2014 Estate Selection “His” (94 points Vinous):
We taste all of our barrels of wine many times throughout the year. We experience the evolution of flavors and aromas and remember the significant events in our vineyard. The excitement of an early bloom, the mystery of a very light fruit set, the discovery of color change at veraison and the rapture of harvest. Tasting each barrel of wine provides us a snapshot in time. We experience the wine’s development.
It is usually during the spring when Pinot Noir in barrel begins to reveal the character of the vintage. Much like experiencing the lavender lilac bloom – you notice the color, then the hint of sweetness in the air and as time passes you are witness to the entire bloom – a testament to the season. This is when we begin blending trials for Estate Selection to capture the more structured and broadly textured interpretation on the vintage.
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.
We offer a portfolio of highly regarded and age worthy wines spanning a breadth of price points with a depth of vintages.
Each of the wines presented above and reviewed in the latest Vinous Media article Oregon: An Embarrassment of Riches and Richness are available for purchase from Amalie Robert Direct. We also have limited availability of cellared vintages reflecting the aroma, flavor and texture development of natural cork bottle maturation.
Please follow this link to purchase wines from Amalie Robert Direct. We ship to all states where legally allowed.
As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Dena at 503.551.9978 or E-mail at Dena@amalierobert.com.
Dena & Ernie
2014 Amalie’s Cuvée “Hers” (93 points Vinous):
The “Hers and His Reserves” reflect our estate vineyard through our individual palates. Amalie’s Cuvée and Estate Selection are exclusive barrel selections of Pinot Noir representing the unique qualities of our vineyard. Every block within our 35 acre vineyard is individually hand harvested at its peak of flavor maturity and intensity. Block by block, the fruit is fermented by indigenous yeast in small 1.5 ton lots and matured for over 18 months before the final blend is created.
Every vineyard block and clone/rootstock combination showcases something unique and special from the vineyard. After fermentation is complete, the wine is placed into a selection of barrels to mature. We source French oak barrels from several coopers. The wine takes a different path to maturity in each barrel, developing its own nuances. Our use of whole clusters in each fermentation provides a continuously evolving tasting experience. From year to year, we strive to reveal the elegance and grace of Oregon Pinot Noir. Amalie’s Cuvée is this blend.
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.
2015 Pommard Clone (94 points Vinous):
Pommard Clone is a barrel selection of our most intriguing estate grown Pommard clone Pinot Noir. The pioneers who began planting Pinot Noir in the North Willamette Valley began primarily with 2 clones of Pinot Noir – Pommard (French, of course) and Wadenswil (Swiss). As the vines matured, high quality wines from both clones were grown in the valley, but the Pommard clone was gaining widespread acclaim and notoriety.
There is a very good reason the Pommard clone was catching on. The Pommard clone represents all that is inherently beautiful in Pinot Noir. It is grown on all types of soils and is unique in its ability to reflect vineyard specific splendor, nuances and vintage conditions. While the eyes are the window into the soul, the Pommard clone expresses the inherent beauty of our vineyard through the lens of the vintage.
Amalie Robert Estate Portfolio Update: Vinous Pinot Noir
2014 Dijon Clones (93 points Vinous):
The Dijon Clones is a blend of 7 Dijon clones sourced from 12 dry farmed blocks. The barrels of wine crafted from each block are culminations of the soil, rootstock, clonal selections and our unique microclimates.
Much like an individual instrument in a symphony, each barrel contributes its own unique character to the final composition. The individual clonal attributes are presented in the aroma and bouquet. The flavors and textures combine on the palate to provide depth and rich layers of Pinot Noir fruit that are distinctly Oregon.
2015 Wadenswil Clone (94 points Vinous):
Wadenswil Clone is a barrel selection of our most intriguing estate grown Wadenswil clone Pinot Noir. Follow this link to read Interview with a Clone - Wadenswil 2A.
When planning our vineyard, we were particularly intrigued with the Wadenswil clone wines we had experienced from sedimentary soil vineyards. The fragrant, intense, laser focused fruit aromas were relentless. It is no accident, but a strategic choice that we have several of our sedimentary soil vineyard blocks planted to the Wadenswil clone.
It may seem that we go to a good deal of trouble to explain an inconsequential event, but it is not so. Wadenswil clone Pinot Noir grown on our sedimentary soils is, for us, what Pinot Noir is all about. The full range of Pinot Noir aromas and flavors along with a dizzying array of mid-palate textures and reverberating acidity define the Wadenswil clone.
While The Reserve is a blend of our very favorite barrels from the vintage, the Wadenswil clone blend represents our best expression of this pioneering clone.
As most of you already know, we save the numbers for the end and here they are.
Along the top of each column you will see the Degree Days (specific to Amalie Robert Estate) that we logged for each vintage. At the bottom of each column is an average of all the press that we received from the vintage. Reading across, you will see the wines we produce and at the far left is an average of all the press we have received for that wine. Dena is currently edging Ernie out, but the disparity is manageable.
This is an Amalie Robert Estate Portfolio Update: Vinous Pinot Noir. A FLOG Communication.
Who do you trust? Who can you trust? Is that fake news, again? In all things vinous, we trust Vinous Media to provide the most experienced, relevant and thoughtful opinions from wine growing to sensory evaluation. It has been that way long before we began producing wine nearly 15 years ago.
2014 The Uncarved Block (92 points Vinous):
Presenting the Amalie Robert Estate House Style. This is the story of the sculptor and The Uncarved Block. When a sculptor imagines a block of marble, he sees what others cannot. His chisel removes what does not belong to expose the elegance and beauty of what was hidden. This purity of form is only revealed by careful and thoughtful action.
As is the case with all of our Pinot Noirs, this bottling is 100% estate grown and hand harvested fruit. The individual blocks were fermented with whole clusters and indigenous yeast from the vineyard. In the cellar, we age the individual lots in oak barrels representing a variety of coopers and forests for at least 18 months. The blend is a reflection of our soils, microclimates and stewardship of the land.
What happens next is the focus of this FLOG. After the wine berries from each of our 42 vineyard blocks are individually hand harvested, fermented and put to barrel, our task is to blend and bottle up to 8 estate grown Pinot Noirs that tell our story. The goal of each wine is to blend for complexity and evolution of aromas, flavors and textures through natural cork bottle maturation.
We like the evolution of whole cluster stem tannins in our Pinot Noirs with 5 to 7 years of bottle maturation. But we also appreciate that waiting can be time consuming, and the lure of immediate gratification has a very strong appeal. Insider Tip: Check out the library.
Here is a brief overview of our Pinot Noir portfolio, including the most recent Vinous Media reviews, beginning with an introduction by Josh Raynolds.
Owners/winemakers Dena Drews and Ernie Pink have always marched to their own beat, opting to release their extensive range of wines after they have had some bottle age. Thus, current releases here focus on the 2014 and 2013 vintages. I was pleasantly surprised by the graceful character of the ‘14s, a vintage more noteworthy for its power than finesse. That said, they do show the abundant fruit and concentration that marks the year but in a minor key. My impression is that they are good cellar candidates even if some decanting time makes them quite drinkable now. - Oregon: An Embarrassment of Riches and Richness, June 2019
Our early Pinot Noirs starting from the 2004 vintage were reviewed by Josh Raynolds when he was writing for Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Now a part of Vinous Media, Josh continues to cover Oregon’s Willamette Valley, as well as one of Ernie’s other favorite regions, Côte Rôtie. But our focus today is Pinot Noir. The Syrah and Viognier will get their due this fall.
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.”
2014 iPinot® (92 points Vinous):
iPinot® is our way of connecting Amalie Robert Estate reserve quality wine directly with savvy internet consumers at the lowest possible price.
iPinot® is reserve quality barrels of wine selected for our “Hers and His Reserves”, Amalie’s Cuvée and Estate Selection. Once the final “Hers and His Reserve” wines are blended, we have a few reserve level barrels of wine to blend. We blend these barrels of wine together to create iPinot - a reserve level wine without the reserve level price.
iPinot® is available for retail purchase as well as a subscription service.
2013 The Reserve (93 points Vinous):
The Reserve is an exclusive barrel selection of Pinot Noir representing our most intriguing wine in the cellar. The final blend represents countless hours of tasting wine from barrel. Only with such in-depth knowledge of our subject matter, are we able to select this barrel or two of Pinot Noir.
As we taste wine through the cellar, we can usually agree on when we have found the best barrel or two of Pinot Noir. When that happens, we find that we disagree on whose reserve blend it is going into. And when we find that we agree to disagree, we have just found The Reserve. And occasionally, The Other Reserve.