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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2012 Mid-September

Hello and Welcome,

This is the climate update for Mid-September 2012.

We are pleased to report that we are experiencing perhaps the best growing season - ever. At least from the winegrower point of view, this year is turning out to be a real stunner.

Consider these facts:
  • We have not recorded any measurable precipitation since June, that’s over 75 sunny, dry days.
  • Our Degree Days are accumulating steadily without major heat spikes that can lead to sunburned fruit.
  • The high temperatures coming into the last 4 weeks of ripening are in the mid to upper 80s helping to develop ripe flavors and scintillating aromas. Check out this Meteogram for the full picture!
  • And the real clincher is that our evening temperatures are heading down to the low 40s and that, my friends, will lock in the spine tingling acidity we need for yet another well balanced and age worthy vintage. Note: After blending the 2010 vintage, our spines are tingling all the time!

As Dick Erath likes to say, "The planets are coming into alignment." In fact, the only concerning thing that Ernie sees is that this lack of rain is delaying his fall cover crop seeding. He needs to open up the soil, and right now it is as hard and dry as concrete. Of all of the problems we could be facing this time of year, dry soil is one he can live with.

Harvest is looking to be just about 4 weeks away. Our canopy is holding up remarkably well, especially after Ernie administered a third pass of "tough love" with the hedger. The leaves are still a lush, dark green and have not shown much sign of senescing yet. They must be waiting for a little rain.

Of course our standard bearer, the Walnut tree is also holding out. Ernie thinks those 7 big trunks are from an abandoned squirrel's nest. It has been the case each and every year at Amalie Robert Estate that we look to the yellowing leaves on this volunteer before we harvest any "wine berries." Last year, there was only one leaf holding on when we harvested our Syrah and Viognier - very Feng Shui.The next four weeks will find us in the winery cleaning and scrubbing, getting ready to haul in some 70 tons worth of 2012 vintage Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Viognier. And in a year or two there just may be a little Gew├╝rztraminer in our harvest buckets. More on that project next year.

Ah, the numbers. We take a reading mid month in September because we can. It is just another data point along the way and helps us to understand our fruit development coming down the home stretch. Through the 15th of September, we have accumulated 244 Degree Days, for a growing season to date total of 1,718. We are only 4 Degree Days short of the entire 2010 growing season of 1,722! But wait, there's more.

Our high temperature was 97.1 and our low temperature for the month was a brisk 41.0 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no rainfall in the first 15 days of September. Rainfall since April 1st through September 15th remains 8.96 inches. A full and comparative report will be provided at month end.

But heat units aren't the whole story. We need time for the berries to ripen their seeds and ultimately develop stunning flavors and aromas while maintaining vibrant acidity. Besides, the birds aren't here yet. The real excitement begins in the second half of September. We expect a little precipitation, but who knows when.

In the past few cool vintages, it has been the latter half of September and the first half of October that Mother Nature decided to send a little love our way. Then there was 2011, where September felt like April and we burned through all of October to finish our Pinot Noir harvest the first week of November! That tingling sensation originated just below our spines. We think of the 2011 vintage often, but not fondly.

"Lean into it" they say. Yep, that's what’s next - Okto-vember. More than any other time during the year, this 61 day period is when we switch from wine to bier. It's a Germanic thing. See you next month!

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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