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 – 2021 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Amalie Robert Estate: Bonus Mid-Cluster Pluck Progress Report

 Hello and Welcome,  


The Great Cluster Pluck Vintage 2021 is in progress. We are taking a couple of days off, thanks to Mother Nature gifting us 1.47 inches of rain - so far. That allows us to share some updates and a few images of what a successful wine berry extraction looks like. It also allows the soil to dry out so we can drive on it. Gravity flow is not just a winery thing, it also applies to machinery traversing an inclined, clay soil vineyard slope.

How’s the Weather?
The weather has been stunningly cooperative. The heat spikes we endured earlier this year could not be sustained. September has seen moderate high temperatures and low temperatures hitting the very low 40’s. We had a douse of rain mid-month and then again just now. October is where the really serious Cluster Plucking is going to happen. Ernie has been taking in the Pommard and Dijon Clones while holding out the Wadenswil for a little extra hang time.
Here are three weather resources we frequent. You can check into these from time to time to see how the weather is treating us at the end of Vintage 2021. Much like the days when we wore wind-up watches, none of these will tell you exactly the same thing. It’s up to us to apply a little Kentucky windage.
Weather Maps (This takes a bit of practice to decipher.)
What we really want to know is who is going to be the permanent host of Jeopardy. Aaron Rodgers thought he was in the running for the top spot, but his job got in the way. Anyone who can take the last 30 seconds of the game to position his team for victory certainly has skills. And hosting Jeopardy is a different skill set as we can see here from a past episode of SNL Celebrity Jeopardy.

The late Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds, aka Turd Ferguson.
The Photo Gallery.
Harvest morning, before the crew arrives is very tranquil. A Willamette Valley harvest bounty at first light, displayed in remarkable grandeur is spread before you. This is Mother Nature’s finest hour. Up until the first cluster is plucked, it is her show. Please enjoy.



I’ll Take the Numbers, Hold the Smoke Please.
So far, we have been smoke free since last September 15th. And that is a breath of fresh air. Brix is a measure of sugar concentration. Sugar concentration expressed as Brix, multiplied by 0.60 results in approximate alcohol percentage. So far, we are happy to report, our Brix concentrations have ranged from 23.0 to 24.5. In theory, the theoretical upper limit is 25.0 and we are riding up on that razor’s edge.
A little gift of rain will help to dilute the sugar concentrations going forward, and that is the break we have been looking for. Aroma and flavor depend on time on the vine. Picked too early and those silky, sublime aromas have not yet developed. A little rain percolating down to the roots and up to the wine berries will dilute the sugar concentrations and afford us more hang time to develop the sensory components we seek.

This is ESPECIALLY true of Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir. The more he knows, the less he is sure of, but Ernie knows that if you give Wadenswil Clone the right hang time conditions, the resulting wine will be stunning! And that just might be the destiny of Vintage 2021.
Every vintage is unique unto itself, Mother Nature sees to that. However, we are feeling the same inclinations as 2009 with an early flowering and thus an early harvest. And 2013 where it was hot as the hubs of hell, but a little (a lot) of Typhoon Pabuk rain rehydrated our soils. Both vintages have developed well with patient bottle maturation.
While it is certainly too soon to bottle anything, we are exceedingly pleased with the aroma and flavor development we have in the fermenters along with the moderate sugar concentrations. There is also complementary acidity to back up all of that front end aroma and flavor. Good things come to those who wait, but not to those who wait too late. With this gift of rain comes the threat of Botrytis. We have been there and had that done to us. We will be getting right back to it straight away.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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