2012 Brooks, Pinot Noir, Janus, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The Brooks winery is an inspirational tale starting with passion, leading to heartbreak and then to love of family and responsibility and I’m honored to have had an early look in on this great journey in American wine and it was a pleasure to catch up with Janie Brooks Heuck and taste through the new releases. The Brooks wines are lovely, dynamic and filled with life, they are well crafted and have plenty of acidity to keep their fans happy, especially standing out right now are the 2012 Dry Yamhill-Carlton Riesling, the 2014 Pinot Blanc and the gorgeous 2012 Janus Pinot Noir. I remember tasting some of the first Brooks Pinot with the late Jimi Brooks, looking back it was a very special moment in time, and though sad he isn’t around now, you can still feel his presence and influence in these wines and certainly within his family, these wines truly possess his soul. Jimi liked lean and energy filled wines, and that tradition is strong, but this 2012 Janus has that something extra and really puts the vintage in the bottle with extra depth and generous character, this wine is a glorious example of year and place. The nose lifts from the glass with rose petal and hints of violets, red spice and soft earthy fruits leading to a beautiful and detailed palate of juicy plums, cherry, raspberry and currant fruits with marvelous textural harmony and mouth feel as well as a complex background with pepper, cinnamon, dried fennel, tea notes, fresh tilled earth and a touch of oak with cedar and light vanilla bean. Chris Williams, Winemaker, did a masterful job here putting all the elements together, this is top shelf juice and he deserves a lot of credit for reaching new heights of talent with his latest set of wines. If you admire Pinot Noir, no matter where from, be it Burgundy or the new world this wine will please and seduce you,it has a core of vibrant acid and silky ripe tannins holding the fruit in place, but allowing everything to shine in graceful fashion, for me it is one of the best all round quality offerings out there and one of the finest Brooks to date, it is also a deal, so don’t miss this new Janus it is a focused and lovely Pinot Noir, drink from 2015 to 2024.
($39 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
PS: For look into Brooks and their journey, see the film American Wine Story (available for download or streaming at iTunes and Amazon)