a Volnay style. Sweet, feminine and delicious.

J.K. Carriere Shea Vineyard 2013 - $77.00

From possibly the greatest pinot noir vineyard in Oregon. This is the bass player to the Carriere Quartet. Ripe, rich pop in your mouth chocolate covered cherries. Fuller body, meaty but not gamey. Think standing rib roast drippings!

J.K. Carriere Anderson Vineyard 2013 - $77.00

Wonderfully aromatic aroma – honeysuckle, rose petal orange skin. Ultra-smooth high octane red berried juice. The saxophone player in the Quartet. Spunky, with a touch more acidity than the Shea. Bright fruit, elegance, dreaminess.

J.K. Carriere Antoinette 2013 - $77.00

The brightest of the four. Definitely the singer – Ella meets Whitney Houston. Even more aromatic than the Anderson. Bright red cherry, red currant, pomegranate. And all baked together to make the best pie your mother ever made.

2nd Flight – Harper Voit

Harper Voit Strandline 2013 $49.00

Notice the difference between these two wine-makers. J.K’s wines are a little leaner, allowing the fruit to resonate, Voit’s wines are more akin to a late night Blues concert. The Strandline leans on sweet fruit, black currant and berries. Touch of baking spice and cookie dough.

Harper Voit Perrydale Hills 2013 - $64.00

Soft beckoning cherries. Very elegant, velvety texture. More feminine in pose. Some earthy grip on the palate combined with more black cherry, cedar and nougat.

Harper Voit Bieze Vineyard 2013 - $78.00

Most savory of all the pinots. Great aromas of slow-cooked duck and bacon fat. Fennel, cedar and anise shine. Great length on the palate and a warm, subtle finish. Reminiscent of a great Vosne Romanee. Delcious.

The Offering

Oregon pinots are not inexpensive. The cheap ones tend to be disgusting, so a complete waste of money. These wines will offer a great tasting platform – either in pairs over a romantic dinner or as flights with friends and family. Either way, I really want customers to enjoy the subtleties and nuances of each wine, hence the combo box offering.

One bottle of each wine, 7 in total, for a half a baker’s dozen! In other words, take all seven, the Vespidae is FREE and you pay only $422 in total. Being that Jim Prosser makes less than 100 cases of each of his single vineyard estates, the offer is limited by what my distributors can allocate to me. But for someone looking to put wine into their cellar either for immediate drinking, or to taste over the next decade, there are not many pinots from Oregon that can beat this line-up.

A memorable day of tasting! Wines will be deliver here by Friday. Please order by 4.00pm tomorrow.

All the best