The third stop on our whirlwind wine tour with Trish (from A Great Oregon Wine Tour), was Alexana Estate Vineyards and Winery, located due west of Newberg, Oregon. When we drove up to this stop, it was obvious that it would be a very different experience from the last winery.
A roomy, modern looking building greeted us, reflecting a sense of openness. The tasting room is a Gold LEED Certified building by the US Green Building Council. The foyer led to the bar area with open windows, high ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors. The bar itself is a fascinating structure, exposing the visitor to a sample view of the soils in which these wonderful grapes are grown. Across the room, large paned windows allow the visitor to view the work area of the winery and, depending on the time of year, watch the magic happen as the grapes are transformed from simple fruit to nectar of the Gods.
Alexana sits on an 80-acre vineyard located in the Red Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the heart of the Willamette valley. It is known to have multiple microclimates throughout the estate. Bought in 2005 by Dr. Madaiah Revana, Alexana is named after his daughter. During his search, Dr. Revana met and later partnered with world-renowned wine maker, Lynn Penner-Ash, to create the wines that Alexana offers today.
Knowledgeable and friendly staff greeted us. Our personal sommelier, Charles Hesson, started us out with a side-by-side comparison of the 2014 “West Blocks” Pinot and a 2014 “East Blocks” Pinot. It was surprising that these two wines, made from grapes grown on the same estate, would have such a distinct difference in flavor. The West Blocks vineyards are southwest facing and the grapes grown primarily in sedimentary soils. On the nose, the accents of dark fruits such as plums as well as cedar came through. On the palate, it had the heavier flavors we enjoy, with notes of brambleberries and finished with nutty vanilla tones. Only 347 cases were produced and aged in French Oak barrels for 11 months. This one was a favorite of my darling.
The East Blocks Pinot was crafted from grapes on the southeast facing part of the estate, which is made up of predominantly volcanic soils. It was slightly lighter than the West Blocks Pinot. On the nose, I detected flowers and spices and on the palate it was fruity, reminding me actually of red licorice, as well as spices. 347 cases of this vintage were produced as well, aged in French oak barrels for 11 months.
Next we sampled a 2014 Fennwood Vineyard Pinot Noir. This vineyard is part of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and spans some 38 acres. The soils are mostly sedimentary in nature, stemming from the Missoula floods, which occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. 299 cases of this wine were produced and it turned out to be one of my favorites. On the nose I sensed accents of vanilla and scents that reminded me of the forest. On the palate, the tannins came through wonderfully, accentuating the flavors of strawberries and cherries.
Finally, we ended with a wine that not from the Alexana Vineyard, but rather one from one of Dr. Revana’s vineyards in Argentina. The 2012 Luminoso is crafted under the Corazon Del Sol (translated means Heart of the Sun) label and comes to us from Mendoza, Argentina. This wine is a mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes and I found it to have notes of plum, flowers and blackberries on the nose. On the palate, the blackberry again made an appearance, as did spices and other brambleberry flavors. These grapes are grown in extremely rocky soils in an area that claims to have some of the most intense sunshine in the wine world. I truly enjoyed this wine as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this winery. The ambiance was exceptional. The sommeliers and staff were pleasant and knowledgeable and the wines were amazing. Alexana does in fact have a wine club with three different levels of commitment. The Silver Club offers four bottles three times a year and a 10% discount on other purchases as well as a complimentary tasting for up to four people and invitations to special events. The Gold Club offers all the same benefits as the Silver but with six bottles three times a year and a 15% discount on other purchases and the Platinum Club grants the member 12 bottles and a 20% discount.
This is a must stop on any wine tour.