Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2022 Pinot Noir In Flagrante!
Hello and Welcome,
“I’ll take Pinot Noir In Flagrante for $1,000 please, Alex.”
This viticulture term is used to describe the event when wine berries change color. In Pinot Noir, wine berries start out green and then “blaze” to a blushing pink hue.
Mr. French: “What is harvest?” NO.
Mr. Turd Ferguson: “What is fermentation?” NO. “What is urination?” ABSO-LUTELY NOT!
Sir Sean Connery: “I am not sure of the term, but I do know it’s 5:00 somewhere.”
Mr. Turd Ferguson: “My watch has been stuck on 5:00 for a few days now.”
Mr. Sir Sean Connery: “Well, that certainly clears up a few things.”
The correct response is Veraison.
Mr. Turd Ferguson: "Hey there Alex, did you know you did not phrase your response in the form of a question?"
The Big Picture
Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means.®
This is our Brand Terroir. The repository of our farming history at Amalie Robert Estate. We have over 200 posts going back some 20 years. It’s all out there on Substack. More than you would ever want to know about the agrarian endeavor of farming wine. It's a FLOG communication (Farming bLOG). Check us out on Substack, your subscription is FREE! If you want to see what we see on a more regular basis, follow us on Instagram @AmalieRobert. FREE! It's all FREE!
Planning to enjoy traveling again and exploring the Willamette Valley? Amalie Robert Estate is open year round by appointment for vineyard tours and tastings. Request a tasting appointment with your preferred day and time.
The Main Story
Looking back, Vintage 2021 was significantly different, as we saw Pinot Noir In Flagrante on July 28th. We are about three weeks out on the ripening trajectory from 2021, but just about typical for the 30 year average of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
There is no rhyme or reason as to the order of which berries turn color. Some say they ripen from the top of the cluster top down, others from the bottom up. It seems fairly random to us, each cluster moving at its own pace hurtling toward THE GREAT CLUSTER PLUCK.
We like to think this is one of the things in life you simply can’t know. Don’t know, don’t know how to find out. You just accept it. Doesn’t sit well with Ernie, but he has other thoughts to occupy his mind. Like the logistics behind extracting 90 tons of wine berries from the vineyard. In October - when it is likely to rain. First time we are this late for harvest in about a decade. May you live in interesting times…
What Does This Mean and Why Should I Care
The significance of a later ripening window is that aroma, flavor and sugar concentration should progress in a more balanced fashion. Later in the growing season, the daytime high temperatures tend to be cooler. The result is to prolong the time needed to concentrate sugar, thus buying us more time on the vine to develop aroma and flavor. And it will rain before harvest. These are all good things that will maximize wine quality for Vintage 2022.
But the risk side of the reward equation is that we will run up against fall rains That can be good to rinse and hydrate the wine berries. Or it could be a whole lotta bad - which means the wine berries can rot. The birds also seem to get their hungry on when it rains, so a few cases worth of wine will most likely take flight. And then we have the jet stream not only moderating temperatures, but also recycling the atmosphere from nearby states, including our own.
Some describe this as a breath of fresh air. Don’t count on it. There is no such thing as fresh air. Just like that new boyfriend in college. Kinda cute, but not new. Used. But still, new to you. All of our air has been used. Air makes its way around the planet, picking up souvenirs as it goes. And here in the Pacific Northwest that has smoke taint potential written all over it. It all depends on how we as a collective society choose to manage our natural resources. Hopefully, we are getting better. Either way, the sunsets are always something to celebrate, especially with a nice chilled glass of Rosé...
Dena & Ernie