September 2010
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Oregon Dreamer: The Story of Janie Brooks Heuck

Jaine Brooks Heuck and her nephew Pascal Brooks look over the 18 acres of Brooks Wines vineyrads with Pinot Noir and Riesling grapes. Photography by John Valls.

 

Six years ago, Janie Brooks Heuck’s knowledge about wine varietals was minimal: some were red and some were white. It was her creative big brother, Jimi, who was the expert on vinification.

Janie, always the sensible sibling when the two were growing up in Southwest Portland, planned a lucrative career as a CPA. In her eyes, Jimi’s passionate involvement in the soil-to-sip process of making Oregon wine was mere dilettantism.

But when Jimi died suddenly in September of 2004 from an aortic aneurism at age 38, Janie soon discovered what an important figure her brother had become in the pantheon of Oregon winemakers.

From Dream to Reality
Growing up, Janie studied accounting while Jimi lived a bohemian life, traveling through France to learn all he could about life and wine. He was drawn back to McMinnville, where he’d attended college, to apply his bubbling knowledge to his beloved Oregon wine country. He roamed the hillside vineyards with his little boy, Pascal, dreaming out loud of someday building Brooks Winery.

Jimi’s organic, biodynamic grapes, grown on leased vineyards, were top grade. And his wines, made at friends’ wineries, were gaining national acclaim. So upon his sudden death, his friends didn’t want his valuable work to go down the drain.

A Collective Legacy
The day he passed, the grapes were just days away from harvest and 14 of his winemaker friends volunteered to bring in the harvest and make the wine. They knew Jimi’s meticulous process well enough to replicate his wines—but there was just one catch. “We want you to run the winery,” they told Janie.

Managing a winery did not figure into Janie’s ordered plan for her life. But her thoughts went straight to eight-year-old Pascal, who often stated he would grow up to be a winemaker just like his dad. Janie knew it was up to her to keep the winery going and one day pass it on to Pascal.

“He’s the last Brooks, but it’s my name too,” says Janie. “It is our family legacy.”

Pascal is now the teenage owner of Brooks Winery, with its own facilities and tasting room near Amity. Until Pascal takes over, a longtime friend of his dad’s oversees the wine production while Janie manages the winery.

And it seems Janie has a knack for the vintner’s life after all. The winery’s reputation was boosted last fall when a Brooks wine—a 2006 Ara Riesling— was served at President Obama’s first state dinner.

Original Article


Exploring the Whites of Italy: Clean, unoaked choices range beyond Pinot Grigio by Bill Daley

Just as Italy's vast and varied cuisine seems to have been boiled down to a few tired and true warhorses — spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, cheese pizza — on the trip across the North Atlantic, so too has the choice of Italian wine often appeared to be limited to familiar reds such as Chianti or lambrusco. Italian whites rarely seem to figure in the popular imagination, and when they do, the pick always seems to be pinot grigio.

Time to break out of that same-old-same-old mold. Italy grows hundreds of wine grape varieties. Most of these whites offer a "simple but obvious combination of clean, unoaked styles that speak to the grape's distinctive personality," said Evan Goldstein, a California-based author and master sommelier.

Use this long Labor Day weekend and the light, intensely flavorful foods of late summer to explore all of what Goldstein and other wine pros say Italian whites have to offer. You're guaranteed to find something you'll like.

"Italy absolutely offers a wine for every palate," said Belinda Chang, beverage director for The Modern in New York City. "It makes sense that a country obsessed with food produces the perfect wine accompaniment as well."

Chang raised eyebrows some years back when she drafted Italian-only wine lists for two of the restaurants she worked for. She remains unapologetic today.

"Italy produces almost a quarter of the world's wine and is practically covered with vineyards. I really loved turning the drinker of chardonnay, white zinfandel and cabernet on to the incredibly food-friendly wines of Italy," she said. "All I needed to know was what their favorite wine was, and I could come up with an Italian equivalent in terms of flavor profile, body and texture."

Steven W. Alexander, sommelier for Chicago's Spiaggia restaurant, does much the same thing. Italy is a "Pandora's box of unknown varietals and flavors waiting to be discovered," he said. Wine drinkers who stick to pinot grigio or chardonnay are "missing out on a world of flavor opportunities and great values."

"The native grapes of Italy are some of the finest in the world and are worth exploring, especially if you are on a budget," he added. "In general, native varietals offer more value because they are marked up less than commodity grapes like chardonnay, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. Simply put, they are off the beaten path, so they command less of a mark-up at the winery."                                                                                                 

Try these Italian Whites:
Ciavolich 2008 Pecorino 'Colline Pescarese'
La Bellanotte 2009 Armonico
Degli Azzoni 2008 Grechetto
Caleo 2009 Inzolia
Valle dell'Acate 2009 Case Ibidini Insolia
Caves du Vin Blanc 2008 Rayon 'Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle'


Recommended: Muscadet

Because September has arrived, which means full-bore oyster season, let's dwell for a moment on Muscadet, the Loire's minerally wonder wine. How such a neutral grape as Melon de Bourgogne can become an expression of site and depth is a tribute to the soils and determination of the farmers of the Nantais.

Oysterwise, there are plenty of other options, of course. Sauvignon Blanc has been a rising star, though when we recently considered diving into the realms of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume as part of a larger Loire consideration, we realized that Sauvignon Blanc is, price-wise, in an odd place.

For Muscadet, 2009 is one of those wonder vintages, beautifully ripe, enough so to win over skeptics. Top producers made dramatic and age-worthy bottles in 2009, words not generally attached to a wine often destined for a simple carafe. So these remain some of the best values in wine. Enjoy as you seek out a long-awaited dose of sun.

2009 Michel Delhommeau Cuvee Harmonie Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie
Michel and Nathalie Delhommeau get this cuvee from a single parcel of older vines grown on lava-based rock. A lean, steely profile, with its leesiness showing at the end amid a burst of ripe guava. The mineral notes are chalky and salty, and there's an immediate refreshment to it. (Also try Michel Delhommeau 2009 Muscadet 'St. Vincent')

Article by Jon Bonné for SFGate.com


Charles Smith's Demolition Derby Debut

How do you win the Demolition Derby? Be the last driver whose car is still operational after ramming into vehicles and being rammed into by vehicles. Charles Smith, you are a brave soul!



Wine Advocate #190 August 2010

Wine Advocate - Issue #190 August 2010

USA - CENTRAL COAST RHONE /OTHER CENTRAL COAST WINE

BOOKER VINEYARD
2008 'The Ripper' Grenache 94pts -sold out
2008 'Alchemist' Syrah / Cab 95pts -sold out
2008 'Vertigo' GSM 96pts -sold out
2007 'My Favorite Neighbor' 94pts -sold out
2008 Roussanne / Viognier 88pts
2008 'Fracture' 95pts -sold out

BREWER-CLIFTON
2008 Chardonnay 91pts
2008 Chardonnay Gnesa 92pts -sold out
2008 Chardonnay Mount Carmel Vineyard 94pts
2008 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict 92pts -sold out
2008 Chardonnay Sea Smoke 91pts -sold out at winery
2008 Chardonnay Sweeney Canyon9 92pts -sold out at winery
2008 Pinot Noir 93pts
2008 Pinot Noir Ampelos 96pts -sold out at winery
2008 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi 96pts -sold out
2008 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard 93pts -winery only
2008 Pinot Noir Melville Vineyard 94pts -winery only
2008 Pinot Noir Mount Carmel Vineyard 92pts
2008 Pinot Noir Zotovich 91pts

DIATOM
2009 Chardonnay Babcock Vineyard 95pts - Spring release
2009 Chardonnay Clos Pepe Vineyard 90pts
2009 Chardonnay Huber Vineyard 97pts
2009 Chardonnay Drum Canyon 94pts

LINNE CALODO
2008 'Rising Tides' (S/G/M) 92pts
2007 'The Overthinker'
2008 'The Overthinker' 91pts -TBA
2007 'Screwball' 92pts
2008 'Screwball' 94pts -TBA
2008 'Sticks and Stones' 94pts -sold out
2007 'The Outsider' 94pts
2007 'Nemesis' Syrah 95pts -sold out
2008 'Nemesis' Syrah 92pts -TBA
2009 'The Contrarian' 91pts -TBA
2008 'Cherry Red' 90pts
2008 'Problem Child' 90pts

MELVILLE
2009 Chardonnay Clone 76 Inox 91pts
2008 Chardonnay Donna's Estate 93pts -winery only
2008 Chardonnay Estate 92pts - available now
2008 Chardonnay Estate Verna's Vineyard 91pts - winery only
2008 Pinot Noir Carrie's 95pts
2008 Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigene 91pts -sold out at winery
2008 Pinot Noir Estate 91pts
2008 Pinot Noir Verna's Vineyard 92pts
2008 Pinot Noir Terraces 94pts
2008 Syrah 'Donna's' 98pts - November release
2008 Syrah 'High Density' 93pts -winery only
2008 Syrah 'Verna's' 95pts

PALMINA
2009 Arneis Honea Vineyard 89pts
2008 Barbera 90pts
2008 Dolcetto 89pts
2008 Lagrein Honea Vineyard 90pts
2009 Malvasia Bianca Larner Vineyard 93pts
2005 Nebbiolo 89pts
2005 Nebbiolo Honea Vineyard 90pts
2005 Nebbiolo Sisquoc Vineyard 90pts
2005 Nebbiolo Stolpman Vineyard 88pts
2009 Botasea Rosato di Palmina 89pts
2009 Tocai Friulano Honea Vineyard 90pts

PISONI
2008 Lucia Chardonnay 93pts
2008 Lucia Pinot Noir 93pts -TBA
2008 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard 96pts
2008 Lucia Syrah Garys' Vineyard 95pts - September release
2008 Lucia Syrah Pisoni Vineyard Susan's Hill 94pts -September release

ROBERT TALBOTT
2008 Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 91pts -'07 in stock
2008 Pinot Noir Kali Hart 88pts
2008 Pinot Noir Logan 92pts
2008 Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 90pts
2008 Logan Chardonnay 92pts -'07 in stock

SAXUM
2008 'Bone Rock' James Berry Vineyard 96pts -Spring 2011
2007 'Bone Rock' James Berry Vineyard 99pts -Spring 2011
2008 'Broken Stones' 94pts - November release
2008 Booker Vineyard 98pts -Spring 2011
2008 James Berry Vineyard 98pts - November
2008 Heartstone Vineyard 93pts -Spring 2011
2007 Heartstone Vineyard 98pts -Spring 2011

WASHINGTON

CHARLES SMITH WINES
2007 Heart Syrah 98pts -September release
2007 Old Bones Syrah 99pts -September release
2007 The Skull Syrah 98pts -September release

K VINTNERS
2007 El Jefe en Chamberlin 95pts -08 September release
2007 Ovide 93pts - 08 September release
2007 Roma 95pts - 08 September release
2007 The Boy 93pts -sold out
2007 The Creator 95pts - 08 September release
2007 Syrah 'Royal City' 99pts -sold out
2007 Syrah 'The Deal' Sundance Vineyard 94pts - 08 September release
2007 Syrah Morrison Lane 93pts - 08 September release
2007 Syrah Phil Lane 96pts -sold out
2007 Syrah Northridge 93pts -TBA
2007 Syrah Pheasant Vineyard 91pts -TBA
2009 Viognier 91pts

L'ECOLE NO 41
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 90pts- '06 in stock
2009 Chenin Blanc Walla Voila 87pts
2007 Merlot Columbia Valley 87pts
2007 Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard 94pts -'06 in stock
2007 Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard 93pts
2008 Luminesce Seven Hills 90pts
2008 Semillon 87pts
2007 Syrah Columbia Valley 88pts
2007 Syrah Seven Hills Vineyard Estate 90pts

OWEN ROE
2008 Cabernet Franc Rosa Mystica 87pts
2008 Cabernet Franc Slide Mountain Vineyard 88pts
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Dubrul Vineyard 89pts
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Willow Vineyard 87pts
2008 Chardonnay Dubrul Vineyard 89pts -TBA
2008 Merlot Dubrul Vineyard 88pts
2008 Syrah Ex Umbris 87pts
2008 Syrah Lady Rosa 90pts

SEVEN HILLS
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Klipsun Vineyard 90pts -'06 in stock
2007 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 89pts - '06 in stock
2007 Merlot Seven Hills Vineyard 90pts
2006 Pentad 89pts -'05 in stock

TAMARACK CELLARS
2008 Cabernet Franc 90pts
2007 Merlot 90pts
2008 Firehouse Red 88pts
2006 Sagemoor Vineyard Reserve 93pts -TBA
2007 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Reserve 91pts -TBA
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon 89pts -Fall Release

WALLA WALLA VINTNERS
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon 90pts
2007 Malbec Pepper Bridge Vineyard 91pts - special order
2007 Petit Verdot Frazier Bluff Vineyard 91pts -special order

FRANCE / LOIRE

DOMAINE CLAUDE RIFFAULT
2009 Sancerre les Boucauds 92pts

DOMAINE DE PALLUS
2006 Chinon 90pts -TBA
2008 Chinon les Pensees de Pallus 89pts - November release - '07 in stock

DOMAINE DU VIKING
1997 Cuvee Aurelie 91pts -special order
2009 Vouvray Sec Tendre 87pts- September release

DOMAINE HUET
2008 Vouvray Demi Sec le Mont 91pts
2009 Vouvray le Clos de Bourg Moelleux 93pts -September eta
2009 Vouvray le Haut Lieu Demi Sec 92pts -September eta
2008 Vouvray le Haut Lieu Demi Sec 90pts - '07 in stock
2009 Vouvray le Haut Lieu Sec 90pts -September eta
2009 Vouvray le Mont Moelleux 91pts -September eta
2009 Vouvray Moelleux Cuvee Constance 96pts
2008 Vouvray Moelleux Clos du Bourg 1er Trie 90pts
2009 Vouvray Moelleux Clos du Bourg 1er Trie 92pts -September eta
2008 Vouvray Moelleux le Haut Lieu 92pts
2009 Vouvray Moelleux le Haut Lieu 90pts -September eta
2008 Vouvray Moelleux le Mont 1er Trie 91pts
2009 Vouvray Moelleux le Mont 1er Trie 94pts -September eta
2008 Vouvray sec Clos du Bourg 90pts
2009 Vouvray sec Clos du Bourg 91pts

JEAN-FRANCOIS MERIEAU
2006 Bulles 88pts - '07 on order

MICHEL DELHOMMEAU
2009 Muscadet de Serve et Maine Sur Lie Cuvee Harmonie 89pts
2009 Muscadet de Serve et Maine Sur Lie Cuvee Saint Vincent 87pts

ITALY'S FINEST VALUES

AGOSTINA PIERI
2008 Rosso di Montalcino 88pts -TBA, '07 in stock

BOIRA'
2009 Pinot Grigio 86pts

CA' DEL MONTE
2008 Valpolicella Classico 88pts -TBA

ELIO PERRONE
2009 Barbera d'Asti Tasmorcan 89pts
2009 Moscato Clarte 91pts
2009 Sourgal 90pts
2009 Bigaro 91pts

MONTEPELOSO
2009 A Quo 90pts -TBA, '08 in stock

MORGEX
2009 Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle 88pts -'08 in stock
2007 Metodo Classico Extreme 90pts
2009 Vini Estremi 90pts

MORIS FARMS
2007 Monteregio di Massa Marittima 90pts
2009 Morellino di Scansano 89pts
2009 Vermentino 89pts

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