To start, this is the Brooks winery in Oregon….there’s are a few other wineries of the same name, many in areas that aren’t as familiar to wine drinkers, like Tennessee. Opened in 1998 by Jimi Brooks (who tragically died of a heart attack in 2004 at only 38) and passed to his son Pascal, winemaker Chris Williams has been tasked with helping the winery to keep its footing with a managing partner who couldn’t legally drink the wine he was technically responsible for. Pascal was only 15 when he became managing director of Brooks back in ‘04, although he’s living in the Midwest with his mom, returning to the Willamette Valley to work harvest and spend time when not in high school. Luckily, the family had a plan in place, even with a tragic and unexpected passing and they’ve set the winery up well for now and into the future. A horrible story to be sure and having a toddler in my house and being in my mid 30’s, it puts things into perspective to be sure, but sitting slightly outside of the wine establishment and having such a different set up both in terms of space (the winery building is only 35 feet by 50 feet, that’s especially tiny in Oregon where land is cheaper) and ownership, leads to some innovation.
I think this Amycas white is a good example of that innovation. Oregon has struggled for some time to find a complementary white to their standard bearer Pinot Noir, but this might be an example of where some wineries might go. Made from a combination of Pinot Blanc (yes, genetically related to Pinot Noir) and Muscat, (there are also smaller amounts of Riesling and Pinot Gris) it’s an interesting mix of floral notes and acidity.
Personally, I find the Muscat addition the most interesting. Perhaps the oldest and most genetically diverse grape in the world, some of the current research at UC Davis shows that perhaps all of the 200 cultivated grape species in the world today, are somehow descended from Muscat. It certainly seems that when 5,000 years ago people found wild grape vines growing around the Mediterranean, it was likely Muscat. Typically, you can find Persians, Italians, French and even Spaniards convinced that the grape originated in their part of the world, to this day, no one can be quite sure. I find the addition of Muscat interesting from a historical perspective, but also because despite the preponderance of different types of Muscat grown today, they all share a single rather unique trait, an intense aroma of sweetness and floral. Those aromas come through loud and clear for me in this wine and makes it interesting in a way that some wines, especially the classic oak and butter Chardonnay’s, simply are not.
Previously featured in our most inexpensive wine club, the Explorations Wine Club.
Winery Provided Tasting Notes: Perfumed honeysuckle and paperwhites, white peach, rose petals and orange blossom flowers. So pretty in the nose with lychee, gardenias and pear. In the mouth the rich fruit explodes! Canned pear syrup, peach, lemon pie, cantaloupe, melon, passion fruit and jasmine. Beautiful wine with a lush texture, finishing with a hint of orange rind and bright acid. Loving this wine both in the aromas and the structure and pure ripe fruit. Great with tuna conserva, celery root salad, grilled fish, etc.