Celebrating 40 Years of Jordan Winery

May 8th, 2012


I’ve become so accustomed to getting evites that when a physical invitation arrived in the mail from Jordan Winery announcing their 40th anniversary celebration it immediately raised my expectations. And, when the invitation came in an elegant box like the one sent by the team at Jordan Winery for not one but two events, a luncheon and tasting retrospective of 40 years of Jordan, as well as a party that night – the anticipation was heightened all the more.

Los Angeles was the third stop in the four cities ‘tour’ – San Francisco, Miami and Dallas were the other destinations – with the chic London Hotel in West Hollywood the site of the LA festivities.

The 40- year tasting event was called for 11 a.m. Our places had been set around the tables set in a large horseshoe with 10 glasses of tastes already poured. Half of the glasses sported clear covers over the tops to protect the older wines from becoming too aerated. The hues of the wines from deep apricot to deep red represented wines from 1976 to 2006.

After a short introduction and welcome from John Jordan, who took over his family’s winery in 2005, we were treated to a tour of the wines by winemaker Ron Davis who has been at Jordan since the very beginning. He’s knowledgeable and charming as he weaves stories from the early years in with information about the vineyards, the various details of each vintage and the types of grapes now grown at the winery (a great map has been given to us in our press packet).

John Jordan had generously added wines from his personal cellar to allow us to taste Jordan wine from some of the earliest vintages that no longer exist in the winery’s library. I had very low expectations for the early wines but the 1977 was an absolute WOW moment. This was a delicious example of a well aged Cabernet made in the style that I loved when I was first introduced to California Cabs back in those first years living in NYC after college and working at Windows on the World.

The Jordan style is to make beautifully balanced low alcohol wines and everyone agreed they are aging really well. Other notable years (and quite unexpected) were 1981 and 1990.

As a tip of the hat to the influence of Bordeaux in these wines, the 2006 Jordan (the final wine) came right after the 2006 Ducru Beaucaillou (also a treat). A fan of that particular winery in Bordeaux, I found myself admitting that I enjoyed the Jordan ’06 more.

My personal favorite of the ten? The 2001 Jordan Cabernet with 25% Merlot.

Lisa Mattson, Marketing Director for Jordan, was sitting along side of me during the retrospective tasting so it was great to get a few little side notes thrown in here and there including the fact that there is so little of these older vintages that each city’s participants actually tasted different wines.

On to the restaurant for lunch. Gordon Ramsay’s at The London is a beautiful room with great views from the windows.

We were introduced to the theme of the luncheon – comparing Jordan Chardonnay’s with white Burgundies. What fun! I’ve come to really respect this effort at Jordan to be a ‘player’ in the under $30 Chardonnay category and they are winning with this strategy. The wine feels very special and yet not too precious. Everyone was in a great mood from the tasting – and hungry – so we dove into the delicious thick sliced country bread with warm butter and salt while we perused the menu.

Our mouths were watering as we sipped on 2010 Jordan Chardonnay to pair with the Kingfish crudo with petit vegetables, fois gras and yuzu mayonnaise. Beautifully executed.

The Roasted Striped Bass with Truffled Potatoes was moist and paired well with the ’08 Jordan Chardonnay and the 2009 Pierre-Yves-Colin-Morey Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru. The Jordan wine might be picked in a blind tasting to find a white burgundy it is so similar in mouth feel and taste.

The 2009 Jordan Chardonnay Russian River Valley paired beautifully with the cheese course but I must admit I went back to the 2010 that I loved with this plate.The guests went home smiling, satiated and feeling spoiled on this gray April day. Happy to be part of the Jordan family.

Later that evening, we returned to The London for the rooftop gala. John Jordan went to school in Los Angeles so this was a bit of a homecoming for him and he certainly did it in style. Friends, family, wine club members, trade and media – and some notable celebrities indulged in the Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay. Short glittery dresses and long legs, a cigar smoking lounge, band and light hors d’oeuvres passed through the crowd of several hundred. The lit up Jordan sign against the pool wall (see picture above) tastefully shining brightly in the cool evening felt like a constant fireworks display.

It takes a great team at a winery to pull off a day like this – and imagine doing it four times! John Jordan and Lisa Mattson are certainly to be commended along with the rest of their team for knowing their wine and making it shine.

If this is 40 years – I hope I’m invited to the 50th! Raising our glass to the Jordan family – for a good 40 more!

Editor’s Note: To purchase Jordan Wines go to http://www.jordanwinery.com/wines or http://www.winesearcher.com. For more info about the 40th Anniversary Celebration go to http://jordanwinery.com/40.
Disclosure: The writer of this story was a guest at all events mentioned and has sampled wines sent to Women & Wine from Jordan Winery.

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