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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2017 July

Hello and Welcome, 

This is the Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update for July 2017. 

Farming wine berries during July in the Willamette Valley is like driving through Two Dot Montana – Blink and you just might miss it. Not that there is nothing to see, but July is the month that all that wonderful canopy growth needs to be “managed.” That’s what is called “Canopy Management.”

What it means is putting up three sets of wires by hand (if you can find any hands) and clipping them into place, hedging and mowing, and hedging again and again. You have to make progress every day just to keep up to where you were yesterday. The humans get tired, the tractors need maintenance, but the vines are relentless. Please read thorough the May FLOG to see how 38.5 miles of vines turns into 231 miles of wires to implement our “Canopy Management” strategy.



   


Then, you wake up one morning and it’s August. Look in the mirror, and well, somebody needs a shave and a haircut. Waft The Fruit!

The good news is we have not had to deal with the insane heat of the last three summers, yet. But one look at the weather map and it is pretty farming obvious that we are about to get Red Farming Hot!

So you may ask yourself, or Ernie - the farming farmer who farms our farm, why go through all of this detailed shoot positioning and hedging and canopy management. The answer is hang time to develop aroma and flavor. If you take care of the canopy and open it up so there is good airflow and moderate sun exposure, those awful-bad-nasty mildew and Botrytis spores will not be able to rot your pristine Pinot Noir clusters, or any other estate grown clusters we happen to be farming.


Because even though it looks nice now, it is going to rain. Always has, always will. And it is going to rain before harvest. And as much as dry farmed vineyards love rain, that very same rain is the enabler of rot. But if you have taken care of your canopy, you can take some rain with confidence that your clusters will come through it uncompromised.

That allows us to wait and harvest when we want to based on aroma and flavor, as opposed to having to harvest because the fruit is starting to rot. In that situation, the fruit is not great, but with each passing day it just gets worse.

Then there was 2013 when Typhoon Pabuk dumped 9 inches of rain on us just before harvest in the short period of 4 days. No matter, we made a Trockenbeerenauslese style Chardonnay and named it – Pabuk’s Gift. Yeah, bring it on.

So, that was July. August is going to bring the heat. That is when we will start our thinning program. A snip here a clip there, we remove the wings and the other bits and pieces we don’t need. You can think of it as a “Mani Pedi” for the vines. Once the crop is set, there is really not too much more to do - except wait and worry. Ah, the gestalt of farming.


So let’s have a look at the numbers and then we can compare and contrast or just pontificate ad nauseam the 2017 vintage compared to prior years. If you are in need of some back vintages to complete your analysis, you can E-mail Dena to see what she has tucked away in the library.

Right. So on and so forth we go. The month of July recorded 529.9 degree days with a high temperature of 94.6 degrees and a low temperature of 46.2 degrees. This brings the 2017 vintage to date accumulation up to 1,094.4 degree days. There was no measurable precipitation.


You may notice some other vintages that are clustered about the 1,100 degree day mark at the end of July including 2005 (Suite!), 2007 (Hey!), 2009 (Who knew?), and 2012 (Close enough.)

However, as foretold by the weather map, August is bringing the heat. Or as the saying goes, Hell is coming to breakfast. We’ll have the kettle on.



Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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