Pinot Noir, of course, is what you grow when you own the last best place to grow wine in the Willamette Valley. The Uncarved Block represents all of the clones of Pinot Noir we grow throughout our 35 acres of vines. It literally takes the entire vineyard as a single block, albeit a very large single block. We ferment with whole clusters to impart stem tannins and rely on indigenous yeast from the vineyard to carry the fermentation through to completion. Add 18 months of barrel maturation, and Bob’s your uncle.
And this year, the 2012 The Uncarved Block Pinot Noir earned the top Pinot Noir spot in Wine & Spirits Top 100 Best Buys of the Year with a quite respectable 93 point review. Merry Christmas.
Amalie Robert Estate:
2017 December Open House - Last Call!
The winery will be open from 10 am to 3 pm
Saturday, December 9th & Sunday, December 10th
The tasting fee is $15, refundable with a 2 bottle purchase per person. A-List members with up to 4 guests will enjoy a complimentary tasting. All case purchases (including mix and match) receive a 10% discount (A-List members receive a 20% discount.) And there is always a free cork in every bottle!
Please contact Dena with any questions or to place an order at email@example.com or by phone at 503.88.CUVEE (28833.)
We are located at 13531 Bursell Road, Dallas, about 20 minutes west of Salem. Driving Directions and Map
Dena & Ernie
Please join Dena and Ernie as we celebrate the passage of the single most significant and efficient piece of legislative effort in the history of this great country: The 21st amendment to the constitution! That’s right wine enthusiasts; the repeal of prohibition was enacted on December 5th, 1933. Follow this link to learn more about the significance of the 5th of the month.
The celebratory tasting program will include the following wines:
2016 Bellpine Pearl (sans gas) Rosé Non-sparkling wine
2015 Our Muse Late Harvest Viognier
2012 The Uncarved Block Pinot Noir - Wine & Spirits 2017 Best Buy of the Year!
2014 Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir
2011 Top Barrel Syrah – Wine & Spirits Year's Best US Syrah
2013 Pabuk’s Gift Late Harvest Chardonnay
We say what better way to celebrate than with Champagne! Oh we thought about it, we most surely did. The Bellpine Pearl is our base wine, but without the carbon dioxide of a secondary fermentation in the bottle. In the old world, you would say it is “sans gas.” So if you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, or just trying to eliminate excess gas, then the Bellpine Pearl is our recommendation for your holiday “non-bubbly” Rosé.
As far as white wines go for us, Viognier provides the most allure and intrigue. The excruciatingly hot 2015 vintage produced an off dry aperitif Our Muse Viognier that pairs exceedingly well with pâté, blue cheeses and more than just a passing glance from across the room.
We have been producing a single clone bottling of Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir since 2008. But that’s not exactly true. (Sounds like something Mr. Flynn might say.) We produced a Wadenswil bottling in 2007, but it just so happened to be the best barrel of wine from that ill-begotten vintage. That wine carried a different label; it was The Reserve from 2007. And that wine, after patient cellaring to integrate those stem tannins, went on to earn the highest score of the vintage from both Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and the Wine Advocate! And Happy New Year.
While still remaining chaste from the current round of wine reviewers, the 2014 Wadenswil Clone Pinot Noir may in fact be the must stunning bottling of this wine to date, including the 2007 vintage. You can prepare yourself for this encounter with the Wadenswil clone right here, by reading our Interview with a Clone: Wadenswil 2A. HOOA!
Marketing is the fine art of shrouding a nugget of truth in a believable story that has emotional appeal resulting in a transfer of stored labor in exchange for a specific product, service or experience. This brings us to the Syrah program at Amalie Robert Estate.
They said it couldn’t be done. Growing Syrah in the Willamette Valley. Really? But it is true that some of the best expressions of any wine variety are grown in marginal climates that test the grower’s ability to barely ripen the fruit. This is true.
As it turns out, the past few vintages have seen the earliest harvests of Pinot Noir ever in the Willamette Valley. Warm vintages pushing the limits of sugar ripeness in August and September resulted in very early Pinot Noir harvests. This is also true.
Old timers around here will tell you it was typical for Pinot Noir harvests to start in the second or third week of October. The growing season would extend through October and sometimes past Halloween. Unless of course the rains came and didn’t leave. In those cases they had “Oregon Buckets” for harvest. These are the same buckets used in a normal year, with the only difference being they had holes drilled in the bottom to let the water out. This is mostly true.
We are an estate grown winery which means we grow all of our own wine and do not buy or otherwise use fruit we have not grown. That’s Ernie’s responsibility. These past few vintages have afforded him the opportunity to employ all of the growing season available through October. And borrowing a maneuver from the “Old Gard” he extended the Syrah hang time and harvest into November. This elicits an emotional connection with pioneering winegrowers and is unquestionably believable.
Ernie has 4 clones of Syrah stuffed into lucky block 13 and a wee bit of interplanted Viognier, just like they do in Côte Rôtie. And he arrived at the decision to plant those specific clones after a little chat with Marcel Guigal while visiting the Guigal winery in the Northern Rhône. Of course, it was his intention to keep the Viognier in its own block but something happened along the way at the nursery. The reason that they interplant Viognier in Syrah vineyards in Côte Rôtie is, of course, because they are French. And therein lies the nugget of truth.
Our Syrah is the result of a significant portion of whole cluster in the fermentation and extended aging of over 2 years in new French oak. Sometimes there are just a couple of barrels and sometimes there are a couple more. No matter, after the obligatory 24 months of aging, Ernie is in there tasting wine (not spitting) to see how the stem tannins and wood tannins have worked themselves out. He will never admit to it, but he also can’t explain away the deeply hued purple stained teeth and fingers. This is most certainly all true, even the bits that aren’t!
In each of these past few vintages, there has been a single barrel that has captivated him. They are all good, but it’s as if he hears the Sirens’ song and cannot break free. He refuses to blend that barrel away into the larger production of Satisfaction Syrah. Instead he racks off a portion of that single barrel and bottles it separately. That is his Top Barrel Syrah. Never more than 25 cases, and usually less because he can’t stop tasting the wine before it gets bottled! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marketing. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
This just in from tomorrow’s news desk: The 2011 vintage Top Barrel Syrah will be among the featured wines in the February Wine & Spirits article Year’s Best Domestic Syrahs. And Happy New Year again.
After 7 years of growing, fermenting, blending and bottling our own wines, 2013 presented us with a once in a lifetime challenge that resulted in Pabuk’s Gift – a Trockenbeerenauslese style botrytised Chardonnay. With the help of conspiring winemaker Dick Erath, we were able to turn 70 buckets of the most “Noble Rot” Chardonnay raisins into something magical. Truly, a once in a lifetime wine.
The growing conditions in 2013 were pretty farming good heading into harvest, then it hit. Typhoon Pabuk dumped 9 inches of rain on the Willamette Valley in 4 days. This started the botrytis rot clock on our Chardonnay. Then the weather took a turn for the better. Sunny days and cool breezes from the east dried things out and we had a splendid harvest. The botrytis, however, continued to infect the Chardonnay by penetrating the skins and desiccating the berries. From a winemaking point of view this meant increasingly concentrating the aroma and flavors.
We sorted those 70 buckets of raisins berry by berry over the course of 3 days. Most were of the noble rot variety, but there was some plebian rot there too. We fermented that nectar up to about 10% alcohol and then arrested the fermentation with dry ice. Since then, the conditions have not been favorable for noble rot. And hopefully, we will not have to face this challenge again. But if we do, we will know what to do.