Our passion for Riesling has lead us to work with wines primarily from Germany and France. If you have been following the story here you understand the Beaver State has yet to really to make a splash. But that is about to change. Brooks, the small artisan estate based in the Willamette, has for years offered reliable, well made wines that were good, but never really exciting.
Their 2016 effort has elevated their game. Big time.
The 2016 Brooks Meyer Vineyard Riesling is a mouthwatering single vineyard bottling with a touch of residual sugar (Germans Riesling nerds would classify this as feinherb) that offers us a refreshing portrait of Riesling…no doubt New World but clearly classically oriented and acid driven. The results are sensational.
The Meyer vineyard offers a body that reminds us of the Rheingau with the tropical flare of the Pfalz. Exotic, juicy, loaded with mineral terroir… make no mistake, Brooks has made an eye-opening statement from the Willamette. Be warned, this is rare juice. Brooks only made a measly 75 cases of this and we were generously allocated the entire Massachusetts’s allocation! It’s not much.
2016 Brooks Meyer Vineyard Riesling
“Pale straw-yellow. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit and floral aromas, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Nervy and focused on the palate, offering juicy Meyer lemon, green apple and quince flavors that show superb tension and become spicier with air. Displays bright mineral character on the incisive finish, which leaves behind bitter citrus pith and floral notes.” 92 pts., Vinous
More about the Wine:
It is hard not to notice the black t-shirt in the Brooks winery gift shop. “If you don’t like Riesling” it reads, “you’re a f*cking idiot.”
Well, they have a point.
The shirt also leaves little doubt of the serious connection Riesling has here for Brooks, who buys and owns some of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the state. Riesling has been an integral part of the Oregon wine scene since the early 1960’s and at one point consisted of a whopping 24% of the state’s production. While that number has gone down, many of those Riesling vineyards still exist and are now old vines. One of those vineyards happens to be ... Meyer.
The Brooks estate itself checks out all the boxes we like to see around here. Jimi Brooks was tremendously successful pediatrician in Portland, who found a successful second career in wine. Inspired by the Old World and trained in Burgundy, Jimi was instrumental for advocating Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic viticulture (the estate is certified by Demeter) and emphasizing wine making that showcased terroir. Mr. Brooks tragically died of an aortic aneurysm in 2004 just days before harvest. After hearing the news, many winemakers around the area joined together to finish the harvest for the estate, including Patty Green, Steve Doerner of Cristom and Josh Bergström of Bergström. It is an astonishing and revealing moment not just for the respect Mr. Brooks held, but for the tight winemaking community in the Willamette.
Brooks is now continued on by Jimi’s young son, Pascal, who has kept the old school traditions his father set in place. Judging by the quality of the 2016’s, he and winemaker Chris Williams are doing an astonishing job keeping Mr. Brooks legacy alive and well.