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


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2012 June Flowers

Hello and Welcome,

We have just received the most definitive sign yet of our upcoming harvest - Flowers! This is a Big Farming Deal (BFD) from the winegrower point of view. As consumers, we can buy wine everyday - except Sunday in some states, and you know who you are. But from our winegrowing point of view, you only get one chance each year to get it right!

The vines have given us a really big clue as to our upcoming harvest window. We first spied flowers on Monday, June 18th, in Block 8. Now, Block 8 is one of our small Dijon Clone blocks planted with 1,063 vines of 115 clone Pinot Noir grafted onto Schwarzmann rootstock. It is also one of the first lots in the winery that Dena seeks out during her blending trials for Amalie's Cuvee.

But hold on here a minute. Before we can start blending, we need to harvest these grapes! This is where we can use our clue. We know that we need about 105 days from the time we see flowers until we get the buckets out and start harvesting. We track these sort of things in our 2012 Julian Calendar. So we have flowering on day 170, and that means we can predict beautifully sunny skies and a nice cool, dry breeze for the 4 week harvest window beginning on day 285. That would be Thursday, October 12th at 7:05 am - very nice.

Of course, the Syrah and Viognier will again be in no hurry this year. We start looking at these vines around Halloween to see if we are going to get tricks or treats. Since our first harvest of these noble grapes in 2006, we can say it's been all good!

Comparatively speaking, we have come back from the lunatic fringe of the 2011 growing season. We saw our first flowers on July 3rd, day 184. Harvest began on October 23rd (day 296) and lasted through November 14th when we snatched the Syrah and Viognier from the jaws of defeat. Then it got really cold - like Montana cold where we were below freezing for several days in December - not nice.

During our previous lives we both expatriated to Europe. Moving to and living in Europe for the first few months was somewhat of a challenge. The hardest part was sharing a language where we used the same words, however they often times had significantly different meanings. This lead to a few occasions where Ernie looks back now and says, "Yeah, been there, had that done to me."

That pretty much sums up the 2011 growing season. For now, let's call 2011 a "Character Building" vintage.

Kindest Regards,
Dena & Ernie

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