Anne Amie Vineyards
I met recently with Director of Winemaking Thomas Houseman at Annie Amie Vineyards located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA on Mineral Springs Road. Thomas graduated from the enology and viticulture program at
University of California at Fresno, and learned his winemaking working at Husch Vineyards in the Anderson
Valley, Bleinheim Winery and Bell Hill Winery in New Zealand, and Ponzi Vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Along with Director of Viticulture, Jason Tosch, who also came from Ponzi Vineyards, the pair have
transformed Annie Amie Vineyards into a world-class winery.
90% to 95% of the Anne Amie wines are now produced from estate fruit. All estate vineyards are certified LIVE
(Low Input Viticulture & Enology) and Salmon Safe. The estate vineyards are located in the rolling hills
adjacent the winery (Anne Amie Estate) and on the steep hillsides of the Chehalem Mountains (Twelve Oaks
Estate). Most of the Pinot Noir is now sourced from the Twelve Oaks Vineyard situated at 660 to 820 feet
elevation in the Chehalem Mountains which is planted to multiple clones on about 36 acres.
All Pinot Noirs are fermented with native yeasts. In the 2011 Pinot Noirs reviewed here, about 15% to 20%
whole cluster was used because harvest was late and the stems were mature. All wines are unfined and
unfiltered and bottled under screwcap.
2010 Anne Amie Prismé Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Blanc
14.1% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.66, 268 cases, $50. Released May 2013. Sourced
from Anne Amie Estate and Rainbow Ridge vineyards. Clones are Pommard
and 115. Free-run juice was racked into French oak puncheons and barrel
fermented with lees stirring, full malolactic fermentation, and aged for 18 months
in 38% new and 62% neutral oak before bottling.
This is a serious wine that
displays intriguing complexity. Mild golden yellow color and clear in the glass.
The aromatic profile is quite pleasing with scents of pear, baked apple, kiwi and
vanilla. Slightly creamy on the palate and juicy acidity on the finish with an array
of flavors including pear, apple and peach with a nutty undertone. Much more
expressive and alive the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Peaches and cream is
the main theme but hints of coconut and pineapple add interest.
2010 Anne Amie L’Iris Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH
3.59, TA 0.61, 230 cases, $60. Released May 2014. 74.2% Twelve
Oaks Estate, 15.8% Rainbow Ridge and 10% Anne Amie Estate.
Clones are Pommard 4, 667, 777, 114, 113, 115, and Wädenswil. 100%
de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, free-run juice was racked into French oak
barrels where the wine completed malolactic fermentation. Aged 18
months in 20.5% new, 35% 1-year, and 44.5% neutral French oak and 2-3 years
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Vibrant aromas of
cherry, red berry, sandalwood and spice lead to an elegantly styled wine that
charms you with flavors of red cherries and berries, blueberries, savory herbs,
spice and a compliment of oak-driven notes. The tannins are evident but not intrusive and indicate age ability,
and the finish is a veritable spice bomb. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle, the wine was flat-out great.
2011 Anne Amie Winemaker’s Selection Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.64, 4,286
cases, $30. Released January 2014. 44.1% Anne Amie Estate, 42% Twelve Oaks Estate, 9.8% Rainbow
Ridge, and 4.1% Alloro vineyards. Harvest extended to November 6. Largely de-stemmed, 7-21-day cold
soak, extended maceration, and on the skins for a total of 28-40 days. Free-run and light pressings were
combined and aged 11 months in 29.9% new, 10.3% 1-year, and 59.8% neutral French oak.
reddish purple color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of cherry, rose petal and exotic spices. The core of red
cherry and cranberry fruit is satisfying, but the nose is the best feature of this easy to drink wine. Suave
tannins and a refreshing lift of acidity on the finish complete the experience.
2011 Anne Amie Twelve Oaks Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH
3.64, TA 0.62, 194 cases, $40. Released November 2013. Laurelwood soil. Clones 115, Pommard 4, 777 and
Wädenswil. Largely de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 12 months in 25% new, 18% 1-year, and 57% neutral
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of cherry, balsam, rose petal
and spice draw you in. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and spice and caressed by supple tannins. Very
silky on the palate with a bright finish. Still charming the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
2011 Anne Amie Anne Amie Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.55, TA
0.65, 198 cases, $40. Released November 2013. Clones are Pommard 4 and 115 grown in Willakenzie soil.
Largely de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 16 months in 3% new, 25% 1-year and 72% neutral French oak.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and a hint of
spice. The fruit has a riper profile than the Twelve Oaks with darker stone and berry fruit and a touch of herbs
and floral goodness in the background. The best feature is the big, bright, juicy cherry finish which is very
prominent the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Thomas is one of the three winemakers participating in “The Cube Project” that began with the 2010 vintage.
Thomas, Andrew Brooks of Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa Carneros, and Leslie Mead Renaud of Lincourt
Vineyards in Santa Barbara County devised an experiment that compared winemaker technique with terroir.
The three wineries picked 6 tons of Pommard clone Pinot Noir from their own vineyard in the 2010, 2011 and
2012 vintages. They divided the grapes into thirds, with each of the three winemakers processing 2 tons
(about 120 cases) of Pinot Noir grapes. Each winemaker was responsible for picking decisions at their own
winery and the grapes were picked on the same day so each of the three wines started on equal footing. Each
winemaker crafted their wines from the two other vineyards in the same fashion as the wine from their own
vineyard. The Cube Project was first presented at the World of Pinot Noir in 2012: www.princeofpinot.com/
article/1195/. For more information also visit www.anneamie.com/cube-project. Once the project is completed,
you will be able to buy all 9 wines and decide for yourself whether terroir or winemaking technique are most
obvious. The 2010 vintage wines are now available on the Anne Amie website.
I tasted the three 2011 wines made by Thomas as part of The Cube Project. They were tasted blind the day
the bottles were opened and re-tasted the following day. All wines were 100% de-stemmed and unfiltered, with
varying oak treatment.
2011 Cube Anne Amie Estate Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with fresh cherries
and spice. Intensely flavorful on the mid palate and finish, yet light on its feet,
with a flourish of Bing cherry and plum fruit, herbs, spice and sandalwood. The
following day, the wine was noticeably more aromatic and equally flavorful with a
good firm structure and bright acidity for aging.
2011 Cube Bouchaine Estate Vineyard Napa Carneros Pinot Noir
Moderately light garnet hue
in the glass. An array of scents stand out including cherry, black raspberry and exotic spices. Soft and smooth
on the palate with plenty of body, lively acidity, and flavorful notes of purple grapes, plum, and black cherry.
The following day, the wine was more earthy and savory in character.
2011 Cube Lincourt Lindsay’s Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black raspberry, grape, spice and herbs. This wine has the
most sap, shows the most oak sheen, and is the most luscious featuring full flavors of purple grape, dark
raspberry and black currant. The following day, the fruit tasted too ripe and raisiny, and nose was heavy with
smoky oak. The fruit core was massive and the finish was big, but it was a tad too much for me.
The wines clearly showed their terroir and it was easiest to pick out the Oregon wine. Without tasting the other
winemaker’s wines, I can’t comment on the effect of winemaking on the finished wines. Stay tuned as the