Malcolm Jolley talks to Scott Flory about premium Napa and Willamette Valley wine making.
One of the great pleasures of working at Good Food Revolution is the opportunity to taste wines that are far out of my price range. So it was the case this week when I visited the Liberty Village offices of Le Sommelier Wine Agency to meet Scott Flory, the export manager for the Revana and Alexana wineries. Scott and I shot the short video below, wherein he tells the amazing story of the respective Napa Valley and Willamette Valley wineries, their founder and acclaimed winemakers. Before we shot the video, we tasted some of the wines that are available (in small allotments) in Ontario.
We began with the Alexana Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2015, and the Alexana Chardonnay ‘Terroir Series’ Willamette Valley 2013, both priced at around $CAD 35. The Pinot Gris is a head turner: rich but also lean, pure fruit on the palate, but floral on the nose. We talked about what to pair with it (Flory said seafood), but I think I would want to have a glass all by itself. The Chardonnay is elegant and complex, with well integrated oak notes that balance out a line of bright acidity. It’s a fancy glass of white wine.
Onto reds, we started with the Alexana Pinot Noir ‘Terroir Series’ Willamette Valley 2014 (about $CAD 45) that is decidedly morish. It was very hard to put the glass down once I had a sip of rich cherry fruit finished by a wash of bright minerality. That palate cleansing effect, that makes you want to take another sip, I associate more with white wines, but here it was in this lovely and lively red. Our last Oregon wine was the Alexana Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Estate ‘Revana Vineyard’ Willamette Valley 2014 (about $CAD 80). Its beautifully balanced and wonderfully complex, delivering sweet red fruit notes, bright sour acidity and a slight earthy bitterness that brought together with present but silky tannins constitute a sort of ideal expression of Pacific Northwestern Pinot Noir. It was good.
Dr. Revana started in the wine business by buying the 11 acre Napa Valley estate that bears his name. The first of two wines we tasted made there was the Revana Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Terroir Series’ Napa Valley 2013. This wine is about $CAD 160 a bottle and made me regret not pursuing a career in investment banking. I could seriously get used to drinking this “second wine” full of deep, deep purple fruit and violets, even though it ought to age (Scott said typically for 10 years). Finally, we tasted the wine that sells out each year in a matter of days, and that Le Sommlier had to apply to get small allotment reserved for the Ontario market, the Ravena Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Estate’ Napa Valley 2013. It costs about $CAD 240 a bottle and it’s very good. The nose is powerful and complex in its own right, and causes one to linger a bit before the first sip, which delivers a kind of Platonic purity of black current fruit through tannins that still very much grip. It’s a serious wine, indeed.Can’t see the video? Please click here.