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, 2012

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2012 August

Hello and Welcome,

It’s that time of year when all of our hopes and dreams are turning color. 2012 brings with it the most even cluster ripening we have seen in quite some time. In past years, it has been the case where a few berries on a cluster were very dark purple and the rest were still bright green.

This year we are seeing a few green berries on each cluster, but the majority of the berries are slowing transitioning from pink to mauve. The wings, which are the last to ripen are being skillfully removed as you read this. It is our way of making sure we eliminate any green or under ripe flavors in our wines.

We did have some hot days early in the month that got the vines moving. However, most of the rest of August has been very pleasant. Highs in the low 80s to upper 70s and evening temperatures vacillating between high 40s and low 50s. These conditions have produced a slow and steady ripening period. It is good for the vines and those who tend them.

So far so good is what we have to say about the 2012 vintage. The next big hurdle will be the month of September. We are hopeful for an even tempered conclusion to the growing season. We can expect a shot of rain sometime this month. We are overdue and the grapes surely could use a good rinse before their big day.

The hardest decision, and the most important, is when to harvest. There are always several factors that contribute to making the right call. Our goal is to bring in the grapes when the flavors and aromas in the skins will make a wine that just drives you crazy! Throughout the year we manage our canopy, fruit shading and soil moisture to dial in what we believe is a very pure expression of our site. Then we throw in a few whole clusters and let them ferment with the yeast they rode in on! This is when all the cells break loose.

But first, we have to pass through September unscathed, or maybe just a little bit scathed. So be it, we are prepared for the scathing! Let’s step into the vineyard vestibule so we can have a look at the numbers.

We have recorded about 545 degree days for the month of August, providing a total of 1,474 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st. This compares with 582 degree days last August and a comparative total of 1,271 degree days for 2011. Ceteris Paribus for August, but we are still holding our degree day advantage from the Spring.

Our high temperature was 101.0 and Ernie’s hi-tech, wireless weather gauge chose this day to display “OFL.” We couldn’t agree more, it was awful! Our low temperature for the month was 45.4 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no rainfall in August. Rainfall last August was also zero. Rainfall since April 1st through August 30th remains 8.96 inches, and is 0.43 inches less than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 9.39 inches.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2012 Pinot Noir In Flagrante!

Hello and Welcome to the highly anticipated first sign of harvest,

Mother Nature is starting to blush! And why not, she is right on time - day 229 of the Julian calendar. The day is August 16th, 2012, but bear in mind this is a leap year. This puts us about 8 days ahead of her coming out party from 2011, day 237.We imagine she relies more on a sun dial, which is just fine for accuracy but not so good for precision. Any abacus users out there? Ernie can count to 10 in binary, but that is a skill sorely lacking in demand these days.

Now those 8 days are not so important from a start of harvest point of view. We take the time to clean the winery (again) and continue to sample the wineberries. Sometimes we even sample the wine from previous vintages. Quality control is clearly a very big part of what we do!

But those 8 days make a significant difference as the harvest window begins to close. We have seen "touch and go" harvests the last couple of years. 2010 gave us the Oregon version of Alfred Hitchcock's movie “The Birds.” They came early and settled right in. But the fruit wasn't ready, so we let it hang. We reckon we had about 5 tons of Pinot Noir take flight. You can read the 2010 After Action Report here.

2011 gave us a reprieve with a stunningly beautiful October. This helped quite a bit because we did not commence harvest until October 23rd. However, all good things must come to an end and they did on November 3rd with a wall of rain. Everyone talks about letting the grapes hang on the vine just a little longer, but we took a lesson from Wall Street to understand there is nothing wrong with bringing them in just a bit early. You can read the 2011 After Action Report here.

So, what does 2012 have in store for us? Well, we penned a few verses to the old cowpoke song "Ghost Riders in the Sky." Here is the harvest verse, and you can sing along to the full lyrics here: Winegrowers you must try.

Now we're at the seasons' end with winds and rain, you bet

We've got to pick those grapes, but they aint ready yet

It seems like forever that we wait for this one day
Detailed plans we make, but Mother Nature leads the way

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
Satisfaction Syrah and Amalie's Cuvee

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie