My Jordan Journey: 2008 Chardonnay and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
It seems like only yesterday, tho it was more than a few moons ago, I was given an invitation to experience my own "Jordan Journey." I was glad to accept their gracious invitation to join them for what amounted to a fun-filled and informative day of tasting and touring.
While many writers may want to fill your head with cliched marketing accounts of "dappled sunlight pouring through the olive trees" and other flowery phrases like "traipsing through vineyards on a misty morning." But what you'll get are some honest commentary of what makes the wines of Jordan distinctive and a wonderful to imbibe upon and a wonderful place to stay overnight (if you've got the points) or to just visit the next time you find yourself 'jonesing' for some plush vino to fill your cellar. Filed under just-saying; before you just show up on their porch for a tasting, make sure you have an appointment.
Stay-Over Info: Regarding the lodging, I mentioned above; it's strictly available to the press, trade, and members of Jordan Estate Rewards club. For every dollar spent at Jordan, members earn points, which they can redeem for an "overnight" stay in the suites. This is the only way a consumer can reserve rooms in this idyllic location. The other option is to buy an "overnight" stay at one the charity-auctions Jordan's participates in from time to time. If you have an opportunity to purchase a "stayover" at an auction or have enough "points," I would highly recommend doing so.
This winery is in a word, "winetastic" a made-up word perhaps, none-the-less Jordan is as picturesque as any winery could ever hope to be, the build is loosely based on a traditional French chateau, driving up the brilliant tree lined drive way, this place iconically says first-class all the way. Jordan to me represents the iconic winery; I believe we all think of when we here the word winery.
This working-winery really does have it all; from wild turkeys strolling through the olive groves and yes, they do press their own. A beautiful lake teaming with fish underneath its calm exterior and abundance of water-fowl cruising upon the surface and a large organic garden from which their executive chef prepares many of the tasty dishes you'll find available on the menu.
The buildings are covered in enough ivy to make an ivy-leaguer recall their school daze and the inviting meticulous grounds ushering folks to their private [reservations required] tasting in the James Bond-style hidden tasting room behind the bookcase in the library which just may conjure up memories of playing the board game "Clue" [watch out for the candle-stick].
Okay, I think I've covered it all reservation-required tastings, on-premise over-night accommodations, and restaurant, estate bottled olive oil [yum], secret tasting parlor, iconic-locale, Bordeaux inspired Alexander Valley red wines and white Burgundy styled-chardonnay and fab-folks who do their best to make your own "Jordan-Journey" everything you hope it will be. Without any further blabbing or droning on and on here, this is perhaps the moment you've all been waiting for, the review of the wines I tasted the day I was there and just a tip to the budget conscious among you, their Chardonnay and their Cabernet Sauvignon are both available at your local Costco presently for just a bit more than a few dollars less their advertised online or tasting room price.
2008 Jordan RRV Chardonnay: I think these few facts here are important to take note of; that this wine underwent only 28% malolactic fermentation which helped the wine maintain its bright acidity. Then the wine was then aged in 100% French oak [55% new] for 4.5 months before being bottled in June of 2009. The time not accounted for I can only assume was spent in a stainless steel tank. This process is best described by John Jordan himself, who I quote "We [Jordan] make California Chardonnay, but it's not a California Style Chardonnay." Meaning this is not your typical Chateau Two-by-Four style of Chardonnay.
Older Vintages: Hey folks if you're reading this before you arrive for a tasting or before you place an order, may I recommend getting one of their older Chardonnays they still have a few of the 2006, which should be drinking pretty fab at the moment. I've been drinking through a cache of 2004 Carneros Chard's [I scored on close-out] which were just FAB.
Tasting Note: After the first swish about in the mouth, my first thought, wow this is a delicious example of California wine made in a Burgundian style [no kidding the first thing I wrote down]. I also had one of these wonderful wines in my deluxe room on chill, where I had the opportunity to sample it a few more times. In the glass a golden hay colored core, displaying wonderful brightness. In the nose green apples and just a hint of citrus and some flinty minerality. This wine straddles the fence wonderfully; giving both richness, with a nice brush stroke of steel, point and counterpoint through out. The refreshingly giving acidity, balances out the apple and pear fruit which are abundant, but do-not dominate this creamy 100% Chardonnay. This wine to exemplifies the balance I've spoken so much about, but can only be understood after giving this wine a go for yourself. I gave this wine 93 points and it sells for about $29, well worth the price of admission. This wine is drinking pretty fab at the moment, but with a few more years in the bottle it will be even better, perfecto.
2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon: In answering the question, "what is in it" it's import to note that this wine is a typical [left-bank] Bordeaux style blend consisting of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19.5% Merlot, 4.5% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec. This wine a short 12 months in a mixed oak barrel of 66% French oak and 34% American oak barrels of which 33% were new, the wine was then aged an additional two years in bottle before being released to the wine quaffing public in 2008. This formula is done for a reason and that reason is to elicit a certain style of wine that is low in ABV [13.5%] and whose flavors profiles favor finesse over hedonism or more bottle aging [24 months] versus less barrel aging [12 months].
Tasting Note: In the glass a shimmering ruby colored core full of refinement. After putting my big fat sniffer up to the glass, wonderful aromas that were spicy dark fruits, leathery, some charred wood and hints of vanilla. Upon splash down, it was soft, but elegantly layered with black currants, dark cherries, cocoa-dust and black licorice, with a nice side of acidity on the palate, leading to the plush lingering finish. I scored this wine 90 points and it sells about $52 [ouch] most places, but shop around for the best price. This wine is drinking very nicely right now and in my opinion is in the drink now and drink often point in its life.
2003 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon: Another wine made in the left-bank Bordeaux style; with the blend consisting of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Their Barrel aging regiment followed the familiar path of the 2006 CS described above, by spending a short 12 months in 68% French oak and 32% American oak barrels and taking a slightly different twist of 3 months in American oak tanks before being bottled in July of 2005, to spend another 17 months in bottle before being released to the wine-thirsty hordes and sporting an Napa-Cab low ABV of 13.5%.
Tasting Note: This wine had been decanted a full 90 minutes before the arrival of the tasting crew [I would recommend you do the same]. In the glass, a wonderful ruby colored core, leaning toward a brick-ish rim. On the sniffy-sniff there's an abundant [pronounced] bouquet of floral aromas, leather, and dried dark fruits. On the first slurp through, this wine is lean in primary fruit; but still showcasing blackberries, cherries, cola and a drop of carob. Floating on a sea of well integrated tannins, leading to a nice finish. This wine is drinking nice now and like the 2006 I would say it's time to uncork, quaff and enjoy, so get to it. I scored this wine 89 points and like the 2006 it sells for a whopping $59 on their website, a full $20 more than the price I was quoted when I was there last fall [ouch]. I'm pretty sure Costco has their Cab for somewhere in the neighborhood of under $40, but don't hold me to it.
Full Disclosure: Thanks to the generosity of Jordan Winery and their continuing commitment to stretching the boundaries of what many consider traditional-media and exploring the advantageous path to the New-Media [Blogs] my tasting fees and over-night stay were comped as a member of the press.