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Jordan Winery: World Class


The New Estate Tour And Tasting Experience Is Not To Be Missed

By Denman Moody
Author, The Advanced Oenophile

While I was travel aide to Lloyd Bentsen on his winning campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1970, Tom Jordan, who is just a couple of years my senior, was already a mega-successful Denver oil man with the idea in his mind to purchase a great chateau in Bordeaux. A taste of the 1968 B.V. Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley at a restaurant in San Francisco set him on a new path.

Eschewing Napa Valley, but not getting too far from there, Jordan, a geologist, found exactly what he wanted in the Alexander Valley near Healdsburg in Sonoma County. There he purchased a 275-acre prune orchard and hired the winemaker at B.V (the late, unrivaled Andre Tchelistcheff, with a very young Rob Davis as his assistant).

In the mid to late ’70s, a great majority of all California wines, enjoyed even by oenophiles, were the jug wines.  Actually, they were pretty good compared to cheap wines from other countries. But most oenophiles from outside California primarily drank French wines when dining out.

At many fine restaurants, the waiter would say with a slight sneer, “Would you like a domestic wine” or with a beaming smile, “or one our French wine selections”? What could one say, especially since the main wines known in the U.S. those days were jug wines like Almaden Mountain Rhine Wine, Gallo Chablis and Gallo Hearty Burgundy. I remember my favorite white wine in the early ’70s was Charles Krug Chenin Blanc at around $2.99 a bottle.

As for my small part in changing this scenario, I wrote and spoke about the ’76 and ’78 Jordan Cabernets, and turned numerous skeptics onto the ’76 with bottle in hand. Many thought it was the best red wine they had ever tasted! Jordan then added a Chardonnay in 1980, which, since 2002, has carried the impressive Russian River Valley designation.

Several years ago, Tom turned the operations over to his son John, who has just launched a new Estate Tour and Tasting Experience. For the first time, the glory and wonder of the now 1,200 gorgeous acres can be viewed along with wine and food pairings. More than 75 percent of the estate is dedicated to natural habitat, with ducks and geese in and around the lakes, and rabbits, deer, wild turkeys and an occasional fox or coyote giving a fleeting glimpse throughout the rolling hills. Jordan has actually become a working ranch, with chickens, cattle, bees for honey and gardens for flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Touring will be in a luxury vehicle customized specifically for this purpose.  Some of the stops include walking through the gardens, stopping at one of the lakes for a glass of Chardonnay and a perfect matching snack, exploring the vineyards (110 acres of vines) and getting a short lesson on viticulture, and resting atop a 650-feet-elevation hill in a newly designed and built glass pavilion with two treats: 360-degree views of the Mayacamas and Vacas mountain ranges and two Cabernets with more matching snacks from the Jordan kitchen.

The event will start at 10 a.m. with coffee and a light breakfast at the winery, and end up around 1 p.m. Cost is $120 per person, and reservations may be made at jordanwinery.com/visit.

At this juncture, I would include Jordan Winery as one of the top wineries in the world, when including as criteria for such an honor: vastness of estate property; rustic, native charm of the natural habitat; panoramic views; beauty, elegance and sparkling cleanliness of the winery; food pairings with the wines and finally, superb quality, availability and value of the wines.  There is literally nothing else that is comparable!

Denman Moody (left) and wine maker Rob Davis at the Jordan Winery, which now has close to 40 vintages.

Denman Moody (left) and wine maker Rob Davis at the Jordan Winery, which now has close to 40 vintages.

The beautiful grounds of the Jordan Winery are a perfect site for wine tasting.

The beautiful grounds of the Jordan Winery are a perfect site for wine tasting.

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