Wine scores are a complicated matter. Different wineries have different goals for either submitting or not submitting wines. The review process for each magazine/reviewer is different. When the person reviewing the wine changes, so can the palate behind the review. So what is the strategy for Brooks?
One of the primary reasons we submit wines is not for the scores alone but, more importantly, to keep the people reviewing the wine up-to-date on what we are doing. Continuity to the person or the process for the reviews can be hugely important. Once I learned about the process at Wine & Spirits Magazine, I set out to be included in their Top 100 Wines in the world. For years, we were in the Top 100 Restaurant Wines for Wine and Spirits Magazine, and while we had received great scores on the wines individually, we had yet to reach the highest achievement.
I have great respect for the Wine & Spirits review process. It is blind through two rounds of tasting. The first round of tasting is done by a panel who is only given variety, vintage and region. Making it through this panel is the first step and fewer than half of the wines make it through. Next, the wine is sent to the individual responsible for reviewing that region. In the case of Oregon, it is Patrick Comiskey. Once Patrick receives the wines he, too, tastes them blind, writes his review, and assigns a score knowing only variety, vintage and region, not the producer. The best wines are tasted over two, sometimes three or four days.
Blind is important because it removes the bias and creates an environment where the wine is evaluated on its own merits and is not influenced by who the producer is.
This year, late in the afternoon of July 18th, I received an email from Josh Greene, Editor of Wine & Spirits Magazine that Brooks had made the Top 100 Wineries of the Year. He went on to say it was an intense year of competition and they had tasted over 11,000 wines! I was a teary mess as I read it!
The list of the Top 100 was released Friday, September 20th. It was then that we found out that of the Top 100, 36 were from the US, NINE of which are from Oregon! So proud of our Oregon wineries for representing so well!
This past Thursday night, Chris and I poured at the Top 100 Tasting in San Francisco. Not only was it an honor and humbling to be pouring amongst some of the greatest wine producers in the world, it was one of the proudest few hours I have had being a part of Brooks (and yes, I was teary again!). It was super cool that the tasting was set up based on varietal and style instead of region. We poured amongst the other great Riesling producers in the world! I have never seen such a high caliber group of trade attend a tasting event which is a great testament to the respect that the trade has for Wine & Spirits. That made being a part even more special. The consumer attendance was also great. We saw so many friends and made so many new ones. It was truly a “Pinch me. Am I dreaming?” kind of night!
A few takeaways:
- If you missed the San Francisco event, it will be taking place in NYC on January 14th and we will get you the details.
- We have put together a mixed case of 12 of the wines included in our Wine and Spirits reviews this year and from past years, many of which are “Year’s Best”. Add these gems to your collection here.
- Patrick Comiskey from Wine & Spirits is our guest of honor at Brooks University this year. Join us Saturday, October 19th from 1-4 to get a deeper look into the review process, taste through 12 wines covering 6 vintages to talk about climate change AND eat some paella! I hope you will join us as we continue this celebration! Use code 15OFFBROOKSU to save $15/ticket and book here.
- And our work is not done yet. Our production team’s response to the recognition was “Great. Now we need to stay on that list!”
Thanks to all of you for your love and support as we loyally work our tails off for you to produce the highest quality wines we possibly can!