Mission Codename: Future Past

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Send Agent Red back to Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley, where unique Pinot Noirs are born. Re-infiltrate our the regional winery that holds the record for Most Popular Oregon Winery, among our Pinot Noir-loving Operatives, Brooks Wine. Secure the latest vintage of their exemplary Janus Pinot Noir.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Brooks Wine

Wine Subject: 2009 Janus Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley

Winemaker: Chris Williams

Backgrounder: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just south of Portland and along the Willamette River is well known for Pinot Noir and other Burgundian varietals. Its deep and fertile volcanic soil, cooler climate most directly effect viticulture. Most of the vineyards in this area are planted in the valley’s and hillsides along the river. Today’s wine comes from a unique winery – with a unique heritage. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, along with his interview with Brooks’ winemaker, Chris Williams, below

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautiful ruby hues, evenly colored, from core to edge. When swirled, chubby tears take a long time to form, before falling slowly, thinning out as they move.

Smell – Black cherry candy, raspberry and wild strawberry jump from the glass. These mingle with bramble, blueberry preserve, black tea leaf, and soft brown spice. As the wine opens up, it reveals subtle dried orange peel, forest floor and soft cedar.

Feel – Smooth, cool and light on entry, this wine settles onto the mid-palate, where it reveals fine tannins and a soft acidity. After the wine leaves the palate, a soft, flinty dryness gradually appears.

Taste – Very balanced, with bright fruit and a softly earthen character showing in even proportion. Cherry candy and young strawberry take a bright, sweet lead. As the wine opens up, these are joined by blackberry, bramble, strawberry, blueberry, cedar, soft spice and a hint of plum preserve.

Finish – Long, sweet and flavorful, with red fruit leading to darker fruit, spice, cedar and bramble. These slowly give way to flint, black tea leaf and a hint of black pepper.

Conclusion – This is a delightful and delicious wine that is bursting with fruit. We are used to Oregon Pinot Noir that drinks slightly ‘dirty’, with more of an earthy, mulch character that fans of California wines have a difficult time understanding. This wine certainly shows of its terroir, but I must say that the fruit-forward nature of the wine is what really won our tasting panel over. With sweet red fruit of cherry and strawberry taking charge on the nose and on the palate, this bright wine is very food friendly. The secondary earthen characteristics add dimension, complexity and theWilliamette-ness of the wine. Despite the relative youth of the wine, it is really drinking beautifully. This elegant, fruit-forward, flexible and food-friendly wine would be fantastic with a spiced lamb dish or a savory grilled chicken.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Chris Williams



WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY:I think it’s very important to always show the vintage as part of Terrior.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Eat, Drink, and be merry!

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Brooks is 1998 Willamette Valley Riesling, Chris Williams’ 2004 Ara Riesling


AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

CHRIS: And thank you, it’s always a pleasure to find a new audience to show my wine to.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

CHRIS: It was really more about a friendship I formed with Jimi Brooks that lead me into the business. From there my appreciation for wine grew quickly.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

CHRIS: That would have to be Jimi. I learned everything from him including to always encourage yourself to try new things.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

CHRIS: Myself, but always with a consumer in mind!

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Willamette Valley so special?

CHRIS: For me it’s really about the people, the sense of community really shows through!

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?


RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

CHRIS: A lot like life, you have to always be open to new things to really find your true pleasures.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?


RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

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