Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means.®

Welcome to the Amalie Robert Estate Farming Blog, aka FLOG. By subscribing, you will receive regular FLOGGINGS throughout the growing season. The FLOGGING will begin with the Spring Cellar Report in April. FLOGGINGS will continue each month and detail how the vintage is shaping up. You may also be FLOGGED directly after the big Cluster Pluck with the yearly Harvest After Action Report. Subscribe now and let the FLOGGINGS begin!


"This is one of the Willamette Valley’s most distinguished wineries, but not one that is widely known."

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016


"Dena Drews and Ernie Pink have been quietly producing some of Oregon's most elegant and perfumed Pinots since the 2004 vintage. Their 30-acre vineyard outside the town of Dallas, abutting the famed Freedom Hill vineyard where Drews and Pink live, is painstakingly farmed and yields are kept low so production of these wines is limited. Winemaking includes abundant use of whole clusters, which is no doubt responsible for the wines' exotic bouquets and sneaky structure…"

- Josh Raynolds, Vinous - October 2015


"...Dallas growers Dena Drews and Ernie Pink... showed me this July three of their reserve bottlings and thereby altered my perception of their endeavors. Since these are produced in only one- or two-barrel quantities, they offer an extreme instance of a phenomenon encountered at numerous Willamette addresses, whose really exciting releases are extremely limited. But they also testify, importantly, to what is possible; and what’s possible from this site in these hands revealed itself to be extraordinary!... And what a Syrah!"

- David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate - October 2013

Wine & Spirits

"Finding that their whole-cluster tannins take some time to integrate, Pink and Drews hold their wines in barrel for up to 18 months - so Amalie Robert is just releasing its 2008s. And what a stellar group of wines: Bright and tart, they possess both transparency and substance, emphasizing notes of rosehips and sandalwood as much as red berries. The pinot noirs alone would likely have earned Amalie Robert a top 100 nod this year. But the winery also produces cool-climate syrah that rivals the best examples from the Sonoma Coast. And the 2009 Heirloom Cameo, their first attempt at a barrel-fermented chardonnay, turned out to be one of our favorite Oregon chardonnays of the year. Ten vintages in, Amalie Robert has hit its stride."

- Luke Sykora, Wine & Spirits Magazine – September 2011


© 2005 – 2017 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Friday, August 31, 2007

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2007 August

Well, Hello There!

It seems summer has arrived, just in time. We have a fairly determined breeze with about 20 mph gusts and temperatures in the lower 90s. The haunt of September 2003 seems to be visiting today. Our Pinot Noir clusters that survived the thinning process are sporting a nice purple to "gunmetal blue" tan. We will be removing wings beginning this week. We have not detected any signs of Botrytis from the August rains; however, I was sleeping easier at night knowing I had sprayed for it at cluster close and veraison. Veraison seemed to happen somewhere around the 5th, and then again on the 12th. I think many clusters are carrying berries from separate and distinct pollination periods. They are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, if only we could ferment them that way.

Here are the numbers through August. We have recorded about 442 degree days for the month of August, providing a total of 1,496 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st. This compares with 503 degree days last August and a comparative total of 1,750 degree days for 2006. In 2005 we had accumulated 1,630 degree days through the end of August. Add 645 degree days if you think we will be having a 2003 September, or 360 degree days if you like the odds of a 2005 September.

During August, our highest high was 97.1 and our lowest high was 90.9. Our lowest low was 44.7 and our highest low was 49.0 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for August was 0.78 inches and was 0.73 inches over last August's rain of 0.05. Rainfall since April 1st through August 31st was 4.44 inches, and is 0.03 inches less than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 4.41 inches (How about that for insignificant!) From the vines' point of view, we are 254 degree days short of last year and about spot on for rainfall.

The cover crop is still mostly dormant and is being sustained from the morning dew. The canopy is very green, lush and healthy. The canes are lignifying to a "café au lait" brown that sets off the dark clusters at first light. Sorry, I got confused and grabbed my marketing hat.

Back to farming.  I took the precaution of a 3rd hedge to remove as many growing tips as possible. I gambled that if we continued to see a cool down in September, that I had done what I could to achieve harvest within the month of October. If we have a warm September, well then I have removed more young leaf tissue that would have transpired excess water and contributed to over-ripe phenolics. Heads I win, tails we call it a draw. If nothing else, in 30 days we will be "all-knowing." So, we got that going for us, and that's nice.

We are seeing a few birds, mostly in our neighbors' fields. I have 2 "Bird Gard" devices that replicate the sounds of birds of prey in a target rich environment and also the sounds of said meals being plucked from the sky. The mylar streamers we put out remind me of Christmas tinsel and it is nice to see the wind catching them when driving along the road. And of course, we are trapping yellow jackets at the rate 10 to the 7th power. Or about 10,000,000 cells per mil, if you are into that sort of thing.

The only issue I see at this point is the split berries.  As is typical, my favorite clone 114 seems to be showing the worst. The remainder of the field has some instances, but not significant. I am hopeful that the warm temperature and dry breezes will be of help. The main issue I can control is yellow jacket damage. As I mentioned above, we are "on it." If that fails, we will pull out "The Big Guns" - see attached: