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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: Special Edition 2016 Mid-September

Hello and Welcome,

This is a Special Edition Mid-September Climate Update.

It used to be that October was the month we needed for Mother Nature to put the finishing touches on the vintage. Patiently, or not, we waited those last few weeks for sun, wind and drizzle to add character to the aroma and flavor of our wines. Well, that month has now become September.

In a year like 2016 (and 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012,) the harvest decisions, while celebrated as highly deliberative and cerebral, really come down to this: “How much longer can we afford to leave the wine berries out there before the sugars are too high?” And the answer to that question is the summation of the type of rootstock used, the age of the vine, the crop load, the depth of soil and the available soil moisture. And while most of those decisions were made when the land was purchased and planted (and the climate somewhat cooler,) the remainder has to do with how the vineyard has been farmed for vintage 2016.

So we focus on what we have in front of us, while keeping the history of the vineyard we planted as our touchstone. And what we see right in front of us is RAIN! That’s right, we have rain for the weekend! It’s just like living back in Seattle, or Ireland, or London. And since canopy management is our mantra, we can afford to have a little moisture rehydrate the soil, reactivate the soil microbes for a little nutrient exchange and in turn hydrate our vines and fruit without concern of rot compromising our wine. So, the call is for rain (See the bottom graph.) We say, “Bring It On! RIGHT FARMING NOW!"

Rain will help rehydrate the wine berries and lower the concentration of sugars - fructose and glucose. That will allow us to hang a little longer to achieve those character building aromas and flavors in our wine berries. And then, and only then, shall we commence THE GREAT CLUSTER PLUCK OF 2016!

But to be fair, we have started harvest a little early, the farming geniuses that we are. Just like the new fangled ritual of early voting by mail instead of waiting in line on the big day. And what we have been harvesting are the late to ripen wings for the Bellpine Pearl. We left the wings on until the last possible moment again this year. While ripe in their own particular idiom, they are not what we want in the fermenters. So we harvest these little knobs, gently press the pale juice from them and make our Blanc de Noir – Bellpine Pearl – Sans gas…

For the first half of September the numbers are small, so we will do this quickly. We have accumulated 170 degree days for the first 15 days of September 2016, yielding a less than expected vintage to date 1,992 degree days. By comparison, we had logged 168 degree days for the fist half of September in 2015 for a growing season to date total of 2,165 degree days. Ceteris Paribus, or so it would seem.

There was no measurable rainfall for the first half of September. But that is about to change.

Kindest Regards,

Dena Drews
VP Sales and Editor in Chief