Introduction

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!

Rusty

"This is one of the Willamette Valley’s most distinguished wineries, but not one that is widely known."

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016

Josh

"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

David

"...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

Copyright

© 2005 – 2017 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2015 Mid-April

Hello and Welcome,

This is the Mid-April Climate Update from Amalie Robert Estate in Dallas, Oregon.

The 2015 vintage is off to an early start. The weather here in the Willamette Valley has been unseasonably warm and dry. We experienced bud break early this year - March 24th, Julian calendar day 83. But now that the buds are showing along the cane, it has turned seasonably cool and wet – Dog Nose weather. And there was a spot of hail, thrice.


No matter, as farmers we opportunistically take advantage of whatever weather breaks we can get, especially around harvest. This year that means Ernie was able to start opening up the vineyard floor with the chisel plow a little early. This task is part of our vine nutrition program where we plant cover crops to feed our vines, not chemical fertilizers. Note: this is Ernie’s view from the tractor seat for the remainder of the growing season…


The next pass is with the rototiller to incorporate all the cover crop that was drilled in last fall. Ernie is not great at forecasting the weather, but he has forecasted the chance of rototiller repairs this year at about 85%. The rototiller also makes a nice seed bed for the new cover crop.


Then he calls up Leonard for a truckload of Buckwheat and Common Vetch, mounts the drill and plants the spring cover crop blend. Add a shower or two in the last half of April; yeah that’s a sure thing, and Voila!, we have fertilizer for the fall feeding of our vines.

Meanwhile all of last years’ canes have been pulled out of the trellis, placed in the permanent grassed rows and flail mowed. This mixing of “greens and browns” will also return nutrients to the soil, which is the plants’ stomach. The annual “Rites of Spring” trellis repairs have also been completed.

If you like Pinot, and you want to go on a picnic, why not join us at the IPNiC? The International Pinot Noir Celebration is turning 29 this year, just for the first time though, and we were invited! And 29 was a fun year (what we can remember,) we have seen the pictures. Then just like that, BAM, 39! We knew better, but still didn’t care.

The IPNC brings together “70 of the worlds top Pinot Noir wineries” for a 3 day celebration of the heartbreak grape – Pinot Noir. You can view the list of this year’s wineries here: Featured Wineries. And they expect you to pay attention and learn something.


As you can see, this truly is an international event. Pinot Noir, more so than any other grape, uniquely expresses where it was grown. This year’s crop of wineries are from as close by as Dallas, Oregon, from as far away as Beaune in the heart of Burgundy, and Sam Neill will be joining us from NewZealand.

If people from New Zealand are called New Zealanders, would you call someone from Beaune a Beauner? Attend IPNC this year and you can find out!

You know what happens next, it’s numbers time!

We start tracking the growing season, officially, on April Fools Day every year. That should tell you something about farming and numbers. It is also Julian calendar day 91, unless it is a leap year and then the first day of the growing season is 92. Those farming numbers…

However, that is the agreed upon parameter in the northern hemisphere, so we go with it. Unofficially, we keep any eye on the number of “nice days” during February and March. And this year is was really nice in February and March, technically speaking.

But now that everything (literally) is being recorded and on the record (except some unnamed E-mails,) April has shown us a bit of a cold shoulder. What a tease… We have managed to see a high of 66.8 degrees on April 9th at just about 4 pm. Then on April 15th, if not a frosty enough day in its own right, we plunged down to 29.9 degrees. We were below freezing for about 6 hours beginning at 1:00 am. We will be on the lookout for some frost damage. Alas, we will not record any degree days for the first half of April.

But we will log the rainfall! We have received 16.68 inches of rain for the pre-measurement period of January – March. This is good in that Amalie Robert Estate is dry farmed and we like to see the soil fully charged as we move into the growing season. The first half of April has brought us 1.90 inches of rain.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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