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 – 2020 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Monday, October 21, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate Portfolio Focus: Oregon Chardonnay

Hello and Welcome, 
This is a portfolio focus on Oregon Chardonnay from @AmalieRobert Estate. A FLOG Communication
Today our focus is Chardonnay, the white wine of Burgundy and the most popular white wine on the planet. From a scintillating stainless steel fermentation to the sublime BFC, Chardonnay holds a special place in the cool climate viticulture of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

And at @AmalieRobert Estate, we grow our own. We planted Chardonnay as part of our first plantings back at the turn of the century. Thanks to the efforts of David Adelsheim and a few other like minded souls (who were responsible for bringing the Dijon clones to Oregon from Burgundy), we had the opportunity to plant the (new to Oregon) Dijon clones of Chardonnay.

And we did just that. We chose Dijon clone 76 and 95. Ernie had the foresight and good fortune (aka luck) to choose the ideal rootstock for our sustainably, dry farmed site and that was the deep rooting 5C. Being somewhat densely planted at 1,452 vines per acre, we wanted more than a little root competition at the surface. We wanted deep roots to colonize the soil and find soil moisture to carry us through each vintage to full ripeness.

At harvest time, we pick both clones at the same time. There are only 11 rows and they are conveniently located one right after the other. In the winery, we whole cluster press the wine berries and settle the juice overnight. While crushing the grapes will give more yield, whole cluster pressing helps preserve the natural acidity. Here is an example of less juice being higher quality juice. And for us, that’s what it’s all about.

Our first endeavor into the world of Chardonnay was Her Silhouette stainless steel fermented Chardonnay. We took the extra step of blocking the malic to lactic acid conversion to retain a crisp, acid driven finish. Oregon Chardonnay without acid? Come on, what’s the point?

And then after a few vintages, we said Hmmm. “What do you think of whole cluster pressing those wine berries, putting them in a large format barrel and fermenting the sugar out of them? And we can go all the way through the malic to lactic acid conversion!”

As Bill Gates used to say, “Go big or go home,” so we went big with a new 500 liter puncheon. 2.2 times the volume of a regular Burgundy barrel. (We buy a new one every vintage.) And here is why.

To make the most sublime Barrel Fermented Chardonnay we learned the old school way. Ferment in a big barrel and leave it there for 16 months to let the spent yeast lees impart richness back into the wine. Don’t stir it and most certainly NEVER, EVER top off that sole puncheon with Pinot Noir! So we don’t and we haven’t yet. Our first vintage of the Heirloom Cameo Chardonnay was 2009.

As summer turns to fall and there is a crispness in the air, your thoughts may turn to a cool climate Chardonnay, say maybe from Oregon. The wine is good and it is a real category, becoming quite popular now.

If you fancy the crisp and clean Chablis style wine, perhaps the Her Silhouette would be the right choice. Or if you are more inclined to an elegant, barrel fermented, Chassagne-Montrachet experience, take a look at the Heirloom Cameo BFC. The allure of a classically vinified and barrel matured Chardonnay has a very strong appeal.

If you would like to experience these wines vicariously, please follow these links to view their respective sales sheets.

Or even better yet, contact your sales representative for local availability, pricing and to set up a tasting appointment. We understand that you have a virtually endless sea of choices in the world of wine and appreciate your consideration of our brand.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

About Amalie Robert Estate:

It was the spring of 1999 when we happened upon Bob and his Montmorency cherry orchard. We had been studying soils and climate in the Willamette Valley and doing our level best to evaluate as many wines as we could. It didn’t take too long before Ernie said, “Bob, I got here too late. You have your cherry orchard sitting on top of my vineyard.”

We chose the Willamette Valley because it was the last best place on the planet to grow Pinot Noir. All of the other planets had one issue or another - soils, climate or the proximity to established markets were some of the most significant drawbacks.

And so it began. April of 1999 is when we became cherry growers for just long enough to bring in the harvest. From there on out, our singular focus was to develop our 60 acre property into a world class vineyard and traditional winemaking operation that we would own and operate ourselves.

The benefit of starting with a cherry orchard is that you are not buying someone else’s vineyard and their deeply rooted mistakes. You have the opportunity to make your own mistakes - and learn from them. From those humble beginnings we decided on our own rootstocks, vineyard spacing, trellis design, varieties of wines to grow and their specific clones. We learned how to farm wine to showcase the inherent qualities of our vineyard. We had help from some great and patient mentors including Bruce Weber, Dick Erath, Mike Etzel, Steve Doerner, and many, many others.

When it came time to design the winery, we only wanted to build one, so we found the best architect with the most experience in the Willamette Valley and that was Ernie Munch. Aside from the aesthetics and site placement, the guiding principle was gravity flow. Our crown jewel is the 1,200 tons of below grade concrete that maintains our naturally climate conditioned barrel cellar and the 500 or so barrels entrusted to mature our wines.

And what about the name? Amalie Robert is a combination of Dena's middle name, “Amalie” (pronounced AIM-a-lee) and Ernie's, “Robert.” We are them.

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