Resort to Wine

High desert ranch partners with Lange

By Mark Stock

The Brasada Ranch in Central Oregon now boasts a custom wine to its name, one that most Oregonians likely know: Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards. The Dundee Hills’ mainstay now makes a Pinot Noir specifically for the resort, fit with a special label and blended accordingly.

The first vintage of the partnership is 2017, a wine that’s currently on Brasada’s list. The next installment, from the buzzed-about 2018 Willamette Valley vintage, will join the fray soon. The small-production Pinot Noir is a curated blend of lots from the 85 various blocks from which Lange harvests.

Winemaker Jesse Lange says the union between his label and the lodge came about rather organically. That’s easy to believe given the Lange family’s deep-seated love for the outdoors, something it wears on its winery sleeves — all you have to do is look at Lange’s fly-fishing-themed labels to get a sense of the connection.

“I had met with the wine and culinary team many years ago, and their keen interest in fine wines from the Willamette Valley sparked a conversation about the panoply of different Pinot Noirs residing in our barrels,” Lange says. “It’s Willamette Valley appellated and selected for the fine palates of the high desert!”

Brasada opened in 2008 and rests atop 1,800 scenic acres of high desert, about 15 miles outside of Bend. But its beginnings were much different than its current state. The development set out to be a luxury home community and golf club before selling and rebranding a few years later. It spent the subsequent years polishing its aesthetic and becoming more of a destination — one that would offer a lineup of unique and immersive experiences.

Named “Best resort of the Pacific Northwest” by Condé Nast Traveler, Brasada holds a LEED Gold Certification. In addition to a variety of accommodations like cabins and suites, the resort touts an expansive spa and equestrian center. There’s even an estate 18-hole golf course, designed, in part, by pro linksman Peter Jacobsen.

The onsite dining options are many, including year-round restaurants and some smaller, seasonal venues. Claiming views of nine Cascade peaks, the resort’s main eatery, The Ranch House, stresses rustic, Northwest-inspired cuisine. Much the same can be said of the wine list, featuring glass pours from producers like Bergström, Adelsheim, Stoller and R. Stuart.

Current menu items at the restaurant include grilled prawn crostone, house-smoked chicken wings, grilled scallop salad and crispy-skin black cod. Brasada also has a very woodsy-looking general store that vends everything from regional beers and wine, to coffee and snacks.

Wineries, it seems, are taking a lesson from the craft beer realm. Brewers have been doing custom batches for and collaborations with lodging facilities, retailers and restaurants for years. The resort has teamed Bend’s Worthy Brewing for their Brasada Sunset Pale, for example. Wineries followed suit, many making special year-to-year batches for select restaurants that they would then make their own custom “house” wines.

Lange says connections like this offer a certain mutual sense of attachment to place, which is important. “Strengthening the natural bond between the account and the vineyard gets back to placing quality at the fore,” he says.

Part of the experience factor that Brasada and so many other lodging outfits are pushing these days involves immersion. For a custom wine like Lange’s, that means more than simply adding it to the house list. It means introducing a long-standing Oregon winemaking family to resort guests and area wine enthusiasts.

The resort toasted the partnership by hosting a wine-centric weekend of events in early November. The Lange family was on hand, taking part in special dinners, meet-and-greets and a seminar on the history of the label. Guests got a taste of both the wines and the family story, one with fairly deep winemaking roots.

Located in the heart of the Dundee Hills, Lange was founded in 1987 by Don and Wendy Lange. The label, featuring an iconic and very Pacific Northwest salmon fly pattern, continues to be family-run and focuses on Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

“With all the activities that Central Oregon has to offer, along with our shared affection for its natural splendor and commitment to preserving its environment, we have a lot in common,” Lange adds. “We consider playing hard, eating well and drinking well foundational to living well. But please, don’t tell anybody outside of the Great Northwest.”

Skiers and snow revelers with a taste for wine will find plenty to enjoy in the coming months at Brasada. And when the warm weather does finally return, some of the resort’s other draws, like the adults-only pool and bar, will beckon as well. Not that we needed one more excuse to visit one of the state’s most dynamic areas.

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