This Week’s Wine Tasting
Brooks Winery of the Willamette Valley, Oregon and Owen Roe of Oregon and Washington State
“FOUNDED in 1998, Brooks is a reflection of the visionary Portland native, Jimi Brooks. His reverence for the land and vines made him a practitioner of organic and biodynamic farming. The great respect for vineyard individuality and mastery of blending, allowed his wines to achieve the greatest depth, flavors and balance.
While Jimi is no longer with us, his dynamic spirit lives on through his wines, family and friends. With the outpouring of generosity and friendship by the Oregon wine community, we are delighted to share that Brooks Wines continues and is stronger than ever. Jimi’s son Pascal who was the ultimate source of his passion for life, is the sole owner of the winery and sister Janie Brooks Heuck has remarkably volunteered her time to lead it.
We are steadily guided with the legacies that Jimi left: his strong commitment to organic and biodynamic farming in the vineyards, gentle approach to winemaking, excitement for future harvests and endlessly promoting how beautiful Pinot Noir and Riesling can be grown and produced in Oregon.”
Brooks Winery Amycas White Blend 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. Vineyards: Zenith, Bellevue Cross, Eola Springs, Sunset View, Nicholas. “A delightful blend of Pinot Blanc (27%), Riesling (26%), Pinot Gris (20%), Gewurztraminer (14%), and Muscat (13%). Crisp, floral and round with a touch of mineral undertones capable of pairing itself with a variety of foods as well as being enjoyed alone! 817 cases produced. Each varietal of grape is fermented separately. Fermentations lasted from five weeks to six months, depending upon the varietal and lot. Once complete, the wines were racked off the lees and individual lots were tasted to determine the overall blend.”
Jen’s note- Floral/aromatic with subtle stone fruits, mineral and grapefruit hints (pineapple?). Juicy acid/lean entry with nice integration. Has earthy notes (green herbs) and like the Pinot Noirs is very different and unique.
Brooks Winery Pinot Noir 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. Vineyards: Sunset View, Zenith, Muska, Sunset Ridge, Crawford, Willakia, Big Cheese, Sunny Mountain, Brooks Estate, Momtazi and Hoodview. “This blend showcases the diversity of the Willamette Valley. It includes vineyards in the north, south, east, west and central parts of the Valley. An expression of what the region’s terroir can render.”
“Cranberry, sour cherry, rhubarb and raspberry in the nose with hints of minerality. The nose smells incredibly fresh and inviting like a basket of just picked cherries on a spring day.” 4,068 cases produced.
Jen’s note- Deeper color (than Runaway Red Pinot Noir) ruby/garnet. Very rustic aroma- pine and forest floor. Sweet flowers and raspberries emerge. Light and lean with mouthwatering acidity and garrigue [underbrush] notes. Approchable, soft finish.
90 points Wine Advocate
“The basic Willamette cuvee of Brooks 2011 Pinot Noir incorporates barrels from all of the winery’s numerous sources – even, Williams emphasizes, “a little bit from each of the high-end sites that go predominantly to their own (dedicated) bottlings, because I want to have a sampling of character from everybody” – although it ends up being 80% from the Eola-Amity Hills. Like the dark shadow of its “Runaway Red” stable mate this features tart-edged, juicy black fruits shadowed by their distilled counterparts and allied to similarly mouthwatering salinity. Alluring perfume of wisteria and freesia add to the temptation of the fruit. A pleasant suggestion of fruit skin chewiness and berry seed crunch lends invigoration to a penetrating finish. This exceptional value should drink well through 2015.”
Brooks Winery Pinot Noir Janus 2011
Willamette Valley, Oregon. Vineyards: Brooks Estate 69%, Muska 16%, Crawford 4%, Sunset Ridge 4%, Zenith 4%, Momtazi 3%. “In Roman mythology, Janus is the God for new beginnings, as well as endings, the future, the past and doorways. Janus is the God of balance. The ultimate expression of Pinot Noir! Janus is our flagship…the richest, most vibrant and intense blend that we produce. The grapes were hand sorted and 100% destemmed. They fermented in individual lots and went through a cold soak for 7-20 days. After racking to barrel, the wines aged for 18 months in 20% New French Oak with a diverse cooperage program: Sylvain, Rousseau, Cadus, Billon, Gillet, Saint Martin and Damy. These barrels have an element of earth to them, with components of minerality and compost which add balance and richness to the blend.”
“Earthy and brooding, beef broth, soy sauce, black truffles and sauteed mushrooms. This is a very distinctive wine with dark fruit, crushed blackberries, black cherry and rhubarb. The wine is so lush and silky in the mouth. Texturally it is like shag carpet with layers of dark fruit, earth, cola and root beer. Amazing wine in this vintage and an enormously complex finish.” 2,014 cases produced.
Jen’s note- Low alcohol (12.3%). Light ruby/garnet in color. Very aromatic- dark, deep notes, deep aroma coffee and spice combined with mushroom and savory scents. Complex and flavorful palate. Lots of depth. Great balance.
91 points Wine Advocate
“Fascinating aromas of sauteed shitakes, toasted nuts, fresh red currant, red raspberry and sour cherry in the Brooks flagship bottling 2011 Pinot Noir Janus lead to a predictably buoyant, bright and infectiously juicy, yet also richly nutty and savory palate performance. This finishes with vibrant persistence – saliva-inducing salinity joining the nutty and fungal savor and pure, sappy, tart-edged berries. Look for excitement at table through at least 2017.”
Owen Roe Winery
“We are committed to practicing the highest standards of winemaking. Since our first vintage in 1999, our goal has been simple; to produce beautiful wines from superior sites in the Pacific Northwest- a place where the fruit ripens slowly and fully, resulting in excellent acidity and balance.”
Owen Roe Winery is located in St. Paul, Oregon. They sourse fruit from both Oregon and Washington.
Owen Roe Pinot Noir Sharecroppers 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon. “During the economic recession of 2001, and Owen Roe’s first couple vintages as a winery, Oregon Pinot Noir growers were facing hardship in selling their fruit, come harvest time. At Owen Roe, we wanted to help our farming friends and prevent missing out on such well-tended, beautiful fruit. We were presented with the difficult and costly purchasing of grapes to process, cellar and bottle, waiting several months to recover our costs on the finished wine. To overcome this obstacle, we decided to bring back the historical business practice of sharecropping, resulting in the aptly named wine, “Sharecropper’s.” This partnership meant that Owen Roe would take the fruit, make the wine and once it was sold, share the profits with our growers. This remains an important part of our history and due to the success of this wine; we are now able to pay our growers upfront.”
“Aromas of savory toast, nutmeg and mint lead to a surprising mouthful of zingy acidity with bright and juicy marionberry and Rainier cherry flavors. Underlying layers of vanilla and baking spices like cinnamon and black licorice are structurally enhanced with candied fruit and brown sugar nuances. Ready to drink now, however this wine will cellar well for 5+ years. 14.1% Alcohol. Vineyard Sources: Anna’s, Lenne, Merriman & Sojourner.”
Owen Roe Abbot’s Table Red 2012
Columbia Valley, Washington. “This red blend not only represents many of the vineyards that we work with in Washington- the Abbot’s Table is a part of the Owen Roe culture. Each day, our crew sits down to a casual lunch together and we genuinely enjoy taking this time together to unwind and connect. Every now and then, we invite guests to dine with us and experience our daily routine. This is a nice perk as an employee, but it also brings us all closer together, creating a more personal relationship between employees and visitors. The Abbot’s Table blend was originally crafted after a similar dining experience of our Founder and Winemaker, David O’Reilly. He had been told as a young man that upon visiting abbeys around the world, monks would offer a place to dine at their table. As an adult, David spontaneously visited an abbey during a vacation to Europe and found himself seated at the Abbot’s table; with whom he shared a home cooked meal and lovely table wine. After a memorable trip, David returned home and created a new blend consisting of 5+ varietals from the Yakima Valley. This blend became Abbot’s Table.”
“Reminiscent of the bold Abbot’s Table blends of past vintages, this 2012 bottling is predominately blended with the following varietals (Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Malbec, Blaufränkisch and Merlot). This Yakima Valley red wine has mouthwatering aromas of plum, raspberry, white pepper and herbaceous undertones. The mouth-feel has lovely depth and richness with bright acidity, rounded out with hints of vanilla, dark cocoa nibs, robust violet and spice.”
Owen Roe Sinister Hand 2012
Columbia Valley, Washington. 70% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault. “The story goes like this- Long ago, during the 17th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were two revolutionary Irish families. They formed a rowing competition to reserve rights to some highly regarded land. The two rowing teams agreed that the first to touch the land, after rowing across the lake, would become ruler of the land. O’Neill’s boat was falling behind so a member of the crew grabbed his own sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore, winning the title to rule the land. This land still remains in the family.”
“A dark story needs a dark wine, which is why we created this blend, typical of a traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This blend of 70% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault has lovely aromas of black cherry, cranberry, clove, orange zest and dusty earth. The front palate has notes of cocoa and is nicely balanced with cranberry spice cake and gingerbread flavors. The finish has a refreshing structure with fine tannins.”