Mar 18, 2013

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Best Case Scenario: Brooks Winery Janus Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010

photo (82)From the pronounced flavors to the perpetual balance, each and every wine I’ve ever tried from Brooks Winery has been outstanding.  Located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley, a unique and touching story is attached to the ever-delicious wines that are produced at Brooks Winery.

Known for his love of the land and his dedication to organic and biodynamic farming, Portland native Jimi Brooks, founder of Brooks Winery in 1998, died in 2004 of a fatal heart-attack at the very young age of 38.  His then 8 year old son, Pascal, instantly became the youngest person in the world to own a winery.  Jimi Brooks’ sister, Janie Brooks-Heuck, along with many people in the Oregon wine industry helped to keep Jimi Brooks’ dream alive, and the winery and vineyards continue to thrive today.

“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.” (


Janie and Pascal | photo credit:

Just Google the name Jimi Brooks – time and time again you’ll find stories about and farewells to a man who was well-respected and loved by many.  Beautiful sentiments were given on a memorial post on, which will give you a clear idea of how much of an impact he had on the people he met and knew.

I think the name given to their flagship Pinot Noir, Janus, is befitting in many ways.  Janus is the ancient Roman God of Gateways.  Beginnings, doorways, balance and transitions are associated with Janus, who has two faces – one to look to the future, and one to look at the past.

The 2010 Brooks Winery Janus Pinot Noir has gorgeous aromas and flavors of juicy berries, dark cherries and a hint of coffee.  Earth and cardamon hit the palate mid-way, and a solid acidic finish suggests this is the ultimate food wine.  From start to finish, this is very much my kind of Pinot Noir – subtle juicy fruit combined with earthy tones, a hint of oak and perfect balance between acid and fruit.

Brooks Winery winemaker, Chris Williams (who worked with Jimi previously at another winery), believes in minimal intervention in the winery.  With a key focus on flavor development in the vineyard, Chris says his winemaking philosophy is to create high acid, low alcohol wines that are nuanced and well balanced.

How has your style evolved over the last 5 to 10 years?


Winemaker Chris Williams | photo credit:

“Style has not changed much. However wines will always reflect the vintage since they are not manipulated in the winery.”

What do you love about Oregon Pinot Noir? What makes it unique?

“The varying nature of each vintage, the cooler, longer growing seasons that result in wines that reflect terroir and our unique sites.”

Tell us about the 2010 Brooks Winery Janus Pinot Noir.

This is our flagship Pinot Noir that we started making in 1998. Janus is the Roman God of balance. The style of this wine is that it embodies all characteristics of pinot noir without any one dominating.”

What is one non-flavor descriptor to describe this wine?


For the wine geek in us all:

  • Cases produced: 750
  • Alcohol: 12.20%
  • 30% new French oak

US Markets/Distributors: Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Alabama and Louisiana.




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