HEALDSBURG, CA—According to winery owner John Jordan, the French tradition of hosting an annual harvest luncheon for staff, friends, and neighbors goes back at least a "couple of hundred years". In fact, there's a lot about this iconic Alexander Valley winery that hearkens back to old-world France.
With its classic carmine doors and shutters, the château serves as a visual metaphor for the Jordan winemaking philosophy, which in the French tradition emphasizes balance, elegance, and food affinity. It is by design that Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays grace the wine lists of many top restaurants.
On Friday Oct. 9, 2015, having the chance to sample 3 top Jordan wines, along with a grand buffet of heavenly platters prepared by their executive chef, was too great of a temptation. I locked up the office and sped north to Alexander Valley — to luxuriate.
AN AMAZING LUNCH—
Jordan Vineyard & Winery is an authentic estate experience. Hanging out at this lovely property is a true breath of fresh air. If true elegance is on your menu, then this is one Sonoma County winery for your bucket list. As is detailed in the current edition of The California Directory of Fine Wineries, this is the holly grail for many California wine country visitors. They have marvelous tours, spectacular scenery, and equally spectacular wines. Here's a visual jaunt through several amazing items on the lunch buffet:
THE WINES TASTED— (My notes)
2013 Jordan Chardonnay - Russian River Valley - Sonoma County (Retail: $30)
Classic Russian River fruit at its best.
"Exceptional moderate acidity makes this a foodies go-to wine. Perfect celebratory beverage. Beautiful. Smooth finish. I loved it." —TS
2008 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Showcases the delicacy of the vintage.
"A heady kiss from this wine's lush bouquet. Delicious from first sip to last. Balanced and elegant. Gentle tannins. Ready to drink right now. Jordan winemaker Rob Davis says drink between 5-8 years and I agree. Jordan has produced a superb wine in what was a difficult year... So good by itself that I didn't want to eat my chocolate mousse until I finished the last drop!" —TS
2011 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Extraordinary fruit from Jordan's incredibly gifted growers in what was another difficult year.
"Also ready to drink. The ultimate 'silky mouth feel'. Balanced and elegant. Feminine. Soft with a surprise: a touch of spice at the finish... another superb effort. Bravo winemaker Rob Davis!" —TS
You too can make an appointment to enjoy the Jordan estate. Of course, if you're short on time, you'll certainly want to set up a reservation for their Winery Tour and Library Tasting which is available daily year-round. But, if you're not in a rush, (and you shouldn't be if you're on holiday in this magnificent part of California) here's how I recommend you maximize your visit—
On the splurge-worthy Estate Tour and Tasting, (Thursday-Monday mid-April to mid-November) participants sample fine pastries and briefly visit the winery before a Mercedes coach whisks them to an organic garden on the nearly 1,200-acre estate to view and taste the impressive produce. A lakeside oak grove is the setting for Chardonnays and light morsels, and a hilltop vista point provides an appropriately dramatic venue for tasting a current and a library Canernet Sauvignon, matched with cheese and a small meat or vegetarian dish. John Jordan himself often joins the three-hour excursion at the vista point, further enhancing the impression that one has been welcomed onto an exclusive country estate.
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