J.K. Carriere Wines
Jim Prosser, a native Oregonian, is the proprietor and winemaker of J. K. Carriere Wines, established in 1999
in the Chehalem Mountains. The winery’s name is a combination of his grandfather’s names and represents a
covenant he holds with their integrity. A wasp is prominently displayed on the label and on the side of the
winery, because Jim is highly allergic to wasps, and stings nearly killed him on two occasions. He carries an
Epi-Pen in a holster on his belt just in case.
Jim has an appealing sense of humor that is best understood by viewing the videos he has posted on his
website at www.jkcarriere.com. His winemaking experiences in Oregon, New Zealand, Australia and France
have energized him with the desire to produce “classic” Pinot Noir that has high acid, smooth tannins, food
friendliness and age ability. He uses an analogy to summarize his goal: Pinot Noir is a river of acidity with
California on one bank, Oregon in the middle of the river, and Burgundy on the opposite bank. He tries to swim
in the river. His wines do not shout at you, but require patience to uncover their subtlety. Jim recommends that
his most serious wines be decanted the first three years. He claims the wines will easily age over ten years
and I believe him. When I visited, I tasted a 2006 Vespidae that was as alive as the day it was bottled.
The first ten years, Jim made wine nearby in a 100-year-old hazelnut drying barn. By 2007, he had combed
every available site in the Willamette Valley looking for an appropriate property of his own. Jim finally acquired
40 acres of grape-growing land on the southeastern flank of Parrett Mountain. In 2008 and 2009 a very
functional winery was built on the vineyard property as pictured above.
Winemaking is very traditional with wild yeast ferments, wild malolactic fermentation, no additions, no fining
and no filtering. The estate vineyard was planted initially in 2008 to non-irrigated Pommard clone Pinot Noir at
an elevation of 500 to 700 feet in largely volcanic soils.
Grapes have been sourced from Temperance Hill Vineyard (Eola-Amity Hills), Anderson Family Vineyards
(Dundee Hills), Gemini Vineyards (Chehalem Mountains), Shea Vineyards (Yamhill-Carlton), Momtazi
Vineyards (McMinnville), Black Walnut Vineyard (Dundee Hills), and Eola Hills Vineyard (Eola-Amity Hills).
Some sources are bottled specially in 2 to 3-barrel lots including Shea, Anderson Family and Gemini vineyards.
A majority of production is dedicated to wallet-friendly wines in the $26 to $42 bottle range (Willamette Valley
blend, Vespidae, and Provocateur). A Lucidité Chardonnay and Glass White Pinot Noir are also offered. Total
production is about 4,000 cases annually.
The tasting room is located at the winery and is open Friday and Saturday March through November and by
appointment at other times. The wines are sold through the winery’s online store and the Twelve Wine Club.
Library wines and magnums are available. J.K. Carriere participates in Oregon’s Thanksgiving and Memorial
weekend wine country open houses. On Thursday July 24, a pre-IPNC winemaker dinner will be held at J. K.
Carriere with Jim and Allison Prosser as hosts. Visit the website for information.
2013 J.K. Carriere Glass Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir
12.0% alc., pH 3.28, 628 cases, $24.
Primarily from 33-year-old original plantings at Temperance Hill Vineyard. Whole cluster pressed and barrel
fermented with wild yeast in older French oak. No residual sugar. Racked once and bottled January 2014.
Light pinkish orange color and clear in the glass. Shy, rather nondescript aroma of citrus and pencil lead.
Crisp and light on the palate with subtle flavors of red cherry, orange water, peach and melon. The wine has
refreshingly crisp acidity, but nothing really stands out. It is a pleasant wine, and has received good press, but I
don’t get it.
2011 J.K. Carriere Lucidité Willamette Valley Chardonnay
12.5% alc., pH 3.32, 190 cases, $32. A late
growing year led to high acid and freshness. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented with wild yeast.
100% malolactic fermentation. Aged on lees for 18 months in older French oak barrels. Racked and filtered
Very clean aromas and flavors of lemon, lime, green apple, and pear fueled by zippy
underlying acidity. Slightly creamy on the palate with a mineral and citrus driven soprano finish.
2012 J.K. Carriere Provocateur Williamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.60, 1,957 cases, $26. A
blend of six vineyards. Small-lot wild yeast fermentations, aged 17 months in 12% new, 8% one-year, 7% twoyear,
and 73% older French oak barrels. Racked and bottled unfined in February 2014.
A wine that strives to
please with lovely aromas of cherries, rose petal and spice that are echoed on the palate that is mid weight and
silky. A touch of oak adds a compliment and the finish is bright and filled with cherry goodness.
2011 J.K. Carrier Vespidae Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.62, 891 cases, $42. Flagship
wine. Vespidae is the Latin name of the family of wasps that tried to kill Jim Prosser. Sourced from Shea,
Temperance Hill, Black Walnut and Gemini vineyards. Wild yeast fermentations in stainless steel, aged for 19
months in 29% new, 19% one-year, 19% two-year and 32% three-year or older French oak barrels. Bottled
unfined and unfiltered in March 2013.
Plenty of concentration and noticeable finishing intensity in this wine that
features a spiced cherry core accented with herbs. Easy going and food friendly.
2011 J.K. Carrier Gemini Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.66, 48 cases, $65. 20-
year-old Scott Henry trained Pommard clone. Small lot wild yeast fermentations, aged 19 months in one-year
and two-year French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered in April 2013.
Moderate reddish purple color
in the glass. The nose is shy initially, picking up interest and intensity over time in the glass. Aromas of
cherries, pomegranate, spice, underbrush and oak make for an invigorating experience. Mid weight flavors of
cherries and berries in a crisp, juicy style with muscular, imposing fine-grain tannins. Texturally alive with a
savory herbal streak in the background and a long finish. Tasted the next day from a previously opened and
decanted bottle, the wine had slowly evolved, but will still need a few years to integrate the tannins.
2011 J.K. Carrier Anderson Family Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.78, 98 cases, $65.
Sourced from dry-farmed, 21-year-old Dijon 115 clone, some of the oldest Dijon clone Pinot Noir in Oregon.
Small lot wild yeast fermentation, aged 19 months in one new, one one-year, one two-year and one older
French oak barrel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered in April 2013.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose
lacks in fruit but makes up for it in appealing aromas of tea leaves, dried herbs and smoky oak. Tasty light to
mid weight array of dark red cherry and berry flavors with a subtle herbaceous riff in the background. Polished
with good integration of tannins and a lean, but refreshing finish. Tasted the next day from a previously opened
and decanted bottle, the wine was unchanged.
2011 J.K. Carrier Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH
3.65, 146 cases, $65. Dijon 777 clone planted in Willakenzie soil. Small lot wild
yeast fermentations, aged 19 months in one new, one one-year, one two-year
and one older French oak barrel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered in April 2013.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose picks up steam
over time in the glass offering aromas of black cherry and black raspberry fruits.
The pedigreed fruit is impressive, featuring layers of discovery including black
raspberry, blueberry, pomegranate, and spice. The fruit is still compressed in
firm tannins and will need a few years in the cellar to be more giving. Tasted the
next day from a previously opened and decanted bottle, the wine was slightly
more integrated and pleasing.