A visit to Jordan Winery

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Jordan Winery offers two distinctly different tours and both are fabulous – it all depends on how much time you have. Even though the winery is located in the Alexander Valley, the estate does well at showcasing the best of what the county has to offer; from the wines, to the local, organic produce, not to mention the 360-degree views of three appellations you’ll get if you do the Estate tour. As John Jordan, CEO, told me, “You can experience Sonoma County in three hours here at Jordan.”

Here were my highlights:

  • The chateau building is beautiful and depending on the season you’ll see it covered in green, yellow or red vines. On the winery tour you’ll get to see inside some of the rooms – including a secret wall that opens into a private tasting room.
  • The wines! (Jordan makes only two wines; Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon). The Chardonnay is more of a Chablis style with a touch of oak. The Cabernets are blended with other Bordeaux varietals, usually Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, depending on the vintage, although all are labeled Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • If you do the Estate tour, you’ll see that the property is extensive. There are 1,200 acres complete with lakes, mini donkeys, Texas long horn cattle, a chicken coop, solar panels and an olive grove. You’ll also see three appellations from on top of the mountain at Vista Point.
  • Jayson, our guide on the winery tour was high energy, knowledgeable and really presented the Jordan story in a fun and delightful way. The staff we met were certainly a big part of the experience.

Another interesting point is the winemaker, Rob Davis has been with Jordan for 38 years, probably one of the longest track records of a winemaker at any winery in the area. Rob was hired by the legendary André Tchelistcheff, who was the consulting winemaker for Jordan Estate when they first started in the 1970s.

Food is a big aspect and each of the wines are served with interesting and innovative pairings designed by their California Culinary Academy trained chef, Todd Knoll. The emphasis here is on garden fresh vegetables and organic local meats.

There is no pressure to buy here, John Jordan told me they are in the business of building brand ambassadors, and it is not about simply selling wine. “We take hospitality, and parties, seriously,” he said.

Winery Tour & Library Tasting

Jayson did a fantastic job of taking us through the winery and cask room, followed by a tasting in the chateau library.  I don’t want to ruin your surprise, but there is even a secret panel that opens up into a private dining room where we did the tasting. Starting with a glass of Chardonnay paired with split pea puree & bite of Maine lobster, and ending with two glasses of Cabernet paired with beef and cheeses, this was a great tour from start to finish – and excellent value for money.  We walked away with a fantastic first impression of the winery in only 1.5 hours.

Estate Tour & Tasting

This is more of a substantial chunk into your day (3 hour tour), but for the lovers of Jordan – or those that love food, this is a fabulous tour that includes a walk through the organic vegetable & herb garden, plus plenty of animal viewing opportunities and food & wine pairings at two different stops along the way.  You can expect pastries and coffee when you first arrive.  They have a luxury Mercedes van that takes you around the estate in style (and air conditioning, as it is often hot here).  Mid way through you’ll have a pairing with Chardonnay at the lake. We had a spiced garden escabeche with Nigiri of seasonal fruit and olive oil. We ventured around the estate (much of which is natural and not planted with vines) as Lisa our guide explained the family history and winemaking. The highlight was going up the hill to Vista Point, a building with windows that open out to reveal a 360-degree view.   We tasted two Cabernets (2002 & 2010) paired with Miso-glazed and smoked Sonoma lamb with Maitake mushrooms & braised endive – plus a selection of Sonoma & European cheeses. The views of all three valleys (Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley) are extraordinary.

Expert tips:

  • The Estate tour would be a great intro to Sonoma County for those new to the region.
  • Tours are limited to 12 people. Reservations are necessary.
  • Neither of the tours are designed as a lunch. Those with bigger appetites might want to grab lunch either before or after your tour.
  • Wear flat shoes on the Estate tour. You will be walking through the vegetable garden and other uneven surfaces.
  • Advise the winery if you have food allergies ahead of time.
  • There is a Reward Club (no wine club) where you can accrue points to use on experiences such as a harvest lunch and stays in the guest rooms at the chateau.

WineryCritic Ratings

9/10 Overall visitor experience

10/10 Knowledge of guide

9/10 Location

10/10 Architecture and design, landscaping

9/10 Other experiences

10/10 Friendliness of staff

9/10 Signage & ease of access

9/10 Quality of the wines poured

9/10 Value for money

Appointment required: Yes

Address: 1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448

www.jordanwinery.com

Tasting fees & experiences:

  • $30 per person – Library Tasting: featuring Jordan wines and estate olive oil with food pairings by our chef. Choose from several times per day.
  • $40 per person – Winery Tour & Library Tasting: walking tour of the chateau and seated tasting including hors d’oeuvre pairings, olive oil and more. Mon – Sat at 11am.
  • $120 per person – Estate Tour & Tasting: Savor Jordan wines, olive oil and our chef’s cuisine. Thurs – Monday at 9:45am.

Hours 10:00 am – 5:00 pm by appointment only.

Good for:  Cabernet lovers, foodies, animal lovers

Wines produced:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

What’s nearby:  Jimtown Store, Hawkes Wine, Medlock Ames, Clos du Bois Winery

District/Appellation: Alexander Valley

Contact for appointments:  Call 800.654.1213 or visit their website

Date of visit: June 11 & August 11, 2014

Email: mindy@winerycritic.com

Have you been to Jordan Winery? What was your experience? Please post below.