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Anne Amie Vineyards

Proprietor Dr. Robert Pamplin, Jr. is a man of many talents. He has earned degrees in business, economics, accounting, education and theology. He is President and CEO of the R.B. Pamplin Corporation and is the founder of the Portland Tribune newspaper, Columbia Empire Farms, Your Northwest retail stores and Anne Amie Vineyards. After purchasing the former Chateau Benoit Winery in Carlton, Pamplin gathered an impressive staff to pursue the goal of producing world-class wines.

President Craig Camp came on board in 2004. He has more than 25 years of experience in fine wine marketing, importing and distribution, and has had a long-standing love affair with Pinot Noir. He also is an accomplished wine journalist, serving as wine forum host for www.egullet.org, the internet’s largest wine and food forum, and the author of the popular blog Wine Camp located at www.winecamp.squarespace.com.

Winemaker Thomas Houseman became intrigued with fermenting wines from fruits and root vegetables at a young age. Later he brewed beer in his New York City apartment. After pursuing a career in modern dance, he enrolled in the enology program at California State University Fresno. His love for Pinot Noir led him to winemaking at Husch Vineyards in the Anderson Valley of California, and later to New Zealand where he worked at both the Blenheim Winery and at Bell Hill in North Canterbury owned by the Giesen brothers. Upon returning to the states, he perfected his winemaking skills under the tutoring of Dick and Luisa Ponzi at Ponzi Vineyards in Oregon. Like most winemakers, he professes to be a minimalist in the winery (if Pinot makes itself and the winemaker’s job is to do as little as possible, what do they earn the big bucks for? - just kidding of course). At Anne Amie, the Pinot Noir grapes are de-stemmed and 80% of the berries reach the open-top fermentors intact. The wines are moved by gravity-flow and aged in about 25% new French oak. No fining or filtration is used.

In wine publications, talk rarely turns to the viticulturists but their role has become very important in the production of Pinot Noir. Director of Viticulture at Anne Amie, Jason Tosch, is an Oregon native who came to Anne Amie from Ponzi Vineyards. He has transforming all of the estate vineyards at Anne Amie to LIVE (Low Input Viticulture & Enology - www.liveinc.org) and Salmon Safe. He notes, “Encouraging the vines using balanced and sustainable practices in the vineyards creates the stage for what Pinot Noir in Oregon soils is meant to do: perform beautifully.”

I had the opportunity to taste through three Pinot Noirs from the Anne Amie portfolio. There are three levels: an entry-level Pinot Noir - Cuvée A, a Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir, and The Vineyard Designates.

2005 Anne Amie Vineyards Cuvée A Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $20, screw cap. The more fruit-forward barrels of wine are selected to make a reasonably priced wine for everyday drinking. · A very light wine with subtle oak and fruit highlights, especially raspberry. A good summer quaffer served cold. Add pomegranate juice and berries for a cool wine slushy.

2004 Anne Amie Willamette Valley Winemaker’s Selection Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $35. This is a blend of the finest barrels from the complete range of Willamette Valley vineyards. · A subdued nose of red fruits, tea and oak leads to simple and pleasant red fruit flavors. An appealing softness on the palate supplies elegance.

2004 Anne Amie La Colina Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $50. a “Cru” selection that reflects a particular terroir. Less than 200 cases. Proprietors Dee and George Hillberry farm the La Colina Vineyard located due east of the winery. This is always the richest and most velvety Pinot Noir in the Anne Amie portfolio. · More plush stuffing here. Deep aromas of black cherries and blackberries carry over in the flavors to follow. Very soft and silky in texture. The wine picks up a little oomph with air time and still tasted quite good the next day from the previously opened bottle.

Annie Amie Vineyards is located at 6580 NE Mineral Springs Road in Carlton. The beautiful tasting room (below) is open daily. Wines may be ordered from the website at www.anneamie.com. 503-864-2991. The winery produces Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling as well.

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