The Vintage: Playing chicken with Mother Nature. Vintage 2016 was another barn burner for the record books, but with a twist. The continuing pattern of warm night time temperatures established way back from 2012 was in full effect. But this year the water spigot did not get fully turned off during the summer and we recorded measurable precipitation every month during the growing season.
We bore witness to the blogosphere reporting the Willamette Valley once again had pre-mature fermentation with one of the earliest harvests on record. And once again, Ernie would not get out the harvest bins until we saw a little mid-September rainfall. Note: Playing chicken with Mother Nature is not for the weak kneed or timid.
And pretty much right on par with 2015, our first significant rainfall occurred overnight on the 16th of September with 0.36 inches being recorded. We could not believe it. The soils were as dry as the day before, but the rain gauge does not lie. The wine berries were drawing up that soil moisture and continuing to develop aroma and flavor, just as if we had planned it that way, which, in fact, we had.
The 2016 harvest began in earnest at Amalie Robert Estate on September 23. It was a young block of Wadenswil grafted onto 44-53 rootstock at the highest elevation of the property that began the show. And then the mystery of the vintage began to unfold. The 28th of September recorded 0.86 inches of rainfall followed the next day by 0.27 inches. The first couple days of October brought another 0.93 inches. That’s over 2 inches of rain in a week! Now, we are getting somewhere, but only if you were able to hold out for the rains.
Is ripeness sugar accumulation or aroma and flavor development with moderate tannins? When and why do you harvest and who gets to make that decision? This is where the motivation behind contract vineyards and estate grown vines becomes apparent. Some blink, some don’t.
And that is when we got with the program. With each passing day of harvest, the sugar concentrations were dropping and the aromas and flavors were coming on strong. And since we leave leaves to shade our Pinot Noir, the aromas and flavors were elegant and perfumed.
The temperatures also began to cool considerably in September. The vintage accumulated 2,177 degree days, but only 300 of those were in September and the last 40 came in by mid-October. The heat came on just like voting - early and often. And then it was over. Vintages have consequences…
You can read the full Harvest After Action Report (AAR) on our FLOG (Farming bLOG):
Tasting Notes: The waning crimson of a springtime rainbow over the back 40 entices aromas of stargazer lily and fresh ripe raspberries punctuated by strawberry-rhubarb compote. A suave approach and a twist of the wrist introduce the palate to a fresh and crisp interpretation of Pinot Noir Rosé. Bursting summer berries with a broad palate appeal are only somewhat constrained by fresh and lingering acidity.
Culinary Inclinations: While the color of Rosé wines is of personal preference, so are the seemingly endless nosh possibilities. We like smoked duck breast and Manchego cheese with fresh ripe raspberries and tart apple alongside a sourdough baguette. A freshly snipped rose completes the ensemble – but of what color?
Pinot in Pink Accolades:
2016 Pinot in Pink
- Wine Enthusiast, October 2017 - 90 points, Editors' Choice
2015 Pinot in Pink
The Raspberry Electriqué emanates intent from an expressive vintage. Lively raspberry, cherry and strawberry coalesce to form a ménage à trois upon your palate. More than a chance rendezvous, the alliance develops into a mid-palate tryst. Long and lingering, texture and tease, the relentless pursuit of pleasure endures in the everlasting au revoir.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
Retina-searing fuchsia color. A wild, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red berries, blood orange and candied flowers, with a pungent herbal note building in the glass. Sappy, penetrating and refreshingly bitter, offering bitter cherry and rhubarb flavors that stretch out slowly on the back half. Finishes long and spicy, with resonating herbal character and a touch of candied flowers. I couldn't get images of avaros (think Campari, or, more accurately, Aperol) and medicinal herbs out of my head while I tasted this singular wine, which was a very good thing.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, July 2016 – 91 points
2014 Pinot in Pink
Risqué Red. Strawberry lemonade with a sprig of variegated thyme sets the relaxing summertime scene. Delicate flavors of strawberry and guava entwine the palate and enhance the rich mouth feel. Brisk acidity carries the finish and provides the impetus for a little nibble.
- Amalie Robert Estate Tasting Notes
Vibrant orange-pink. A highly fragrant bouquet evokes ripe strawberry, blood orange and floral oils, with a spicy nuance building as the wine opens in the glass. Silky and seamless on the palate, offering juicy red fruit flavors and a touch of honeysuckle. Closes smooth and very long, with emphatic red berry and rose pastille notes lingering.
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, June 2015 – 91 points
Pinot in Pink Rosé
Pinot in Pink is a Rosé of Pinot Noir fermented in stainless steel after limited juice exposure to the skins. The result is a light bodied and refreshing wine with purity of fruit, a rich mid-palate and a lingering finish. After all, this is Pinot Noir!
Here is a refreshing summer wine that respects you for who you are, whenever you can find the time. Perhaps you are dockside with oysters and a tantalizing Granita, or along the river with fresh strawberries, cheese and a baguette. Surely, the evolving colors and shapes of the ever-changing sunset complement your style.