I’ve been ‘Jordanized’.
It’s quite clear Jordan Winery knows what it’s doing. The attention to detail at this trade tasting and tour was apparent from start to finish – from the moment I stepped out of the car and was transported to a French chateau, to the walkabout tour with Chardonnay tasting paired with plated treats enroute, to the final sit down tasting of the two Cabernet Sauvignons in the venerable library; the entire afternoon was exceptional.
Claire was our peerless guide and interpretor; her knowledge and delivery that of a consummate professional. Completely solar panelled and capable of ‘living off the grid’, Jordan Winery has everything from a full time gardener, chef and sous chef amongst their 60 or so full time employees working at the 58,000 sq. foot working winery founded in 1972. To the credit of their founders, they decided against trying to be something to everyone and instead took two varietals and pledged to do them very very well.
They’ve gone Burgundian with their wines; crisp, clean and elegant, all aged for at least some time in French Oak. Crafted by winemaker Rod Davis, with the Jordan family since 1976, the 2010 Chardonnay fruit is sourced from five longtime Russian River Valley growers and aged sur lies – a pale gold glass full of pomelo with Bartlett and Asian pears. We enjoyed it alongside a spoonful of cauliflower puree with saffron and caviar – the briny caviar eggs popping against the citrus and stone fruit of the wine.
Following a walk through the winery and the 4,000 barrel storage area, we ended up in the wood-panelled library for the remaining wines. The cheeses chosen for pairing were thoughtful; an Ossau-Iraty (one of only two French cheeses granted AOC status), Beemster’s classic Dutch gouda and the piece de resistance a triple cream cheese to die for from just down the road at San Francisco’s Cowgirl Creamery called ‘Mount Tam’. Add in some quince paste, crusty bread, a cranberry and pistachio crostini (beautiful with the 2008 CS) and a chive blade and it was hard to wait until the wines were poured.
The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Alexander Valley and a deft blending of 81% Cab Sav along with 15% Merlot plus some Cabernet France and Petit Verdot. At 13.5% abv, it is full of black cherry, Damson plum and cassis, medium plus ruby and only the slightest of grippy tannins indicating while it’s very drinkable, it can be kept for another 3-5 years.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon had 5% Petit Verdot blended in (along with some Merlot) giving it a more floral profile of violets and rose petal. The tannins were slightly softer and the fruit brighter, featuring cranberry and black currant.
This was an exceptional experience. The attention to detail by everyone involved in the tasting experience and the crafting of the wines was outstanding. It’s going to be challenging to have future tastings measure up. Now for the next challenge – Jordanize British Columbia.