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, June 30, 2013

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2013 June

Hello and Welcome,

Happy 4th of July!

This is the climate update for the month of June 2013.
Just when you thought you had all of the questions figured out, the legislature starts changing the answers. If you would have asked us what a “Wine Growler” was a few years ago, we would have said it is a guy who grows grapes for wine that is not all that happy with the current growing season, or maybe a wine reviewer.
Today in Oregon, a Wine Growler is a container that you can take to your locally enlightened alcohol purveyor who will, for a modest fee, fill your Growler with Oregon wine. Typically, these wines have been filled into kegs by a bonded winery and are being dispensed in a manner similar to beer or hard cider. 
Ecologically speaking, this removes all of the glass, labels, protective foils, pesky corks and screwoffs that get in the way of enjoying Oregon wine. In fact, you can rinse out your soda bottle, get it refilled with Pinot Gris du jour, and continue on your merry way. Another advantage of the Growler system is that you do not have to have a keg setup at your home or place of business, but you could. We predict an uptick in the used refrigerator market very soon.
Whaddya know, the 2013 vintage is now “on the vine.” After a fairly nice Spring and relatively early bloom period, we are the proud stewards of little pea sized berries! It is still a little early to tell what the crop load will be, but it seems more likely than not that we may have a “low drama” harvest. Ernie is thinking it could be a little early, maybe somewhat similar to 2009. That vintage is just starting to show off a little something above the knee.
June gave us the full complement of weather including the “June Gloom” which proceeded to arrive on the longest day of the year. The June Gloom typically vacations here from the Gulf of Alaska. It brings with it a full contingent of dark, overcast skies that blot out the sun and very humid temperatures with a spot of rain. It is pretty typical slug and fungus weather, and certainly not as fun as our favorite fall weather - duck and fungus.
The cover crop took full advantage of the 1.24 inches of June rainfall. The Buckwheat has started to flower and we are seeing all manner of insects looking for a little free pollen lunch. The Vetch is on a slower trajectory, but it has more to do. As you read this, it is pulling Nitrogen out of the air and putting it in the soil. And there it will remain until mid-September when Ernie tills it into the soil. The Nitrogen will then help breakdown the Buckwheat and Vetch green material. All of this organic matter will become natural fertilizer for our vines in the fall.
Now, the vines don’t miss much. Not only are they burning through all that easy to get soil moisture, they are also sporting shoots that are overgrowing the trellis. This time of year is really hard to keep pace with 44,155 not so little winemakers. But persevere we must, until we have trapped all of the shoot growth in 3 sets of catch wires. These wires are important to growing great wine because they help separate the leaves and the fruit. This separation allows for sunlight penetration and air circulation in the canopy. This in turn dries out any excess moisture that can lead to Mildew and Botrytis that will compromise our grape clusters. Clean, disease free fruit allows for increased hang time in October, and that can put the finishing flavor and aroma touches on the 2013 vintage.
We save the numbers for last, so you can skip all the fluff and wade right into the analytical minutiae of winegrowing.
The month of June accumulated a whopping 387.4 degree days, had a high of 95.2 (recorded June 30 at 3:40 pm) and a low of 43.0 (recorded June 14 at 3:20 am) with 1.24 inches of rain. This brings the 2013 growing season up to 668.8 degree days from April 1 through June 30. Rainfall for the growing season is now up to 6.24 inches. Well now, we may just have a “contender” vintage on our hands here.

And this is what it looked like in 2012: The month of June accumulated 244.2 degree days, had a high of 86.6 and a low of 37.2 with 2.92 inches of rain. This brought the 2012 growing season up to 480.3 degree days since April 1. And yes, we did receive exactly 2.92 inches of rain last June. We would say this is odd, but it is divisible by 2. Was it sampling error? Ah yes, the “human” terroir factor.
Kindest Regards,
Dena & Ernie

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