It wouldn't surprise anyone who knows me that Brooks Winery in Amity Oregon is one of my favorite places on earth. We have visited and written about Brooks for years and when friends come to town it is always on our list of winery visits.
Recently we had friends visiting from the east coast so it was another opportunity for us to introduce Brooks to a new audience. From the time you arrive until the moment you leave, you are treated like guests in the Brooks home. Now that they are using a reservation system (one of the silver linings of COVID), the tasting room never feels crowded or cramped, making it an even better experience.
As the six of us entered, we were escorted to the leather couches where I first met Brooks' plush blankets many years ago. That red blanket, like the one that now resides on my couch at home, is a reminder of how cozy the leather couches in the tasting room are. As we snuggled in, Heather Kirk, Director of Wine Club Happiness, greeted us. We've known Heather for many years. We knew that she could tell the Brooks story better than anyone. She shared the history of Brooks and its founder with our guests. It is a tragically lovely story. If you are not familiar with it, I recommend watching American Wine Story. It tells the story of Brooks and the early Willamette Valley wine scene in a moving and engaging way.
Brooks handles their tastings differently. You are served at your seat rather than "bellying up to the bar." Instead of a quick, unchaperoned tasting, you are treated to a full experience that includes thorough descriptions of the wines by folks who really know the wines and an opportunity to savor each wine. The other difference at Brooks is that you start with the reds and then move to the whites. The reds are mostly, not surprisingly, Pinot Noir. The whites are Reislings! That was Jimi Brooks' passion and it shows in the winemaker, Chris's, nuanced approach to this spectacular grape. The Reislings range from bone dry to desert wines. I LOVE REISLING. There, I said it. I love the petrol on the nose, the aromatics that follow from the nose to the palate, the mouth feel and the acid. Brooks' reislings never disappoint.
The menu is another surprising treat at Brooks. It changes with the seasons. During our visit, we shared a beautiful charuterie board, fried Brussels sprouts, and a grilled avocado. Chef Norma Buchholz always hits it out of the park, these choices were no exception. Come for the wine, stay for the food! During this visit, we also got to spend some time with Janie Brooks. Finding her in the tasting room is always an added bonus.
The final attraction at Brooks is the property. It is a beautiful site and the gardens and gathering spaces that have been created are just perfect. You can get lost in the untamed flowers or ooh and aaah over the vegetable gardens. Either way, you know that Brooks is of the earth and makes every decision to protect her.
This was another wonderful visit to Brooks Winery, among all our wonderful visits there. Brooks is located at 21101 SE Cherry Blossom Lane Amity, OR 97101. They can be reached at (503) 435-1278 and are open 11-5 daily.
The Wine Media Conference is for the Wine Industry Media. The Conference itself is paid for primarily through the sponsors. The turnaround is that attendees have promised to write about the sponsors and their experience. This overview takes in a few of those, you will see more content to fulfill our obligation for posts, but quite honestly, there is so much to write about, that you will see more than our requirement. Please note that all opinions are our own.
(The conference content and wine for tasting at the sessions and excursions were provided by the sponsors, travel, hotel and most meals were paid for by attendees.)