Mon 13 Aug 2012
Since Tom and Sally Jordan purchased 275 acres in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley in 1972, the purpose of Jordan Vineyards has not changed. The first cabernet sauvignon was produced from the 1976 vintage and the first chardonnay in 1979, and the regimen has not changed. Here is a winery dedicated to only two wines; no attempt has been made to produce wines in many categories in a range of prices to appeal (or pander) to all palates and pocketbooks, as so many wineries in California see fit to do. Even the original winemaker, Rob Davis, remains at his post. Some may see this adherence to a principle and tradition as deeply conservative; I see it as devotion to an unswerving ideal, one that embodies the notion of wines that are immediately drinkable but with the character and backbone — I’m speaking of the cabernet sauvignon — to develop and age gracefully.
Our Wine of the Week is the Jordan Chardonnay 2010, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, produced from 20 vineyard blocks from eight small growers. The grapes fermented one-third in stainless steel tanks and two-thirds in French oak barrels. The wine aged five months — that’s right, five months, not 11 or 14 months — in French oak, 47 percent new barrels. Thirty-six percent of the wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel. The result is a chardonnay that practically shimmers with crystalline purity and intensity that express themselves through exquisite balance and layers of nuance. The color is pale straw-gold; aromas of ripe pineapple and grapefruit are wreathed with notes of green apple, cloves and tangerine, jasmine and candied ginger and an intriguing hint of kumquat, which also shows up on the finish, lending a tiny bracing bite of citric bitterness. The wine is dense and lithe, supple and elegant, and flavors of slightly macerated and roasted grapefruit and yellow plum are bolstered by fleet acidity and a burgeoning element of limestone-like minerality. This is, in short, a beauty. 13.5 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2015 or ’16, well-stored. We drank this with grilled swordfish with grilled squashes, red bell peppers and tomatoes. Excellent. About $29.
A sample for review.