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 7, 2015

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2015 June Flowers IRS (Inflorescence Reconnaissance Status)

Hello and Welcome,

For longtime readers of this FLOG, you know Dena’s birthday is the first week of June. This happens to coincide with the wine berry vines going into bloom, aka flowering. Ernie likes to think he gives her the biggest bouquet of flowers every year!

Each of our 43,872 fruiting vines has about 30 inflorescences (potential clusters) that contain about 100 flowers each. A quick sleight of hand with the trusty abacus yields about 131.6 MILLION flowers. That’s one big farmin’ bouquet! And the aroma is just heavenly, almost as nice as Pinot Noir!

On Julian calendar day 151 (May 31) the first intrepid vines to show flowers were Pinot Noir clone 777 grafted onto that soil colonizing 44-53M rootstock. That is the good news. Well that and wine berries are self pollinating. They do not require the wee little honey bee to pollinate the flower and set fruit.

The bad news is that this flowering event was directly followed by about 1.25 inches of rain over the next 2 cold and blustery days. Even the Hummingbirds were grounded. Flowers often times do not pollinate and therefore will not turn into wine berries when the weather turns “carppy.” The result is a winery full of empty wine barrels. That’s bad enough, but just wait until the birds find out there is nothing to raid!

But Mother Nature has a back up plan and it is called a “fruiting tendril” aka the wing. This is a part of the cluster that typically flowers a week or so after the main cluster. The idea is that the weather will “change” (think climate change on a micro timeline) and the flowers on the wing will pollinate and set fruit. Of course the debate is whether the weather will change for the better or worse. And that depends on who you ask.

This is like good judgment, which comes from experience, which often times is the result of bad judgment. Ernie is turning 50 again this year and he has a working theory. More of a case study really.

So, what can we glean from all of this apparent gibberish?

Well (a hole in the ground with water in it,) we can add 105 days of ripening time to day 151 on the Julian calendar to come up with a potential harvest window opening about day 256. This just happens to be Sunday, September 13, 2015. This may be a bit early, but then again it depends on who you ask. As in, “No, I haven’t found the harvest buckets yet!”

Since we write this from an “ex post facto” perspective, we know that on June 4th the weather changed to be dry and sunny with a light breeze. This led to other clones of Pinot Noir opening up their flowers ready to pollinate resulting in the fruit all being set about the same time. This contributes to even ripening on the cluster. And that means uniform and well developed flavors and aromas in the wine berry skins. Even the Viognier won’t be able to hold back.

Taken as a whole and “in situ” we expect fairly uniform ripeness on the cluster and we will snip off the late to ripen wings, as we always do. The birds will arrive late and be forced to eat cake, as all of the wine berries will be harvested. And those that are not will be netted to thwart the little blighters. It will in fact be “The vintage of the year!”

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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