Dry and direct

Riesling is great stuff, either you love it or you are wrong. Given the screaming peaks of brilliance it can attain it seems a shame that such a relatively small proportion of growers manage to extract the best from it. I have tried Brooks Riesling from the Willamette Valley in Oregon in the past and feel they are well on the way to getting the recipe sussed.

The Ara Riesling is not a single vineyard but a selection of the best barrels from the estates oldest vineyards. The quality of the grapes does show, and the wine-making style is a good one, it is just a bit of a shame that wines from the USA seem to become rather expensive by the time they make it to Blighty.

Brooks Ara Riesling 2008 from Oregon

Riesling ‘Ara’ 2008, Brooks

The nose throbs with powerful apple fruit of a type that reminds me quite a lot of some decent German Rieslings – it really is remarkably fruity. The mineral character, that I am very pleased to detect, is not German in style, though, it is a creamy-stoniness much like that of Alsace Rieslings. So the nose is good and complex, but does have a hint of DID[1] about it. The palate is fiercely dry, nothing wrong with that, and terrifyingly acidic, which is what we definitely want in a quality Riesling. I like my Rieslings to hurt a bit and this does make my stomach wince. It has a balanced amount of apple fruit and not a hint of confection or alcoholic excess. There is stony complexity as well, which harmonises very well with the dry, savoury character of the palate. Yes, it is very dry and as direct as an irked Frenchman, but it is a rather pleasing example of this style of Riesling. Ultimately I like it and I would recommend lovers of the grape try it. However, given the premium one pays for US wine in the UK compared to the much lower fun token outlay required across the pond I’d suggest my local readers just score one bottle for edification and enlightenment, whilst any American followers get a several for more regular drinking (especially with scallops or lobster, I’d suggest). In the UK you can get it from Stone, Vine and Sun.

  1. [1] Disassociative Identity Disorder – split personality.

2 Comments

  • Janie Brooks Heuck wrote:

    Hi David! One of the most enjoyable reviews on a Brooks Wine yet! Thank you! We made the 2008 live again on the site and a link to the review. Count me in as a fan of yours! Best! Janie

  • David Strange wrote:

    Hello Janie,

    You are very kind, I just tell it like it is! I did really like the Riesling as a classy, complex expression of mature vine fruit made in a style that tweaks my fun bits. I liked the acid/fruit balance a lot, it was edgy and nervy, and those savoury characters on the palate are super scrummy. I will be buying it again, but then I am somewhat obsessed with fine wine – Riesling and Pinot in particular!

    I’ve got a Janus Pinot 07 waiting to be popped soon, I hope that is as sophisticated and attractive as this was.

    Many thanks for dropping by the site and it was simply lovely of you to leave such a smile-inducing comment. Keep up the good work!