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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Amalie Robert Vintage Update: 2014 Pinot Noir In Flagrante!

Hello and Welcome,

We have reached the end of the beginning and are now facing the beginning of the end. Sure, things look really nice now with the gentle breeze fondling our Pinot Noir leaves. But we can assure you things look very different at harvest with 70 some tons of Pinot Noir bearing down on you with the ever-present threat of rain looming in the foreground (queue the eerie music.)

But we saw the first intrepid wineberry today, August 2, 2014!! And wouldn’t you know, it was in the last place we looked – and that is because once we found it, we quit looking. Same story with the tractor keys, once you find them you get to go farming!

The Julian Calendar date is 214, 2014. In 2013, day 213 was when we saw the first blazing wineberry. Hmmm…. Typically the average is somewhere around day 228. In 2012 we were right on track at day 229, but it was a leap year. And that character building vintage of 2011 held us out until day 237. Think about this, we are 23 days ahead of where we were in 2011. That was the year we were so far behind, we had to get up before we even had a chance to go to bed!

Back on task. The prized specimen belongs to a Pommard Clone vine of Pinot Noir grafted onto that “Big Daddy” rootstock 5C. The 5C rootstock is an Amalie Robert Estate favorite. We employ several rootstocks to match our soils, but we have found when dry farming, 5C is the dog’s bollocks:-

Of all the rootstocks used in the Willamette Valley, 5C has a reputation for being the latest ripening of all. For this reason most vineyards will not plant it, as they would prefer to harvest their grapes earlier before all the bad-nasty birds and rains come a-calling.

However, as most of you know, Ernie does not run with the traffic. In laying out the vineyard, a significant portion of the vines are grafted onto Big Daddy 5C. In fact, 5C provides the closest ripening curve match to own rooted (non-grafted) vines. The other rootstocks used around the valley have a ripening curve that comes in about 5 to 7 days ahead of own rooted and 5C grafted vines.


Our very best wines always seem to be from blocks where the vines are grafted onto Big Daddy 5C. One thing to consider here is that aromas and flavors are really developing in the skins of the wineberry the last week to 10 days before harvest. With 5C we ripen a bit more slowly, and that allows us to hang a little longer into the abyss.

Since we are building sugars more slowly, we can hang ‘em out there a little longer without worrying about excessive sugars and potential alcohol levels that could force an early harvest on a lesser rootstock. Then we snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a late harvest day when we can see the harvest window closing in our rear view mirror.

And don’t forget the stems – they love the extra hang time to ripen up. We love it too because whole cluster fermentation means we are putting those clusters in whole, stem and all. What ripe stems provide are fine grained tannins that lengthen the finish of Pinot Noir. Hmm, where did my glass go…?

In that wonderfully cool year 2010, we produced a 2 barrel selection of Pommard Clone and a 2 barrel selection of Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noirs. While these wines are very different, Pommard being from France and Wadenswil from Switzerland, they do have some similarities.

The first thing these two wines have in common is they were both Estate grown on Big Daddy 5C rootstock.

And we just found out the second thing they share is a 93 point rating from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.

Go Big Daddy!

2010 Amalie Robert Estate Pinot Noir Pommard Clone Willamette Valley
Bright red.  Vibrant mineral- and spice-laced red berry and floral pastille scents are given depth by notes of licorice and cola.  Lithe and sharply focused on the palate, offering gently sweet strawberry and cherry flavors that put on weight and gain spiciness with aeration.  Pure, focused and lively on the strikingly long finish, which is framed by silky tannins and brightened by a tangy blood orange note. 93 points

2010 Amalie Robert Estate Pinot Noir Wadenswil Clone Willamette Valley
Bright red.  High-pitched cherry and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of sassafras, woodsmoke and cola.  Stains the palate with sappy red and dark berry flavors and tangy acidity adding lift and cut.  An exotic floral nuance emerges with air and carries through a long, sweet and persistent finish.  While this energetic pinot is built to age, it has a lot of immediate appeal. 93 points

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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