Early May 2011
My daughter is a kick in the pants. She is not a big person, at around
two feet, but I know her to be beauty and love absolute. It's the
shirt-sleeve nature of her emotions, the future - but lack of gravity
about it - in her eyes. She is fully present, decidedly not looking back,
in her overturned bowl of Cheerios.
I aspire to her, and to not wreck her, save the diapers and the
inevitable. She's got something to teach, similar to the tumult of
countries and wives and sisters and, yes, vineyards. What she shows most
is a willingness to fall. I recognize it to be paramount, because if one
wants to throw sparks, then one has to fall completely in, against the
grinding wheel of life.
That's why in spite of a rear-view full of economic turmoil and a
windshield obscured by uncertainty, we're leaving the tractor in gear.
The hum of the auger is singing from the vineyard as we plant another two
blocks of Pinot. We just hired a new direct sales manager, Meg Murray, to
ensure our customers have the best possible experience when they show up
on our door. And, to battle some fortunate and surprising scarcity, Cory
and I are making arrangements to produce a wee dram more wine from our
excellent vineyard sources this fall.
Does it matter that we step? Who the hell knows? The opportunity is in
front of us, the capacity is inside of us, and the row is straight ahead
to living fully and authentically. I'll grant you that we could be wrong,
we could fall, but you aren't going to go all in with us, and you damn
sure won't feel any sparks, unless we're fully in ahead of you.
My daughter's first two linked words were the not-too-precious "butt
paste," so know that our life and learning up here on the mountain
are pretty close to the ground. During these warming days, we'd love for
you to come up the hill and let gravity and the view and our wines work
on you. We'll do our best to make sure that you're practiced at falling ...
in love with what we do.
weather and the hungry habits of migratory birds led to a relatively
small 2010 harvest in Oregon, so we've pledged to help you enjoy every
drop of the limited yield. Just in time for the warm days of summer, our 2010 Glass Willamette
Valley White Pinot Noir is here. A peach-copper in glass, this wine's
first aromatic impression is watermelon followed by floral lime, Meyer
lemon and Maria biscuits. The racy palate delivers lemon-lime, earth,
grape and gooseberry on a rail of complex citrus. Slight spritz, grip,
and bitter combine on rolling acidity to take it long and quenching into
your warm summer evening. Get your summer stash! $20 ($18 case/club).
Read the full tasting
was a very warm growing year leading to very ripe grapes and expectations
of easy, overripe, boozy and jammy wines. We worked assiduously to reign
in the forces of over-ripeness in the vineyard and then built for
absolute balance in the cellar. The 2009 Provocateur is our lead-off
batter for the vintage. The translucent garnet color of the wine gives
way to a reserved nose of cherry, boysenberry and blond spice. The palate
is fairly balanced between ripe dark plum and refreshing red raspberry: a
full and easy start leads to cherry chutney, grilled steak and bay leaf
before finishing on rhubarb pie, light smoke and red cherry pit. The
structure is not perceptible at entry, but builds to a nice just-visited
overall mouth reminder. To be sure the 2009 Provocateur Pinot is
"available," but you had better have a pretty good working
knowledge of the classics and wickedly smart wit, should it deign to take
you home. $24 ($21 case/club price). Read the full tasting notes.
in wine country
remembers fondly his first open house, Memorial weekend 2001 in the old
barn. It was just him, one wine, pouring over an old door resting on two
barrels, the only decoration a mason jar of daises bobbing in the warm
spring breeze. Things were so simple back then! Ten years later, we're striving
to keep things fresh, fairly simple . and provocative. Join us:
28th, 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday, May 29th, 11 am to 5 pm
Of course we'll be tasting those new releases, 2010 Glass and 2009
Provocateur, as well as other current offerings. Italia Via Caserta joins
us with their artisan cheeses. And for the provoked, we invite you to
join our facial hair photo contest. $10 fee. Mustaches complimentary.
9995 NE Parrett Mtn Rd, Newberg, OR 97132, 503-554-0721. directions
direct sales manager
Ever since Meg was a little girl she wanted to rule the world. So when
the direct sales manager position at J.K. Carriere opened she thought it
would be the perfect fit (it's an admittedly small world). She started in
this new role at J.K. Carriere in April and comes to us with more than
eight years of wine industry experience and many more years of drinking
experience. Meg's husband Jerry helped out at J.K. Carriere earlier in
his winemaking career, and he considers Jim one of his mentors, even if
Jim refuses to take on that title.
In her free time Meg likes to play BINGO, indulge in pickled foods and
spend time with her husband, two dogs, and soon, her first baby (due in
Coming out to visit us? Meg is your point person. Drop Meg a line so she can set up an
appointment for you and your guests. She'll be happy to help you make the
most of your visit to the Willamette Valley. Just ask!
Caption: Meg sports her provocative mustache* and wonders: "if a
rainbow ends in the vineyard will I find a case of Grand Cru Burgundies
at the end of it?"
*Shameless plug: Join us this Memorial Day weekend to get your own
Cory Waller: assistant
Cory has never met a statement on which he couldn't try to turn a funny
phrase. Try. He has been with us for about a year, anchoring the cellar
and knowledgeably entertaining those who have crossed his path at the
winery. We have come to rely on him, but have been remiss in introducing
him, though he's scarcely shed a tear.
Cory started his journey into the wine industry in 2002 while he was
living with his brother in Napa and happened upon a job at a winery. When
asked why he wanted to get into the wine industry his answer was simple:
"Because it is easier to make beer at home than to make wine at
home." He originally thought he would go the brewery direction, but
after that first harvest in Napa, he was hooked. Since then he has had
the pleasure of working in Napa, Oregon and New Zealand. In the spring of
2010 he joined J.K. Carriere and our quest for high acid, well rounded,
elegant Pinot noir.
When asked what keeps him passionate about winemaking he quickly admits
"drinking it." His bachelor of arts in anthropology helped him
easily recognize Jim's long-armed, knuckle-dragging, old-world style of
winemaking and has promised he can help Jim walk upright. In his free
time he likes to drink (sensing a pattern here), play music and
snowboard. Other than that he likes to "pretend to be cool."
His favorite color: seven (when asked for more clarification he refused.)
Caption: Assistant winemaker Cory Waller 'keeping the barnyard out of
New additions in
main question this spring was whether to build an ark or continue to
plant the vineyard. We could have loaded the ark with animals (deer) not
just by the pair, but by the dozen and floated it from this hill on the
record March or April rains. But alas, we had bought steel trellis and
not wood, thereby dashing our hopes as shipwrights and captains.
Instead, post culmination of three years of prep, we planted two more
vineyard blocks just east of the winery. "We," by the way,
means a crew of nine with Jim acting as bad Spanish language errand boy.
Ego must be lost when one hopes to keep others working in one's stead on
a "rock farm." End posts and three acres of Pommard clone Pinot
noir on rootstock made it into the ground under perfect timing in about a
week. Three years hence we'll see grapes.
And then there were the Easter eggs. We could hardly believe our luck,
given all the 'fresh and local' that is justifiably revered here near
Portlandia. Numerous freshly dug Easter eggs, sized from a baseball to a
billy goat, came perfectly ripe and fresh out of the same holes in the
ground from which we'd dug. Covered with red earth, some slippery in
their mineral content, some just plain volcanic, all amongst the most
bountiful rocks we've ever seen. In fact, we feel so blessed about this
bumper crop that we want to share them with you. During Memorial Day
you'll receive 63 lbs of rocks free with every wine purchase . . . no
exceptions! Or let us know and we can extend it into the summer for when
you are able to borrow your boss's luxury car and give him his reward,
while you are up here getting your own. Out of state? Don't worry, we ship.
tasting room at the winery is open for the season! Join us Fridays
& Saturdays, 11 am to 4 pm, or by private appointment at other
times (except Sunday; we really need one day off!). Bring your relatives,
your out-of-town guests, your neighbors, your love. Show them your
favorite little gem of a winery.
9995 NE Parrett Mtn Rd,
Newberg, OR 97132
On the calendar
May 6th: Taste J.K. Carriere wines along with others from the
Chehalem Mountains AVA at Mountains to Metro, Governor
Hotel, Portland, $40.
Saturday, May 14th: Jim pours his wares at the Alberta St. wine
shop Cork, in Portland from 2
pm to 5 pm.
Saturday, May 21st: Wine Club Pick Up Party. Club members and
their guest only, please. 11 am to 4 pm at the winery.
Saturday and Sunday, May 28th and 29th: Memorial Weekend Open
House. Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm at the winery.
Thursday, May 26th: Winemaker dinner at The Olive and The Grape,
Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Friday and Saturday, June 17th and 18th: Jim pours at Pinot Days in San Francisco.
Thursday, July 28th: Pre-IPNC Winemaker Dinner at J.K. Carriere.
Details to be announced.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29th to July 31st: J.K. Carriere
is a featured winery at this year's International
Pinot Noir Celebration, McMinnville, Oregon.
hope to hear from you soon!
The J.K. Carriere Crew
9995 NE Parrett Mountain Road
Newberg, OR 97132
877-817-9722 toll free