Revana Vineyards

Add together an exclusive piece of land in St. Helena, a super star vineyard manager, and two legendary winemakers, and what do you have? You have Revana Vineyards, makers of world class Cabernets.

In 1997, Dr. Madaiah Revana, on a trip to Napa, came across a patch of land up for sale in St. Helena. Already knowing that this was a region of creating some of the top wines in the world, he bought it and sought out to hire the best team to make the wines that would be considered first class. It didn’t take him very long to find the rockstar vineyard m anager Jim Barbour who’s portfolio already included such mega names as Grace Family, Hundred Acre, Checkerboard, etc. Shortly after, he assembled the next piece of the rockstar lineup by getting acclaimed Heidi Barrett (Screaming Eagle, La Sirena, Lamborn, etc.) as his winemaker. With Heidi Barrett leading the way, Revana went on to make world-class wines, even catching the Wine Spectator’s #4 spot in the top 100 wines of 2010. In the year of 2011, following the departure of Heidi Barrett, Dr. Revana brought on board another heavy hitter winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown (Schrader, Pulido Walker, Round Pound, Chiarello, etc.) to take the wines to the next level.

We were fortunate enough to get a tasting reservation, which in itself, was already a task and were prompted greeted by Lionel as we made our way through the gate. We sat down in the small but cozy tasting room and were immediately treated to the wines. It should be noted that we were here for a tasting and not a full tour.

Revana 2013 “Carneros” Chardonnay

While relatively a new project, and only two vintages up to date, it is said that this will be the last vintage. Nonetheless, it was a worthy experiment, the Chardonnay was beautiful, featuring notes of green apple, white flowers, bright citrus and crushed/clean minerality. We gave this a 90/100 points at $45/bottle

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Quixote Winery

If you take a look at the label on any of the Quixote wines, its definitely an out of the ordinary design that doesn’t flow with the prestige of Napa labels. However, don’t let the label fool you, because underneath that quirky label lies some world class wine with an all-star line up of a team.

We were fortunate enough to have an inside connection with Mike and visited the winery. Staying true to the theme of “out of the ordinary,” Quixote was not an easy place to locate. Although situated right next to the world famous Shafer, the road to Quixote was no simple drive considering it took us deep into the hills and even at the destination, the winery was hidden among the brush.

(Entrance to Quixote winery)

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Most likely you’ve driven by it on the way to some famous winery along the 29, or perhaps you’ve seen the name somewhere, but how many people actually make a stop to Cardinale? The plain roadside sign of big block letters with no winery in sight has more often than not, led people to bypass what has been a premium wine destination.

For us, we have had Chris Carpenter’s wines before, mainly the ever so famous Lokoya that has been getting acclaim, but never had the chance to consider other wines in his portfolio. After an invite from Cardinale, we took it upon ourselves to try some world-class wines under Chris’ already impressive portfolio of wine.

ituated in Oakville, a short drive up a road and hill led us to a very secluded, serene, and beautiful destination of Cardinale. Walking inside the winery, we immediately noticed how pristine everything was situated, it gave an aura of prestige and impressiveness, needless to say, we felt like this would be quite an amazing tasting.

We were introduced to Mollie (our host), who promptly poured us a glass of the 2012 Cardinale Intrada Sauvignon Blanc

Cardinale 2012 “Intrada” Sauvignon Blanc
Aromatic and fresh nose with bright citrus notes and florals. The palate is clean and bright, featuring zesty notes of grapefruit and lime, with richness of pear and stone fruits featuring a creamy finish. We gave this a 89/100 points at $43

As we sipped on the Intrada, Mollie gave us the run-down on Cardinale. Part of the Mt. Brave, La Jota, Lokoya family, Cardinale was on the higher end of these families with its flagship being the yearly red blend, kind of like Opus One. One thing that Molly was proud to tell us was that the Cardinale’s blend has always been only and nothing but mountain fruit, with the blends consisting of Howell Mountain, Mt Veeder, Diamond Mountain, Spring Mountain and St. Helena. Yes, that meant all the fruit grown on the Estate, none of it has ever gone into the Cardinale blend. Quite an interesting idea to look at, considering they were sitting in the middle of beautiful Oakville but used none of its famous fruit.

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