Amalie Robert Estate is counted among a handful of top Oregon Pinot Noir vineyards, furnishing grapes to top wineries like Beaux Freres and Cristom. But it's the tiny production, estate-grown Amalie Robert Pinots that have really caught our attention. The 2005 Pinots are deep in color and wildly aromatic with great richness and depth. No surprise from the vintage and a vineyard farmed to just 1.8 tons per acre.
In 1997, Ernie Pink and Dena Drews attended the Salud Pinot Noir Auction, Oregon's premier wine auction and tasting, and they were enchanted. Almost immediately, they began looking for vineyard land in the Willamette Valley. When they came upon an unusual parcel, perfectly situated in the "center cut" of a south-facing hillside, they asked Dick Erath (one of Oregon's winemaking pioneers) for his opinion on the land's potential. Erath was enthusiastic, planting soon began in earnest, and Amalie Robert was born. Last year, Amalie Robert came full circle and became a Salud winery.
Ernie is an ex-IT professional. As such, he's developed Amalie Robert with the analytical detail of the great villages of Burgundy, dividing the 30-acre vineyard into 34 distinct parcels, each of which is vinified separately. While Ernie continues to sell off grapes planted to the Pommard and Wadenswil clones, he keeps all of the Dijon clone production (five different Dijon clones from seven blocks) for Amalie Robert. The painstaking work in the vineyard is matched by equally rigorous blending in the cellar--this is as close as it gets to the type of cellar work you see in the best estate-bottled Burgundy estates.
The 2005 "Dijon Clones," made from a mix of 5 Dijon clones, is a true testament to the virtues of blending. Rich, plump and lush with a beautiful deep red color (characteristic of clones 113, 114 and 115), with wonderful complexity and finesse, and great backbone (clone 777) that speaks to the aging potential of this terrific 2005 Pinot. Drink now-2013.
Suggested Food Pairing:
A nice fresh piece of Oregon Chinook Salmon simply grilled with some chanterelles.