There were a number of “mountaintop” experiences at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma – but there’s no doubt the pinnacle took place at Jordan. Here’s why…
French Inspiration Takes Root In Sonoma’s Alexander Valley
Jordan Vineyard & Winery is an American success story that sprang forth from a unique vision. Founders Tom and Sally Jordan were inspired by the great wine estates of France and sought to create a Bordeaux-style California Cabernet Sauvignon that is approachable in its youth, but ages gracefully.
Jordan, established in 1972, has succeeded in spades. While other wineries offer dozens of different wines and styles, Jordan has remained focused on producing a singular Alexander Valley Cabernet and singular Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
Jordan also has a long history with sparkling wine, in the past producing “J by Jordan” sparkling wine. The sparkling wine effort grew and moved to its own facility. In 2015, J Vineyards and Winery was sold. Now, through a partnership with Champagne AR Lenoble, a French Champagne house, the winery also offers the sparkling Jordan Cuvée.
Woven through Jordan’s history is the connection between food, wine and hospitality. During the most recent Wine Bloggers Conference, we experienced it firsthand at a special winery dinner.
A Caviar And Wine Surprise
When our bus arrived at the Jordan estate, we were greeted with a glass of Jordan Cuvée – immediately creating a festive mood as we walked into the wine production area where tables had been set.
Five glasses were arrayed on a white placemat with an artistically presented plate of different roe and caviar. We were being treated to a wine and caviar tasting that no one outside the winery had yet experienced!
Jordan has teamed with Tsar Nicoulai Caviar for this unique tasting. The California company makes roe and caviar from farm-raised white sturgeon.
The 2014 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay with its creamy round notes was a spot-on pairing with the golden-orange, slightly spicy Ginger Roe by Tsar Nicoulai. The 2009 vintage is one of our favorites for California Cabernet, so we relished the 2009 Jordan Alexander Cabernet and its pairing with the Tsar Nicoulai Beet and Saffron Roe. Red wine and caviar doesn’t seem like a natural pairing, but the aged and elegant Cabernet blended nicely with the earthy notes of the ruby red roe.
A younger 2012 Jordan Cab provided racy notes and melded nicely with the lush flavor of Italian white truffle of the Tsar Nicoulai Truffle Roe. The grand finale of the caviar tasting was the Brut Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble paired with Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai.
The caviar is made in collaboration with Jordan and is only available through the winery. Jordan’s chef Todd Knoll created a special salt to cure the eggs using salt water and kombu seaweed from the Sonoma Coast. The crisp, golden Cuvée and the Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar were incredibly delicious. We would have stayed there all night, but as the caviar and wine disappeared, we moved to the barrel room.
Jordan’s Embracing Hospitality
Winery owner John Jordan then hosted a magnificent three-course meal in the barrel room. Joining Green Dragon and me were tasting team members Cabernetor and Glorious T, who consider themselves the number one fans of Jordan. Needless to say, we were feeling a touch of euphoria throughout our visit.
The 2015 RRV Chardonnay, aged for six months in 100% new French oak, was served with Abalone and Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil Poached Alaskan Halibut. Chef Todd’s Grilled Mary’s Duck Breast with Olive Oil Confit, Chanterelles and Pomegranate Duck Jus was paired with the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is 75.5% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Petit Verdot and smaller quantities of Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
A cheese course featuring local creameries was served with the stellar 2003 Cabernet from magnums. The wine epitomizes Jordan’s philosophy – fruit-forward wines ready to consume in the near term, but becoming glorious as they age. The ‘03 is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Petit Verdot to contribute added complexity. Ten years after its release date, the tannins have fully integrated allowing appreciation of the soft blueberry and earth flavor notes without distraction.
Jordan wines are superb, and we encourage you to buy them in bountiful numbers. To take it to the next level, start planning you visit to the Jordan estate in Sonoma for an exceptionally rewarding experience with food, wine and hospitality.