While we both love classically styled Burgundy, and well aged traditional Rioja, our purpose is to present the character of our vineyard. Sedimentary soils in the Willamette Valley were what we were looking for when we bought our site at the turn of the century.
"...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
The only issue we could see was that there was a cherry orchard growing on top of our vineyard. That was 1999, fast forward to today and we have developed Amalie Robert Estate into 35 acres of sustainably farmed vineyard and a gravity flow winery.
After 12 to 18 months of barrel aging below ground to soften those whole cluster tannins, blending trials can begin. While our wines are all single vineyard and Estate grown, the vineyard is planted to several different clones of Pinot Noir grafted onto a wide variety of rootstocks. This gives us an extensive array of base wines to select from.
Blending is a team effort and Dena has veto power. We each select our favorite barrels from the vintage and Ernie pulls the trial blends. Negotiations immediately ensue. “This barrel for that, no I am keeping this one.” And so it goes. Once our luxury cuvée’s are finalized, we find a few of our favorite barrels of wine are without homes.
"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
Some barrels of wine, while stunning in their own right, can mask the elegance and nuance we are trying to expose in Amalie’s Cuvée or Estate Selection. So once again Ernie pulls a sample from each barrel and we conduct trials. We are looking for barrels of wine that play well together and create a more complex and intriguing wine together than any individual barrel on its own.
While we will be the first to admit iPinot being sold direct only via the power of the internet is a catchy concept, it also caught the attention of some influential wine critics.
The Vintage: The Vintage: From the “everything you could ask for, and more vintage,” 2013 has something for everyone. We begin with a very nice, if not warm, growing season. The humans like this and the vines have a tendency to get ahead of themselves. They go merrily along their way building up sugars and, like Congress, leave the hard work of developing a (flavor) plan for later.
Well, we can’t have that. Just before an early and stress free harvest, in rolled a little “Mamma Drama” and her new boy toy Typhoon Pabuk. When it rains it pours and we received the gift of 9 inches of rain in late September. This is good for the blogosphere as it provided a little grist for the mill. We couldn’t harvest, so might just as well talk about it.
The good news is that the month we really need to grow great wine is October. The rains blew out of town, the sun reappeared and the breezes picked up. This was all very well and good for the Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Viognier and we had a very successful harvest.
The Chardonnay, however, took some casualties. Our nemesis Botrytis gained a foothold after the September rains and began its cycle of extracting the water from the berries. Well, ho ho ho, and off we go, it turns out with the sunny dry weather what we had was a little Noble Rot. So, Ernie made a “sticky” from that once in a lifetime event with the help of his friend and conspiring winemaker Dick Erath.
You can read the full Harvest After Action Report (AAR) at: www.amalierobert.blogspot.com
Tasting Notes: Desire red transcends the space and time between the glass and your palate. Evoking the senses to dark cherry, heirloom red rose, black raspberry, cola, tea leaf and hibiscus aromas, the juicy palate expression reveals an elegant and seductive expression of ripe red fruits, cinnamon and resolute, yet refined stem tannins that linger with intent.
Culinary Inclinations: Roasted quail stuffed with garlic polenta, chanterelles and fresh basil served alongside sautéed baby carrots and braised broccolini.
iPinot Pinot Noir Accolades:
Endless red conjures black cherry, baking cocoa, cinnamon, five spice and the heady scent of freshly tilled soil after a spring shower. The expansive mid-palate takes focus as the depth and breadth of energy released from the pure expression of fruit captivates and stimulates. As the tannins and enforcing acidity permeate, it is all at once elegant and sublime; pleasure and desire.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
iPinot is composed of reserve quality barrels of wine selected for luxury tier of Pinot Noirs blended to create a reserve level wine without the reserve level price. After Amalie’s Cuvée and the Estate Selection are determined, this wine is made from a few favorite barrels of wine without homes.Whole cluster inclusion and feral yeast fermentation. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is very earthy, with aromas of mulch and mushroom, and subservient black cherry fruit in the background. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and red berry are robed in ripe tannins. The wine has enviable harmony and a cherry-fueled finish that has good intensity.
- William "Rusty" Gaffney, M.D., PinotFile, September 2016 - 90 points
Lengthy Red. Initial aromas of cinnamon, lavender, lilac, and tayberry introduce stem spice over sandalwood. Initial flavors are red fruits wrapped in cherry preserve that presents balance and elegance. As the flavors linger, the wine develops breadth and depth culminating in velvety stem tannins and integrated acidity. While interesting now, this wine will reward cellar aging. Unfined and unfiltered.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, spice- and floral-accented aromas of raspberry and cherry-cola, with a smoky topnote. Offers sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors and notes of gingerbread and white pepper. Shows a silken character, with real back-end energy. Weightier on the gently tannic finish, which strongly echoes the raspberry and floral notes.
- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2013 - 92 points
The Amalie Robert 2009 Pinot Noir iPinot Noir (sic) – of which there is also a Chardonnay counterpart – is so-named because the winery sold (or is selling) its 400 cases exclusively on-line. Juicy fresh cherry seems macerated with rose hip and tinged with cinnamon, black pepper, and smoked meat, as well as nicely integrated vanilla and caramelized resin from one-third new barrels. There is a hint of warmth to an otherwise delightfully sustained finish, and the tannins here are much more mannerly than in the corresponding “Reserve” bottling. Mark this down for enjoyment through at least 2017.
- David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate, October 2013 - 91 points
Light, bright red. High-pitched redcurrant, strawberry and orange zest aromas, along with suggestions of dusty minerals and white pepper. Shows very good clarity and lift to its light-bodied bitter cherry and red berry flavors. Closes with lingering spiciness, a touch of rose pastille and silky, fine-grained tannins that stay hidden in the background.
- Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, July 2014 - 91 points
iPinot leverages the power of the internet and direct shipping to provide “luxury cuvée” quality at a more moderate price. Great wine made by real people delivered from our winery directly to your door – ground shipping included on every 6 pack*, every time, in the continental United States.
* Note: All orders are shipped with a real, free cork in every bottle. No screwoffs. Shipping discount will be applied manually after order is placed.
iPinot is our way of connecting Amalie Robert Estate “luxury cuvée” quality wine directly with savvy internet consumers at the lowest possible price.
iPinot is reserve quality barrels of wine selected for our $50 luxury tier Amalie’s Cuvée and Estate Selection. We blend these barrels of wine together to create iPinot - a reserve level wine without the reserve level price.
Ernie spends his summer strapped to a tractor (he’s got three of them) and his job is to grow and harvest wonderfully expressive grapes that will make elegant and perfumed wines. In the winery Dena runs the lab to insure that those whole cluster and indigenous yeast fermentations are extracting only the most ethereal flavors and aromas.
iPinot by Amalie Robert Estate