As those of you who have read the text of this week's wine of the week closely will now know, the Oregon wine business lost one of its most talented young men last Sunday. Jimi Brooks of Brooks and Maysara was only 38 when he fell victim to a fatal heart attack. Long-term purple pager and American wine retailer Michael Alberty of the Corkscrew Wine Emporium in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, sends the following appreciation:
As several of you know by now, the wine world just lost a rapidly rising star. But Jimi was also one of the nicest people you would ever want to drink wine with. I was only lucky enough to hang out with Jimi on about half a dozen occasions but every time, even though Jimi was five years younger, I felt like I was getting to goof around with an older brother. I always felt an unusually close tie to Jimi. Maybe it was because he went to Beaverton High School, my HS's arch-rival, where my Uncle Nelson taught science. Maybe it was because we both shared the same views on and had similar experiences (mostly painful) with John Linn, the football and wrestling coach at Beaverton.
I will get to keep some great memories of Jimi:
-fearing for my life as we bombed up and down the steep slopes of Maysara Estate's vineyards in his decrepit old jeep without any doors
-discovering that Jimi had just about every recording ever made by Mark Lanegan
-shooting pool in a dingy bar in McMinnville against Michael Stevenson and some restaurant/bar owner from Washington DC whose gold chains kept getting in the way of his cue
-debating who made the better burger, Lumpy's or Alf's (although I'm not sure if I ever saw Jimi actually eat a burger)
-listening to Jimi go on and on about the contributions Poles had made to American history (Jimi, I promise I'll keep celebrating Pulaski Day)
-listening to Jimi dismiss overly dogmatic arguments about biodynamism and terroir by saying "I'm part of the terroir, baby"
-and finally, watching Jimi whip a mutual friend with a bunch of stinging nettles for having the audacity to drink a bottle of SGN he had been hiding in his sock drawer.
If you were lucky enough to have met Jimi, you know the world is definitely not a better place today. So while I sip some 2000 Brooks Janus Pinot Noir and listen to a scratchy copy of Lanegan's "Whiskey for the Holy Ghost," I want to close with this quote from the end of JM Scott's book, The Man Who Made Wine. It's the scene where the retiring vigneron Michel Rachelet is sitting at a table in the winery, thinking back over his years of making wine. As the candle dies down a young boy walks in the room.
"We who are on the way out salute you who are on the way in," he said softly. "There will always be good young wine coming in on the chai and good young fellows who love the vines. When you are a man you will sit here and drink the blood of those grapes. May the good God show you what has made me see."
Jimi is survived by his young son, Pascal. Friends and family are going to try and keep Jimi's legacy and winery going for him. If you feel like helping in that regard you may send a check/cheque to:
Pascal Brooks Memorial Fund
Washington Mutual Bank
3425 SW Cedar Hills Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005
Goodbye Jimi, I'm going to miss you.