Introduction

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!

Rusty

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

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016

Josh

"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

David

"...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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2010 July

Hello,

After 12 years years of doing this, I have come to the conclusion that Pinot Noir vines are diurnal and Mother Nature is bipolar. And as a Pinot Noir grower, I am fairly confident she is a redhead. Yeah, she's that kinda girl. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair


But it's all good, and we will take what we have been offered until we run out of growing season. The canopy is finally up and the third wires are clipped into place. I have been able to make a single hedging/mowing pass in July and now await for the newfound shoot tips to stick their heads out for a second pass. The suckers are all gone and so are some of the leaves. We will finish leaf pull promptly and await lag phase.

Contrary to the name, lag phase is a very busy time. This is the point of the berry development where the seed "hardens off." We know this is happening when we try and push through the berry with a thumbnail, and find the seed will not easily split. When we find this condition in the vineyard, Ernie gets out the scale, green eyeshade and a calculator. He is dialing in the crop load, block by block, for 34 blocks. It's working so far. Please follow this link for our latest reviews from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: Amalie Robert Estate Earns Top Score for 2007 Pinot Noir!

Lag phase provides an early warning mechanism to determine the final cluster weights and tons available for harvest. Not that we get to harvest it all. The birds, deer and other nefarious creatures all take their cut. We know that most blocks in the vineyard will see the cluster weight double in weight from lag phase to harvest. This is a multiplier of 2.0. Some blocks, due to clone, rootstock or available soil moisture, have a multiplier closer to 2.2, and others as low as 1.8. Note: this is not to be confused with the current experiment going on in Washington DC regarding the Keynesian multiplier.

Ernie takes a representative sample from each and every block. He counts the number of clusters on the vine, and then takes one cluster for a sample. He cuts the wings off and weighs the de-winged clusters to determine our current "tons per acre." His goal is to make one bottle of wine per vine. When the dust settles, Ernie has a plan by block for the number of clusters to cut off each vine. It is a bittersweet moment.

The idea is that each cluster that is left will be better able to survive the winter and reproduce in the Spring. No wait, that is survival of the fittest - sorry. What we are really doing is concentrating our Pinot flavors in the vineyard. The removal of wings is also a standard practice that keeps the green/unripe flavors out of our wines.

That is just about enough drivel. Where are the numbers?! Paint me a picture, give me the data!


We have recorded about 464 degree days for the month of July, providing a total of 798 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st. This compares with 532 degree days last July and a comparative total of 1,100 degree days for 2009 (a bit light in the loafers we are this year), 993 degree days in 2008, and 1,054 degree days for 2007. In 2006 we had accumulated 1,246 degree days through the end of July.

Hmmm, that is 798 this year, 1,100, 993, 1,054 and 1,246 degree days for July the last 4 years. That can only mean one thing. As Mother Nature winds down the growing season we will see a very warm August, temperate September, and a long, dry, cool October. Yeah, that's my kinda girl. http://www.amalierobert.com/winery_soil_profile.htm

During July, our highest high was 99.4 and our lowest high was 93.2. Our lowest low was 42.5 and our highest low was 44.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for July was a meager 0.10 inches and was 0.83 inches below last July's rain of 0.93. Rainfall since April 1st through July 31st was 13.03, and is 5.10 inches more than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 7.93 inches.

So, there it is. We are older, colder, and gonna be late. I think I will start looking for a new hat.

Kindest Regards,

Ernie