Alexander Valley's Grand Cru

Jordan Vineyards and Winery has been producing fine Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the Alexander Valley for over 40 years. Proud of its role in helping to establish the reputation of Sonoma County wine, the winery also sees itself as carrying on winemaking traditions that have been practiced in France for centuries.

In the early 1970s, Tom Jordan dreamed of creating an American equivalent of a French Grand Cru. On orchard land in the Alexander Valley, he planted vineyards and built a chateau-inspired winery and tasting room. He hired a young winemaker named Rob Davis and enlisted the famed enologist Andre Tchelistscheff to consult on winemaking. Production focused exclusively on estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  While not an uncommon story these days, such ambition was rare in the 1970s, when Sonoma County grapes were used more in jug wines than by premium wineries. However, almost overnight Jordan set a new standard for Sonoma wine. Inspired by the wines of St. Julien in Bordeaux and Meursault in Burgundy, Jordan pursued “new” (for California) practices such as including the classic Bordeaux varietals of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec with the Cabernet. In the winery, Jordan followed an empirical approach toward barrel aging, continually testing new sources of oak, and aged the wines in bottle before release. With such attention to detail, the estate Cabs earned a reputation for complexity of aroma and bouquet and full-bodied elegance, for their balance between fruit, silky tannins and a lingering finish. Both the Cabernets and Chardonnays have always enjoyed high demand and have been perennial favorites of restaurants. 

Today the reputation of Jordan wines continues to grow as the winery improves upon its experience of the past 40 years. The current CEO, John Jordan, Tom’s son, has begun to incorporate some of the newer trends in vineyard management and winemaking. Much of the estate has been replanted, with the Cabernet vineyards relocated from the valley floor to the rolling hills and benchlands that offer better drainage and more varied soils. The new plantings also include greater clonal variation. Even so, Jordan no longer relies entirely on the estate vineyards but also purchases grapes from trusted growers to give the winemaker the best quality and broadest palate of flavors to draw on. Indeed, the Chardonnay is now sourced entirely from the Russian River Valley, which is much cooler and more advantageous for that grape. On the other hand, Jordan has remained opposed to one particular trend; that is, the trend toward higher levels of alcohol and heavier, more syrupy wines. After almost 40 years of making Jordan wines, Rob Davis continues to believe the mission is to achieve balance between fruit, acidity, tannin, and alcohol in order to ensure the wines have finesse, elegance and, importantly, continuity from vintage to vintage.

Wine Maker

Maggie Kruse





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Wines from this Winery

2018 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay

If two styles of California Chardonnay vie for attention – understated, crisp and minerally vs. showy, rich and buttery – then Jordan stands firmly with the former. And yet there’s something about the Russian River Valley’s interplay of soils, cooling fogs, and nurturing sunshine that adds a layer of charm to the subtle qualities that make Jordan Chardonnay so versatile a food pairing wine. Conditions in the Russian River Valley in 2018 were perfect for producing crisp and fresh Chardonnay. In the winery, cutting back on French oak in both fermentation and aging allows the oak to support (rather than overpower) the flavors, while limiting malolactic fermentation enhances the purity of the Russian River Valley fruit. The lively fruit and excellent structure will not overpower salads or raw vegetables and would pair well with oysters, sushi, grilled chicken, or creamy pastas.

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¥7,590 (incl. tax)
2017 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Because the Alexander Valley is warmer than most AVAs in Sonoma County, it’s a great location for late-ripening Bordeaux varieties. Nevertheless, summer nights are cool enough so that the red wines are bright, elegant and structured. Exemplifying this style are the age-worthy Jordan Cabernets. The grapes are sourced exclusively from benchland and hillside vineyards, a total of 60 blocks owned by the estate and 13 grower families. During the summer of 2017, repeated heat spikes were causes of worry. But the Jordan team responded with careful management of the vineyard canopies, judicious irrigation, and just waiting for grape sugars to come back down instead of picking in a panic. Maggie Kruse, the winemaker, believes, “the 2017 Jordan emerged as a beauty with charming weight and mature structure in its youth. A vintage that is truly a testament to the resilience of plants and humans alike.” This wine’s elegance, acidity, and spice notes complement grilled or roasted dishes, such as herb-crusted lamb, roasted chicken or grilled pork loin. The wine’s earthiness even complements vegetarian dishes, such as mushroom risotto, ratatouille or roasted root vegetables.” 

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¥13,200 (incl. tax)