*Here’s Chelsea’s staff blog about her adventures in Oregon. Enjoy!
The best way to get to know a wine, is to become acquainted with the vineyard. Last May, I had the opportunity to stay at the Alexana Property in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with my parents and little sister.
First, let me share the story of how we got there.
Two years ago, my family and I traveled to see friends in Big Sky, Montana when they hosted a group of 20 wine-loving guests at their home. Little did I know, in attendance would be an actual winery owner, Dr. Madaiah Revana. Through fly fishing, drinking memorable wine, and relaxing under Montana’s countless starry sky, my family and I got to know Dr. Revana. The more we learned, the more we liked.
Dr. Revana grew up in rural India near the city of Bangalore where his family had been farming for generations. His interest in becoming a winegrower was led by a love of wine, but the instinct for grape growing is part of his family heritage. When he came to the United States, he started a successful cardiology practice in Houston, which he is still operating today.
First introduced to fine wine by friends, he quickly became fascinated with Bordeaux’s first growths. This led him to create Revana Vineyards, a picturesque 9 acre estate in Napa’s St. Helena district that focuses on estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Alexana Winery (named after his daughter Alexandra) was born of Dr. Revana’s love of Burgundy. In the spring of 2005, Dr. Revana began a search for an ideal region that could produce Pinot Noir that rivaled those from Burgundy. His search ended in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he purchased the 200 acre Alexana property.
Back to Oregon this past May.
My family and I were planning a trip to celebrate my sister Morgan’s college graduation, we thought Oregon would be the perfect destination. Dr. Revana invited us to stay at his apartment on the Alexana property and visit the estate.
We landed at the Portland airport and drove to the Willamette Valley, which was just about an hour south of Portland. When we arrived in Newburg (part of the Dundee Hills AVA), we banged a right down an inconspicuous dirt road which led us to the Alexana property. While many other winery facilities in the Willamette look like glorified tool-sheds, this facility was world class and meticulously tended to.
Our apartment was right above the gravity winery/tasting room and overlooked the 200 acre winery. The sights were breathtaking- the property boasts some impressively large trees which looked like they had been there for centuries.
The Red Hills of Dundee are marked by distinct geographic elements that insulate this region from the dramatic weather variations experienced in other nearby growing areas. Because of the slope and elevation, vineyards in the Dundee Hills benefit from warmer nights and less frost and fog from the nearby valley floor. This is perfect for Pinot Noir, since temperature fluctuations make it susceptible to rot.
In 2003, the previous property owner planted 13 acres of Pinot Noir and three acres of Pinot Gris. Over the next five years, Dr. Revana continued to develop another 39 acres, including Riesling, Chardonnay and additional Pinot Noir. The soils of Dundee are primarily sedimentary silt and stone as well as volcanic stone with clay, and the bedrock beneath is sediment and basalt. There are also over 18 different soil types that run throughout the vineyard, adding to the complexity of these wines!
Alexana was such a beautiful and hospitable property to experience. During our time there, my family had wonderful interactions with the staff, including winemaker Brian Weil and Manager John Gabelhausen.
The last night we had a cookout at Alexana’s outdoor kitchen with the entire staff. Brian is also an amazing chef, serving us freshly-caught grilled salmon perfectly paired with the Alexana Pinot Noir. The whole experience was truly memorable for my family.
I am excited to share that we just brought in the 2011 Alexana Revana Vineyard Riesling, 2011 Alexana Red Label Pinot Noir, and also 2009 Revana Cabernet! These wines are all perfect companions at any dinner table.
Are you inspired to meet Dr. Revana? Save the date for a visit from Dr Revana at The Urban Grape South End on Friday, February 27th from 5-8pm!