The theme for the first quarter of our brand spanking New Year is “Champagne Deconstructed.” Note: this is not to be confused with the Champagne Riots of 1910, which was not nearly as much fun as you might think it could be.
While it may not be a proven fact, it certainly is a known fact that we (as in all of us) liberate more bubbles (release CO2 into the atmosphere) during the holidays than any other time of year (climate change be damned.) What you may not know is that those metal cages that keep the corks secured until that magic moment presents itself, are held in place by six twists. Each and every one of them, from every corner of the planet, as if the planet had corners. Could that be globalization interacting with your wine experience? However if you are brave and daring, the sabre may be your preferred method of bubble liberation.
All stainless-fermented and aged, this deserves to be on your short list of can't-miss choices in a domestic Chardonnay. Year after year it scores well, with fresh, vivid fruit, a crisp and inviting mouthfeel, lively spices and ripe tree fruits. There's a seam of wintergreen running alongside in this new vintage, leaving your mouth feeling scrubbed clean.
- Wine Enthusiast, August 2016 - 91 points, Editors' Choice
2015 vintage - Wine Enthusiast, October 2017 - 91 points, Editors' Choice
Pinot Noir, be still my beating heart. With the exception of the miniscule plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, Viognier and 24 Gewürztraminer vines, the rest of our 55,000 estate grown and produced vines are Pinot Noir. And on our farm, we make some blends - EIEIO. And they are all pretty farmin’ good - EIEIO.
And just like wine, there are all kinds of different dogs for all kinds of different pee-poles. Note: This is Ernie seeing if you are still paying attention.
So here they are. The three grapes you have been enjoying over the past few weeks, whether you knew it or not! Click here to read the story on Champagne Deconstructed.
Chardonnay is the most widely planted variety on the planet. We produce a very scintillating stainless steel fermented Chardonnay called Her Silhouette. Here is the latest press from the 2014 vintage (not so bad for whole cluster pressed, stainless steel fermented Chardonnay):
Today we are talking about the Dijon Clones bottling - One of the most diverse Pinot Noirs in our portfolio. It is a blend of all 7 of the Dijon Clones we grow throughout our 35 acres of producing vines. Each small block of vines represents a single clone and is grafted onto a rootstock to best match our undulating soils. Fermented in small 1.5 ton fermenters, punched down by mere mortals with indigenous yeast and whole clusters for that ever evolving stem tannin goodness. Matured for a year and a half in barrel to soften those alluring stem tannins and another year in the cellar before release. The Dijon Clones is a consistent performer and built to evolve gracefully over time.
2008: Light, bright red. Seductively perfumed, expressive aromas of dried red berries, allspice and cinnamon, with a slow-mounting floral quality and a hint of blood orange. Light in body but potent, offering sweet redcurrant and raspberry flavors that stain the palate. An intense spicy overtone carries through the nervy, mineral-driven finish. Lots of flavor intensity here but there's zero fat on this wine.
- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2011 – 92 points
2009: Bright red. Sexy, spice-accented aromas of red berry preserves, potpourri and sandalwood, with a touch of cola in the background. Shows very good intensity and sweetness, offering lithe raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of bitter blood orange. Closes on a spicy note, with excellent clarity and persistent sweetness.
- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2012 – 92 points
2010: Bright red. Heady, exotic aromas of fresh red berries, Asian spices and potpourri, with subtle smoke and mineral nuances adding complexity. Silky, expansive and appealingly sweet, offering intense raspberry and rose pastille flavors and a strong spicecake quality that builds on the back half. Pure, focused and strikingly persistent on the finish, which is firmed by fine-grained, harmonious tannins.
- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2014 – 92 points
2011: Bright red. Potent red berry, floral pastille and incense aromas, with an exotic hint of blood orange emerging slowly. Lithe and sharply focused, with its intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors communicating a suave blend of power and finesse. Delivers a wallop of sweet red fruit character without any excess weight and finishes spicy and very long, with a bright mineral note.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, October 2015 – 91 points
2012: Vivid red. Pungent red and dark berry scents are complemented by underbrush, mocha and sandalwood, with a mineral element adding lift. Juicy and concentrated on the palate, with spice-tinged black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors becoming sweeter with aeration. Dusty tannins sneak in late on the long, focused finish, with the berry and spice notes echoing emphatically.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, October 2015 – 93 points
2013: Vivid red. Smoky red berries and cherry cola on the pungent, mineral-tinged nose. Pliant and seamless in texture; a spicy element emerges on the back half and adds bite to sweet raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors. Sappy and very well-balanced, displaying impressive depth for the vintage. Closes long, floral and seamless, with supple tannins adding gentle grip.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, December 2016 – 92 points
And that, in some combination, is what you have been enjoying – with gas of course. Hopefully it was Rosé. We love a good Rosé. In fact we have two of them queued up for Q2 - Scooby Do!
Amalie Robert Estate - 2017 Champagne Deconstructed
Pinot Meunier mind you, is not damaged goods - used maybe, but aren’t we all? Often the unsung hero in Champagne, it can add body and texture to the final assemblage. And while the Parisians will not come right out and say it, the most acreage under vine in Champagne is planted to Pinot Meunier. This wine completes the “Alt-Red” part of the program.
We do this too. In fact it is the highest rated still Pinot Meunier from Oregon according to Vinous and the Wine Advocate. This Forbes article “The Grape Divide” featuring Dena is also a good reference for this variety.
2014 vintage: Deep red. Aromas of dried cherry, redcurrant and rhubarb, with a mineral element adding vivacity. Bitter cherry and anise flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity, picking up a smoky nuance on the back half. This lively, focused wine finishes with very good cut and smooth, late-arriving tannins.
- Vinous, January 2017 - 92 points