Jordan Winery: A 2010 Harvest Estate Stay

DSC06300Two weekends back, the Lady and I had the very fortunate experience of a tour, a tasting and an overnight stay at the breath-snatching estate of Jordan Vineyard & Winery (Twitter, WineLog) in Alexander Valley.  Blessed with a perfect harvest weekend of weather, we we able to visit courtesy of Communications Director (and photographer/videographer extraordinaire) Lisa Mattson.  After dropping off the Pug with the parents in Napa, we headed across the valleys in the brilliant morning sunshine.  The weather really was tremendous that weekend, sunny, a few puffy clouds and about 80 degrees at its peak.  I really had no idea what to expect for the next couple of days however, since the Jordan site didn’t really have a whole lot of information about the four suites or homes that were available for overnight visits.

Jordan Vineyard & WineryJordan Winery is a storied name in Alexander Valley, one of the best known areas for Cab in Sonoma County. Mr. Tom Jordan, a petroleum geologist, happened to make a significant amount of money in the 60’s and found the means to pursue another of his passions namely, fine French wines such as Bordeaux.  He spent a few years searching the whole of NorCal to find the perfect conditions for his own new world chateau.  in 1972 he found his ideal in the sleepy Alexander Valley, founding Jordan Vineyard on 275 acres with his wife Sally.  This founders’ day was rather auspicious as their son John Jordan was born the same day, who’s now the CEO! Two years later the winery was founded on a new plot of 1300 acres, nearby.  Not one to skimp on the details, Mr. Jordan hired the legend known as André Tchelistcheff as a consulting winemaker.  He quickly recommended a young scrub fresh out of UC Davis, my alma mater, to begin as the head winemaker for the young winery.  Then twenty-two year old Rob Davis has been the winemaker ever since, allowing Jordan the unusual luxury of all 34 years of their vintages to be contained within a single, jovial brain.

Jordan Estate SuiteJordan Estate SuiteWhile the Lady and I stayed as trade guests, the winery is actually a rather secluded estate with some unusually cool parts to their wine club.  One can only visit the winery by appointment, limited to a small number per day, up to a maximum of 12 guests per appointment.  The wine club is very innovative and works by a points system, almost like a credit card.  Jordan Estate Rewards (reward point levels are currently being re-evaluated and lowerd) points are granted with every purchase and once you save enough points, you can stay overnight at the estate, just like a trade guest. The rooms (and house!) are simply stunning…so much so that when Beth and I entered our suite, I let out an accidental “holy crap!”  It was easily 600+ sq ft, with the most amazing bronze bathtub, for which I will be ever tortured to find and buy for the Lady.  We were happy guests.

Taking in the Dilworth Cab - Jordan WineryClaire Holloway was our host and tour guide for the day and we met her along with two other trade guests from Benny’s Chop House in Chicago.  R Dilworth Vineyard delivery (by Dick, himself) - Jordan WineryWe got a great history lesson about the vineyard and winery underneath the slightly swaying trees, then headed off to the winery, all of which is contained within the original 5800 sq ft winery, built over 9 months back in 1976. Indeed, our rooms were attached to the side of that same building, which we could look up and see when we entered the barrel room.  Rob Davis, Jordan Winery harvest 2010Harvest was in full swing, with Rob and assistant winemakers Ronald Du Preez and Maggie Kruse taking in the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon for the day from grower (and delivery man, apparently) Dick Dillworth.  Dick had a great compliment for Rob, saying “one thing I like about Rob: he’s hands-on. That shows a good winemaker.”  We saw just as much ourselves, especially during a very interesting and long chat with Rob while we relaxed on the expansive patio in the evening sunshine after the tour.  He had all of the vineyard maps still in his pocket from his early morning visits, many hours previous.  Despite this hands-on approach, all of the staff were more than happy to stop their activities and talk with us about their work and answer my copious questions.  It was a very unique experience…we’re usually kept far away from the working winery during the craziness of harvest.

Jordan Winery barrel roomFollowing a barrel room tour (hello up there, room!), we headed back into the inner part of the winery for sit down tasting and amuse-bouche pairing, courtesy of estate Executive Chef, Todd Knoll.  After examining the many finds in the sitting room, we headed through a secret door (seriously!) into the wine cellar to taste the vino.  Jordan makes only a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon each year, preferring the perfect the fruit and resulting wines continuously each year, rather than branch out with a number of different wines.  We tasted the latest releases, the ’08 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and the ’06 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  In addition, we were able to try a back vintage just now coming into its own, the ’03 Alexander Valley Cab.

All of the wines displayed a very distinct house style of elegance, balance and restrained power.  These were not huge California wines, but had more of an Old World beauty to them, yet still contained ample fruit to counter the fine tannin and juicy acidity and minerality that I tasted.  The ’08 Chardonnay was particularly good, forcing me to slap a AwesomeWK badge on it and proclaim amazing.  It was filled with great citrus fruit and acidity, slight cream and a very cool salty finish; I loved this wine.  To my relief and excitement, these wines are also very reasonably priced for their quality: $29 for the Chard and $52 for the Cab, upon release.

The rest of the evening and night was filled with relaxation, good wine courtesy of our new friends from Chicago in the Jordan guest house and an outstanding meal in downtown Healdsburg at Barndiva (recommended by Jordan security wiz, Rob).  The locavore menu there features a number of tasty and innovative dishes alongside some outstanding service.  They’re wine list is very reasonable with pricing and featured quite a few tasty selections that I wish I’d had more time to explore.  We enjoyed a very interesting sparkler from German house Solter (called a Sekt) and a not so memorable bottle of bubbly from Iron Horse Vineyard. Check out a video of our delicious peacefulness that evening, below!

[flickrvideo]http://www.flickr.com/photos/drxeno/5112999705/in/set-72157625111232415/[/flickrvideo]

A very big thank you must go out to Lisa, Claire, Rob, Todd and all of the wonderful staff at Jordan.  Their hospitality was very generous and the tour was one of the best and most educational experiences that I’ve yet had a winery.  All of the pictures and videos from our visit are found on my Flickr.  The wines from that weekend have been tagged with “JordanEstate2010” so that you can list them in your own WineLog.  Some of these wines even grabbed a vaunted WKBadge.  Cheers!

Jordan Vineyard & Winery:

#WKBadges - AwesomeWKJordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2008

Color: Medium gold, very clear

Nose: Great lemon zest, with an underlay of slightest brioche, slight salt and a more minor citrus to add complexity.

Palate: Zesty and yet very silky mouthfeel. A wonderful lasting finish, with some great minerality and more of that light salt. Extremely good.

#WKBadges - OldWorldWKJordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Color: medium garnet, garnet edges

Nose: Juicy black cherry, fresh anise, cardamon, earth, wet, savory herbs. Wonderful complexity, along with slight new leather on the rim.

Palate: Medium full, with wonderful power-silk tannins, great acidity. Black and Bing cherry, alongside darkest chocolate. Anise here but more dried, raspberry and chocolate, dried blackberry, good long and smooth finish.

Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Barndiva:

#WKBadges - QPRWKSolter Rheingeau Spätburgunder Sekt Brut Rosé NV

Color: Golden, with a very fine bead and robust mousse

Nose: Very raisined, with some slight brighter citrus trying to poke through, but the fruit tastes like it was picked way too late.

Palate: Very overripe, with middling acidity and dried lemon and white raisins.  Unsure if this was actually a bad bottle, just tastes like very overripe fruit.

Iron Horse Green Valley Estate Bottled Wedding Cuvee 2004

Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and former Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include wine...like virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at WineLog.net". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

10 Comments

  1. World Spinner
    October 28, 2010

    Vinopanion | Blog | Jordan Winery: A 2010 Harvest Estate Stay…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

    Reply
  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ward Kadel – @drXeNo, Jordan Winery. Jordan Winery said: Great post. So glad you enjoyed it. RT @drXeNo: A stay at @JordanWinery: Elegant #wine & relaxation during #Harvest http://bit.ly/aeibex […]

    Reply
  3. The Beer Wench
    October 28, 2010

    Being a self-proclaimed lover of Old World wine (and OW styles), these wines definitely peak my interest! I am shocked, yet extremely impressed to learn that the winemaker is a mere 22 years old. It is a true testament that age and experience has nothing to do with talent and ability (although, experience surely does help). I wonder how the rest of harvest is going for Jordan. Do you know if they have all their fruit in? How does this year’s vintage of cab look?

    Thanks again for a glimpse into the lavish world of Jordan! You rock!

    Cheers,

    Ashley

    Reply
  4. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    October 28, 2010

    Hey Ashley, thanks for the comment! Rob, though he may wish I didn’t say this heh, was actually 22 when he started at Jordan, back at the beginning of the winery and his career. The cool thing about this is that he personally has handled every single vintage for Jordan, greatly helping their ability to perfect the winegrowing and making from their vineyards these past 3+ decades. Cheers!

    Reply
  5. […] Vinopanion | Blog | Jordan Winery: A 2010 Harvest Estate Stay […]

    Reply
  6. Yutaka Saito
    October 31, 2010

    Hellow!

    I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.

    I have added your site to my site.

    Please link my site to your site.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Ron Tedwater
    November 12, 2010

    Really nice post,thank you

    Reply
  8. Lynn
    November 19, 2010

    I enjoy reading about great wine country adventures and yours certainly sounds like a stellar one. I met Videographer Lisa at a conference this fall and also enjoyed Jordan Wines, especially the 2008 RR Valley Chard (coming from one not that fond of Chardonnay). Lisa mentioned the four suites- thanks for sharing your pics. I’m definitely putting this, and a visit to Barndiva on my to do list for this winter! If you’re interested in a short trip to a central coast winery, I recommend one I recently wrote about on my blog.

    Reply
    1. Krystyna
      March 24, 2012

      – Tim, i’ve been following you since I saw you on the Creative Live gthniy with Jasmine Star. 🙂 Anyway, I really loved reading this post. I totally feel the same way! Life is too short to just sit back and never do anything. I just returned from shooting my first destination’ wedding in Las Vegas. I almost turned it down because I didn’t believe I was good enough and could handle it. But I thought what the heck and took it anyway and had an absolute blast. Life is what you make it. I’m excited to see where your next trip takes you. :)ChristyOctober 3, 2011 7:29 pm

      Reply
  9. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    December 03, 2010

    Hello Lynn,

    Thank you for checking out the post and for the comment. Yes, Lisa is a tremendous person and artistic talent. I actually finally met her in person at this year’s North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference (WBC10). Was that the conference that you were referencing?
    I’m checking out your blog as well, thanks for the tip. Cheers!

    Reply

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