04 Brooks, Runaway Red Oregon Pinot Noir
This is the basic Beaune or Cote de Nuits of Oregon, maybe better named "Willamette" than anything else. It's hard-pressed to reveal any true depth, but I'm impressed by how well everything here works together. The strong black cherry flavors, buoyed by the slick glycerine texture of high but well-balanced alcohol, boast an underlying earthiness that makes it far more complex than a typical table wine. It has roots in rustic Spain and Sicilia--a muddy tar & licorice smell that frames the light-bodied fruit-forwardness of this wine. It balances what would otherwise be dull, obvious juice. It's not quite terroir, but it is certainly the thoughtful hand of a winemaker that I'm tasting here. The first post-Jimi Runaway Red, made by a warm family of Oregon winemakers in honor of Jimi and blended by Chris Williams, is like a mix between Jimi's murky Maysara Delara and the precise Brooks Pinot Noir. It is a beautiful testament to his life. While it hardly qualifies as cru, it is a wine that speaks of Jimi's vision--one that reveals how important he thought it was to drink good wine simply because we are alive.