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Revana Alexana Corazon del Sol


Dr. Revana


Willamette Valley: The Holy Grail for Pinot Lovers

Oregon’s Willamette Valley attracts noted Burgundy domaines and Indian vintners, Rajat Parr and Dr Madaiah Revana, reports Mira Advani Honeycutt

by SommelierINDIA: The Wine Magazine


Dr. Madaiah Revana, Alexana Winery Houston-based cardiologist Dr. Madaiah Revana has all bases covered: Bordeaux-style Revana wines in California’s Napa Valley, Burgundy-style Alexana in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the Corazon del Sol Rhône programme in Argentina’s Uco Valley. He is the first Indian vintner in the US to own three vineyard estates, and wineries in three distinctive regions.

Why Oregon I asked? “I always enjoyed Burgundy,” answered Revana in our phone conversation from his base in Houston, Texas, “and I had heard of Willamette’s similarity with Burgundy.” Serendipitously, he met Lynn Penner-Ash, co-founder of Willamette’s renowned Penner-Ash Winery, who encouraged him. “This property became available and I jumped at it,” he said of the Dundee Hills location, a prime sub-appellation in the heart of Willamette.  

Revana acquired the 80-acre property in 2005. “It was a forest, there was nothing there. We started from scratch, cleared the land, planted vineyards, then built the winery,” he said. Fifty-five acres were planted to 11 clones of Pinot Noir, two of Chardonnay and one of Pinot Gris. “First harvest, we sold the fruit.”   

What makes the estate special is the 18 different types of soil ranging from Dundee’s signature red soils to marine sedimentary soil, as winemaker Tres Burnes informed me when I met him on my recent visit to Willamette. On a cool summer morning, we were seated on the terrace, taking in the expansive 180-degree panorama of the vineyards stretched over rolling hills and rugged terrain. Burns pointed at the hodge-podge of 18 soils in the middle block, a result of landslides over thousands of years. This geological diversity is what gives the wines its structure, complexity and age-ability.

While there is Chardonnay and Pinot Gris produced at Alexana, its Pinot Noir is the star of the portfolio with seven different bottlings, three of which are soil-specific, while others are clone-designate (as reported on the label). 

We began our tasting with a 2022 Pinot Gris expressing brilliant acidity and moved on to the flagship Estate Pinot Noir, the ethereal and  spicy 2019  and a savoury 2021, both expressing the classic Willamette sous bois and barnyard on the nose. We visited older vintages, the 2011 Block 8 and 2014 Block 6, both pale-hued in an Old World style, yet showing bright fruit on the palate and supple tannins. 

Willamette wines continue to score top ratings in US wine publications. Alexana’s Estate Pinot Noir both 2010 and 2018 made Wine Spectator Magazine’s Top 100 and ELV’s 2012 La Source ranked number three with a score of 98 points in the 2015 issue of Wine Spectator Top 100 wines in the world. (ELV’s Isabelle Meunier was the winemaker of the 2012 vintage with Parr and Moorman selecting the final blend.) 

Oregon’s production output contributes a mere 1.5% to US total wine production with California contributing 90%. Yet, Oregon wines are responsible for 20% of the scores of 90 points or higher.

“So we’re in this little pocket,” Burns commented. Small production but high quality is what brings in high scores. “So it’s an outsized ratio of quality to production, we have quality but a higher price point than other regions.” 

 Revana is bullish on the Willamette region and in 2019 acquired 65 acres across from Alexana, naming it Kinney. “Like children, I love them all,” he commented of his three wineries. “But Napa, where I started, will always be my favourite.” 


BOX — Willamette Valley Facts
Fifty miles from the Pacific Ocean, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is today the heart of the state’s wine industry. Twenty to 40 miles wide and 120 miles long, the valley is a long, level, alluvial plain with scattered groups of low basalt hills. Oregon’s largest AVA, from the Columbia River in the north to the city of Eugene in the south, Willamette was established in December 1983. At that time Willamette was still an old farming community with some 50 wineries. That family camaraderie vibe still continues, but the region has expanded to some 700 wineries spread throughout the 11 nested AVAs: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinville, Yamhill-Carlton, Ribbon Ridge and Van Duzer Corridor are among the key appellations.

Pinot Noir is the king of this region, followed by Pinot Gris. In recent years, Chardonnay and Riesling have been gaining traction. In 2021, the EU granted it the coveted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, the second American wine region after Napa to receive this recognition. The PGI system protects iconic names of agricultural products, spirit drinks and wines that have links to their geographical origins.


Where to dine


  • Red Hills Market Popular local hangout for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. Wood-fired pizzas, salads and baked goods. Outdoor casual seating provides a friendly local vibe.  
  • The Dundee Bistro Popular with local vintners, comfort food at its best, Italian pasta dishes and grilled meats.
  • Tina’s White table cloth, fine dining menu ranging from truffled mushrooms to wild salmon troisgros. 


  • OKTA Chef Matthew Lightner’s 
  • 10-course menu focused on local seasonal food and sustainability.
  • Humble Spirit  Down-to-earth, farm-to-table, featuring local wine country bounty.
  • Pizza Capo Neapolitan-style wood-fire pizza in a casual lively setting. 


  • The Painted Lady Locally inspired  menu served in a  romantic Victorian-style cottage. 
  • Rosmarino Osteria Pure Italian cuisine, a local hangout. 
  • SubTerra Menu crafted with ingredients from local farms and purveyors.

Where to stay

  • Atticus Hotel Luxury lifestyle  hotel in historic downtown McMinnville 
  • The Tributary Hotel 100-year-
  • old historic building restored to eight luxury suites in downtown McMinnville.
  • The Allison Inn & Spa  77-room resort on spacious grounds in Newberg.
  • The Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard  Nine-room villa set above a 100-acre vineyard in Dundee.
  • The Dundee Hotel All suites appointed with eye-popping art in the heart of Dundee. 


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