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Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives

This Is What People Mean When They Talk About Oregon Pinots

When people say the best Pinot Noirs come from Oregon, they probably are thinking about Brooks Winery

The color of their 2014 Pinot Noir is on the lighter side, but it’s full of serious flavor – rich and earthy, with hints of basil and spring herbs on the front, moving on to tart, lively cherries and juicy raspberries. One sip and we’re right there with the makers – we also get notes of “baked cherry pie, flaky buttery pastry, fresh strawberries, julienned basil and cream, white mushrooms, KFC fried chicken and raspberry candy.”

Yes, those are tears of joy. 

Brooks Winery was founded by Portland native Jimi Brooks. He started his career by following his love of history, beauty and wine and ended up in – where else? –  Beaujolais, France, where he briefly settled into learning the hard work of winemaking.

When Jimi returned to Oregon in 1998 with his newfound knowledge (and probably very stained lips), he discovered a burgeoning wine world. He decided to devote the rest of his life to holistic farming and winemaking in the Eola-Amity Hills, an area in the Willamette Valley. Thus was Brooks Winery born. 

The Hills are known for higher altitudes and ocean winds that blow through the Van Duzer Corridor. When the resulting fruit (technically berries in this case) of these conditions are paired with a master winemaker’s hand, you get especially complex, balanced Rieslings and Pinot Noirs – two of Brooks' specialties.

While Jimi is no longer making the wines himself, his strong commitment to biodynamic farming, gentle approach to winemaking and excitement for the Willamette Valley lives on. His longtime friend and winemaking pal, Chris Williams, continues to make Brooks’ wines using Jimi’s recipes, and the winery is now owned by Jimi’s son, Pascal, and Jimi’s sister.

Yes, it’s a big fat family affair, and that’s how Brooks’ wines are meant to be enjoyed – with those you love. 

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