2009 Janus Pinot Noir
Oregon: Willamette Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Future Past
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, where unique Pinot Noirs are born. Re-infiltrate our the regional winery that holds the record for Most Popular Oregon Winery, among our Pinot Noir-loving Operatives, Brooks Wine. Secure the latest vintage of their exemplary Janus Pinot Noir.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Brooks Wine
Wine Subject: 2009 Janus Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley
Winemaker: Chris Williams
Backgrounder: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just south of Portland and along the Willamette River is well known for Pinot Noir and other Burgundian varietals. Its deep and fertile volcanic soil, cooler climate most directly effect viticulture. Most of the vineyards in this area are planted in the valley’s and hillsides along the river. Today’s wine comes from a unique winery – with a unique heritage. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, along with his interview with Brooks’ winemaker, Chris Williams, below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful ruby hues, evenly colored, from core to edge. When swirled, chubby tears take a long time to form, before falling slowly, thinning out as they move.
Smell – Black cherry candy, raspberry and wild strawberry jump from the glass. These mingle with bramble, blueberry preserve, black tea leaf, and soft brown spice. As the wine opens up, it reveals subtle dried orange peel, forest floor and soft cedar.
Feel – Smooth, cool and light on entry, this wine settles onto the mid-palate, where it reveals fine tannins and a soft acidity. After the wine leaves the palate, a soft, flinty dryness gradually appears.
Taste – Very balanced, with bright fruit and a softly earthen character showing in even proportion. Cherry candy and young strawberry take a bright, sweet lead. As the wine opens up, these are joined by blackberry, bramble, strawberry, blueberry, cedar, soft spice and a hint of plum preserve.
Finish – Long, sweet and flavorful, with red fruit leading to darker fruit, spice, cedar and bramble. These slowly give way to flint, black tea leaf and a hint of black pepper.
Conclusion – This is a delightful and delicious wine that is bursting with fruit. We are used to Oregon Pinot Noir that drinks slightly ‘dirty’, with more of an earthy, mulch character that fans of California wines have a difficult time understanding. This wine certainly shows of its terroir, but I must say that the fruit-forward nature of the wine is what really won our tasting panel over. With sweet red fruit of cherry and strawberry taking charge on the nose and on the palate, this bright wine is very food friendly. The secondary earthen characteristics add dimension, complexity and the Williamette-ness of the wine. Despite the relative youth of the wine, it is really drinking beautifully. This elegant, fruit-forward, flexible and food-friendly wine would be fantastic with a spiced lamb dish or a savory grilled chicken.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Chris Williams
WINE EDUCATION: Hands-on
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF:none
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY:I think it’s very important to always show the vintage as part of Terrior.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Eat, Drink, and be merry!
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Brooks is 1998 Willamette Valley Riesling, Chris Williams’ 2004 Ara Riesling
AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CHRIS: And thank you, it’s always a pleasure to find a new audience to show my wine to.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
CHRIS: It was really more about a friendship I formed with Jimi Brooks that lead me into the business. From there my appreciation for wine grew quickly.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CHRIS: That would have to be Jimi. I learned everything from him including to always encourage yourself to try new things.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
CHRIS: Myself, but always with a consumer in mind!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Willamette Valley so special?
CHRIS: For me it’s really about the people, the sense of community really shows through!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CHRIS: A lot like life, you have to always be open to new things to really find your true pleasures.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
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.
This is a fresh classic Pinot Noir that truly represents the unique flavors of the wine country here in Oregon. As you pour the first glass you’re drawn to the vibrant garnet red color with just a hint of a brown outer ring. Then you go even further into the glass as the first hint of its succulent aromas tingle your senses. You initially get a juicy fresh fruit of black cherry, blackberry and raspberry. But as you breathe in the more complex aromas deeper you get minerality, spice, black current, and a pleasantly light smokiness. The aromas are so delicious you wish you could enjoy it for hours but the desire to taste is too much to resist. Then when you finally get that first sip your flooded with an elegant and vibrant fresh and juicy fruit bursting of cherry, and blackberry with just the right amount of acidity. With a little aeration more complex flavors come out with an increased acidity, baking spice and wet stone. Then you get more of a leechy, tart raspberry and pepper finish that starts out tart and acidic then finishes and balances with a mouth watering sweetness from a magnificently sweet tannin structure. The juicy fruit coupled with the tartness and acidity which makes this a perfectly delicious choice to drink now. As good as it is right now it has just the right balance of acidity, tannins, and fruit character to age gracefully to be enjoyed for years to come. So come and enjoy some with friends and family now and take some home to watch it age and mature to its peak! Cheers!
Winemaking Notes: 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 25% 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. This wine was filtered.
About The Winery:
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.
Since our founding, there have been many milestones for Brooks. Many new chapters have unveiled and it has taken years of hard work by many committed individuals to build the solid foundation for our winery today, allowing us to put the final pieces in place for a long life of success and legacy. For the first time in our history, we will be nestled in our own winery space for the 2008 harvest. It’s an enormous endeavor to depart from those that we have worked with for so many years. We invite you to visit our NEW WINERY perched on top of the hill in the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley.
APPELLATION: Willamette Valley