Monday, February 11, 2008

Taking the Riesling Shortcut to Alsace Via Oregon

When I bought the Good Grape blogger pack from domaine547 I was promised a trip to Alsace via Oregon. I got one! Even better, I discovered a winery I think I want to develop a lifetime relationship with--and it's a small producer I would never have heard of or had the chance to try in the normal course of buying and tasting wine in Southern California. So thank you to Jill and Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape for introducing me to Brooks Wines.

There is a heart-tugging story behind this winery, and it revolves around Pascal Brooks--who just may be the youngest winery owner in the US. Pascal was just 8 years old when the winery's ownership sadly passed to him after the death of his dad, Jimi. Friends and neighbors rallied to support the Brooks wine-making efforts to provide Pascal with a steady source of income and financial support. Since 2004 Pascal has had help making his wine, including the assistance of his aunt, Janie. They continue to bottle wine made from only organically- produced grapes, and to adopt biodynamic farming methods dedicated to sustainability. (photo of Brooks founder Jimi Brooks mixing biodynamic preparation for the vines,

I got two Brooks wines in my blogger pack, and the first one I opened was the 2006 Brooks Riesling from the Willamette Valley (included in the domaine547 Good Grape Blogger pack of 3 Oregon wines for $52.99). This was an excellent QPR domestic riesling that (quite frankly) blew the highly touted Eroica of Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen out of the water. If you like that wine, and pay more than $20 for it, then treat yourself to a Brooks Riesling. There were complex aromas of lime, apple, Meyer lemon, petrol, and stone. I could have sniffed the wine all night without drinking any of it and kept myself happily busy. Flavors of lime, honey, slate, and even a hint of fresh red currants zinged in my mouth. I preserved the wine and left it overnight, and I think it should age nicely over the next 12-24 months, if you can wait that long.

With our Oregon Riesling we had a delicious pasta dish that used butternut squash and some zingy spices created by Mario Batali. It may seem odd to put Riesling with pasta and squash, but it was a dynamic pairing. The creaminess of the squash and pasta was nice with the silkiness of the wine, and the acidity of the Riesling cut through to the heart of the thyme, red onion, and red pepper that spiced the dish.

Brooks Wines are committed to making "exceptional wine at modest prices," and with this bottle they have succeeded and then some. Only 493 cases of this wine were produced, so get it while you can. And if you're in one of those states like Massachusetts that domaine547 can't ship to (and you know who you are!), check out Table & Vine in West Springfield. They have it, too.


Jeff (Good Grape) said...

Dr. Debs,

Really glad you enjoyed the wine. Nice post and a meritorious highlight for Brooks.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dr Debs
Nice post and what at touching story.
I think I will be hitting domaine547 to grab a couple of bottles.
Thanks for letting us know about the Brooks family.

JCJ said...

Great post and a compelling story. I only wish I could order from domaine547...

I've sent a link to this story from my blog:



Anonymous said...

Thanks Debs for giving Brooks this much deserved attention (and, well, we like attention too!).

FYI, since some of you are wanting to order just the Riesling and not the whole blogger-pack, we've opened this item up to a la carte purchase.

However, we still encourage the purchase of the entire Good Grape pack, which features another marvelous Brooks wine, so anybody choosing that will get a bonus: a great everyday glass carafe/decanter.

Your choice! We say the more Brooks the merrier (and Amity, we love you too...)

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks, everybody. And Jill, I'm looking forward to getting to that Amity Riesling (and the other Brooks wine) in the very near future!

Wine Rambler said...

Thanks for the posting! I have only recently discovered Riesling from Oregon (in my case Willamette Valley Vineyards, but it seems there is much potential in this region, as your post confirms again. I will keep an eye on this!