2013 Glass Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir, J.K. Carriere, Sherwood, Oregon SRP: $24
Vintner Jim Prosser may be too modest to claim credit for the recent uptick in popularity of rosé wines, but no one doubts that his white pinot noirs are among the finest on the market.
The 2013 is similar in style to its predecessors: intensely citrusy, acid-driven, and very French in style. This wine is made from 100 percent pinot noir grapes, and Prosser barrel-ages it in older French oak barrels. The first hint that this wine will outshine more insipid rosés is the color: it is a beautiful pale coppery salmon. The nose is faint when chilled, but elements of lemon and lime waft through, and the wine explodes with citrus in the mouth, intense lemon-lime with a grapefruit finish. There is the very faintest hint of refreshing fizz on the tongue.
At $24 a bottle and with a modest 12% alcohol, this is the wine I will select on a hot and sticky day when I sneak off to the hammock with a battered copy of The Three Musketeers, to be magically transported to the French countryside.
2012 Provocateur Willamette Valley Pinot Noir J.K., Carriere Sherwood, Oregon, SRP: $26
If I were a California pinot noir vintner, I might become a bit nervous after tasting J.K. Carriere’s 2012 Provocateur. The winery’s entry-level pinot noir, modestly priced at a mere $26, really delivers: it is a beautiful Bombay ruby in the glass, and the aroma of ripe fruit — cherry, blackberry, blueberry and a touch of floral fairly explodes in the nose and drench the palate. As you continue to drink, the fruit opens up further and delivers a soft, smooth finish.
Vintner Prosser blended this wine from six vineyards, graced by some of the finest growing conditions Willamette Valley had enjoyed in decades, and then aged it for 17 months in French oak.
The 2012 Provocateur is a fitting tribute to Prosser’s grandfather, for whom it was named — a man who, like his vintner grandson, clearly enjoyed pushing the envelope. A very good value.