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Jordan Uncorked Video Episode 14: When to Drink 2012 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon in Magnum

Ever wondered if a magnum of wine tastes different than a standard bottle? In this episode of Jordan Uncorked, winemakers Maggie Kruse and John Duckett taste the 2012 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum. 2012 was truly a phenomenal growing season, yielding a harvest that was both stunning in quality and quantity. The grapes were just gorgeous. This 2012 magnum just released in May, and the winery staff has been waiting to taste this wine for six years.

What bottle of wine would you like to see our winemakers uncork next, and where would you like them to taste it? Leave your comments below for a chance to be featured.

Tune in every month for “Jordan Uncorked” on our YouTube channel or Facebook page too.

Jordan Wine Bottle Poster Contest: Bring the Le Tour de Melchior to Life

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon in 2016, Jordan Winery produced 18-liter Melchior wine bottles for the first time. This month, we are launching our first poster contest in 2018, seeking an artist to help create artwork for a limited-edition poster that will commemorate the next release of this rare wine from the 2014 vintage.

The Jordan Melchior debuts annually with a special offering of the newest vintage of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautifully etched, numbered and painted by hand, only eight of these 18-liter wine bottles are produced for sale each year. We hope their impressive size and past Le Tour de Melchior poster artwork inspires exciting poster contest entries in 2018. The winning art submission will be printed and featured at each restaurant event around the country, as well as at the winery’s annual Christmas at Jordan event.

2018 Poster Contest Submission Information:

Submissions should incorporate the Melchior wine bottle and portray the scale of the bottle. View images of the 750mL bottle versus the 18L bottle. Digitally designed artwork is requested; unfortunately original paintings cannot be accepted. As a French-inspired wine brand, submissions should also be more art nouveau in style. Submit an electronic copy of your contest submission by July 13, 2018, to be considered for this event. Please also submit an abstract that concisely describes your work in 100-200 words in length.

All Jordan wine poster contest entrants must 21 years of age or older.

Review the guidelines for the competition. Entries that do not follow the guidelines may be disqualified from the competition.

Poster Contest 2018, Jordan Wine Bottle Artwork
The 2017 Jordan Le Tour de Melchior commemorative poster art.

Design Guidelines:

  • Art is to be the original work of the entrant; lettering may be original or come from any kind of art service.
  • The artwork must be in finished electronic form.
  • The printed poster will include the following information:
    Le Tour de Melchior
    2014 vintage (2014 portrayed on the bottle suffices)
    Jordan logo
  • Poster size is 24 x 36 inches
  • The design and design rights become the property of Jordan Vineyard & Winery and will be adapted for print and digital media.

Submission Instructions:

Register for the art contest and submit your poster design. Submissions will be accepted via Google Form through July 13, 2018, 11:59 p.m. PST. For questions about your submission, please contact Nicole at nwells (at) jordanwinery (dot) com.

Judging:

Wine Posters, Jordan Winery 18 Liter Bottle Poster Contest 2018
Poster artwork from the inaugural Jordan 18 Liter Melchior wine bottle release in 2016.

Judging takes place July 25-27, 2018, and will be conducted by a selected panel of employees from Jordan Vineyard & Winery. The art contest winner will be announced August 9, 2018, via the email provided. Submissions will be prepared and will be judged on a 100-point scale as follows:

  • Creativity (50 points)
  • Composition (25 points)
  • Artistic Quality (25 points)

Timeline:

  • July 13, 2018 – Poster art submission deadline
  • July 25-27, 2018 – Posters judged by selected panel
  • August 9, 2018 – Announcement of winner

Prize:

The first place winner receives a $1,000 cash prize.

Good luck to all the artists. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

A Fresh Start: Why Jordan Winery is Replanting all Estate Vineyards

Guests who visit Jordan Winery expect to see a grand French chateau, towering wine barrels and decanters being filled with cabernet sauvignon. But, for the next seven years, we’ll also be giving them a different kind of show–a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most dramatic and essential duties that takes place in the wine business: planting a vineyard. Nearly two dozen vineyard blocks totaling about 120 acres of grapevines are being removed and their soil replenished before new vines can be replanted. This article shares the background story of why Jordan is replanting all of its vines now.

Grapegrowing in the past

When Tom and Sally Jordan purchased the piece of Sonoma wine country land that would become their winery and home in the early 1970s, very little was known about growing cabernet sauvignon grapevines in Alexander Valley. They yearned to establish a Bordeaux-style wine estate, yet had no local blueprint when planting their vines in a nearby valley. Neither did their neighbors. White grapes like gewurztraminer and muscat could be found growing in the warm, inland benchlands. Back then, so much was trial and error. The Jordans, like the Youngs, Munselles, Millers and other local pioneers, believed in cabernet sauvignon’s future in the region, and planted 225 acres of Bordeaux’s flagship red and its favorite blending brethren, merlot.

The inaugural 1976 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon was released in 1980, made from a combination of estate and grower grapes. Cabernet sauvignon grapes were picked at lower sugar levels when they still had vegetal flavors like green beans and green peppers. We considered these the characteristics of classic California cabernet.

Grape phylloxera strikes

Over the next two decades, lessons about grapevine farming, soils and climate were learned. Just as Jordan Winemaker Rob Davis and his vineyard manager were hitting their stride in the mid-1990s, Jordan’s cabernet sauvignon and merlot vineyards on the Alexander Valley floor began to struggle to ripen their fruit. Phylloxera, a root-damaging louse had attacked the vines, and replanting was the only recourse. It was a devastating diagnosis for an estate winery that relied entirely on its own vineyards for grapes. Because 20-25 years is about the average lifespan of a grapevine, the painful event was seen as a natural part of wine agriculture—and an opportunity to both plant and plan smarter.

Aerial view of the original Jordan Winery valley floor vineyards
Aerial view of the original Jordan Winery valley floor vineyards in the middle foreground, with the Jordan Estate hills in the background.

Davis immediately began sourcing grapes from nearby farmers on the other side of Alexander Valley’s riverbank, so Jordan would have enough fruit to make wine. From 1996 to 1999, grapevines were planted on the hillsides behind the Jordan Winery Chateau for the first time, taking advantage of new rootstocks, clonal selections and trellis systems. In addition to cabernet sauvignon and merlot, the two grapes found in Jordan’s singular red wine, petit verdot and cabernet franc were added to experiment with the Bordeaux-inspired blend. In their youngest years, these precocious vines helped produce classic wines, such as the 1999 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, and held great promise for the future of grapegrowing at Jordan Estate.

Jordan Estate Petit Verdot Bud Break
Young Jordan Estate petit verdot grapevines in spring.

New leaders, new energy

Enter Brent Young, who joined Jordan as a harvest intern in 2005—the year John Jordan took the reins and began to revitalize the business literally from the ground up. Armed with a viticulture degree and a drive to always improve, Young soon moved into a full-time role as viticulturist at Jordan and began to tackle a complex problem below the surface of the estate vineyards: These young grapevines were already dropping in performance after just 5-10 years of life.

Jordan Winery Ranch Manager Brent Young in the vineyard
Brent Young began as a viticulturist and was soon promoted to ranch manager, overseeing all farming operations at Jordan Estate.

John Jordan agreed to do whatever it took to find the cause and revive the plants. Soil-mapping and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, tools that didn’t exist when Jordan planted its valley or hillside vineyards, were utilized to better understand the soil chemistry and water-holding capacity. An exhaustive, three-year study revealed a patchwork of different soils across the estate, though each vineyard block had been farmed uniformly. Many vineyard blocks were also planted on a hard clay soil called serpentine, which can make it challenging for grapevines to spread their deep roots.

Jordan Winery iPad in the Vineyard for Soil Mapping
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps are used to understand the levels of photosynthetic activity in the grapevines at Jordan.

Young began to implement new farming strategies across the estate, tailored to each soil type, from irrigation and leafing changes to grafting underperforming cabernet vines to other blending varietals, such as malbec and petit verdot. In the meantime, John Jordan green-lighted Davis’s desire to increase the amount of grapes purchased from nearby, top-notch growers, to improve wine quality and consistency. “The importance of soil, soil and soil was drummed into me by my mentor, Andre Tchelistcheff,” Davis says. “Without great soil, we can’t produce great wines. The soils at the Jordan Estate are high in magnesium and low in drainability, and we’ve experienced reduced vine growth and crop development as a result.”

In 2012, the team collectively decided to sell Jordan’s original valley floor vineyard to focus totally on working with grower vineyards and on farming the hillside grapevines at Jordan Estate.

“The goal is to make every vintage better than the last,” Jordan says. “We had to say goodbye to a vineyard that could no longer supply us with the quality of grapes we demand.”

Under Young’s direction, Jordan Estate petit verdot grapevines were healthier and more balanced in flavor than ever before. Experiments in certain cabernet blocks were yielding positive results.

Jordan Estate Petit Verdot Grapes
Uniform clusters of Jordan Estate petit verdot grapes before harvest.

A new nemesis

As Jordan Estate vineyards approached their twentieth birthday, during the cool-climate years of 2010 and 2011, they began to struggle to ripen their grapes. Some leaves began to turn red, and it seemed as if another virus was attacking the plants as they approached the twenty-year mark. Vineyards across Sonoma and Napa counties were facing the same sickness, first spotted in Napa Valley in 2008.

Grapevine leaves turning red around other green leaves due to red blotch
Cabernet sauvignon leaves infected with Red Blotch disease.

The grapevine disease became known as Red Blotch, but the cause was not diagnosed until 2016. Like the phylloxera bug that devastated Jordan’s original valley floor vineyard in 1996, an insect named the alfalfa treehopper had attacked the Jordan Estate hillside vineyards, spreading a virus that turned the leaves red each fall. The treatment? Replant every grapevine.

Successful agriculture is a balance of ecology—a marriage between plants, insects, soils and weather. With Jordan grapevines, it seems that the marriage can only last twenty years before it’s time for a fresh start. Young is determined to break the cycle this time. In 2016, a massive seven-year plan to replant Jordan Estate’s 118 acres of grapevines began.

Vineyard replanting for the future

Young’s mission is to return cabernet sauvignon grapes grown on the Jordan property to the final blend, through vineyard replanting, reorienting rows, microfarming and amending the soils with nutrients they don’t naturally possess. The first block, J4, located below John Jordan’s home, is an experimental playground for testing rootstocks, vineyard row spacing and direction, as well as new technologies for applying nutrient applications—all unavailable to Tom Jordan when he planted the estate in 1996.

“The goal of the replanting is to grow the flavors Rob wants in Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon,” Young explains. “I’m determined to get these cabernet grapes back into the Jordan blend.”

When the first vines were removed, Young was surprised at what he found below the surface. “The old vines were j-rooted—meaning the roots took a j-shape, reaching back toward the surface rather than reaching deep into the soil. Vines won’t weather the heat of summer and the rain of winter to grow quality grapes if their roots don’t stretch deep below the soil.”

Basically, the grapevines were planted in too shallow holes, which forced the roots to bind up, instead of reaching down for water and nutrients. Between the planting mistakes made twenty years ago and the spread of Red Blotch disease in Napa and Sonoma, the vineyards had a house of cards stacked against them.

Vineyard blocks are being removed gradually over the course of three years, albeit strategically due to lessons learned from the 1996 replant. It takes 3-5 years for a newly planted vineyard to bear fruit, and the soils also need time to rest fallow to replenish their nutrients before new vines are planted. Great care is taken to remove all of the blocks in sections of the estate at the same time to avoid the possibility of alfalfa treehoppers spreading disease to the new plantings. Petit verdot and malbec, the top-performing vineyards, will be replanted last, as they are valuable components to the Jordan master blend.

Jordan Winery Estate Replant with Tractor Tilling Soil
A tractor prepares to add nutrients to a vineyard block before cover crops are seeded. Grapevines won’t be planted for another year.

Guests who visit Jordan Winery to experience the seasonal Estate Tour & Tasting, Vineyard Hikes and Sunset Supper at Vista Point all have the opportunity to see this farming project at various stages while traveling through the 1,200-acre property.

“We’re also changing the orientation of the rows when possible,” Young says. “When the new vines are planted to specific rootstocks and clonal selections, they will receive uniform sun all day, rather than morning sun on one side and afternoon sun on the other. This will eliminate underexposure to sun in the morning and overexposure in the afternoon.”

Beginning to replant the Jordan Estate
Cover crops grow in a cabernet sauvignon vineyard block ready for replanting in spring 2018.

Preparing the ground for replanting J4, the vineyard below John’s home, was arduous.

“We didn’t want any rocks, including magnesium-loaded serpentine, to impede the growth of the vine roots, so we pulled out the old vines and broke up the hardpan,” Young says. “We added soil amendments, such as gypsum, potassium and compost, where the new vines will grow.”

Soils need time to renew after supporting grapevines for decades, so each piece of land will be left fallow for 1-2 years, growing only cover crops. Cover crops are planted to enhance the health of the soil, such as nitrogen-rich legumes, clover and straw. Irrigation and fertigation will be vine-specific, and the goal is to attend to each vine’s needs.

A new vineyard site discovered

The first new vines will be planted at J4 in June 2018, and the last block of the replant is expected in 2021. The other exciting discovery from the replanting and soil studies was a six-acre parcel of land directly across from the Jordan Winery Chateau that had never been planted to grapes but has quality, rocky, volcanic soils similar to the Jordan Estate petit verdot grapevines. This new block, dubbed the Chateau Block, will be planted to cabernet sauvignon. Tractor work began in spring of 2018, and winery visitors will get to see this vineyard being planted over the next several months. We hope to incorporate the Chateau Block into winery tours in the future.

Construction begins on the new Jordan Estate Chateau block for new vineyard plantings
Ground being prepared for soil amendments and future planting of a new vineyard site next to the Jordan Winery Chateau.

For the foreseeable future, Jordan will continue to source cabernet sauvignon grapes from favored Alexander Valley growers. One of them is Mike Mazzoni of Geyserville. Mazzoni is intrigued by Jordan’s replanting efforts, but is taking a wait-and-see stance on the results. “I’m old-school,” he says.

“As long as we’ve been doing this, we continue to learn about grapegrowing, soil structure and vineyard husbandry,” Davis explains. “We can’t change soil, as Andre often told me, but we can work with it and do our best to enhance it. We’re opening new pages for learning, seeking specific fruit character by site.”

Winemaker Rob Davis of Jordan Winery in the vineyard
Winemaker Rob Davis in Jordan Estate’s petit verdot vineyard during fall.

Some growers are now asking Jordan for replanting advice, Davis says. “Sharing knowledge back and forth between our estate and our growers, I love that we have a two-way street with farming, not just winemaking.” Fifth-generation grape grower Bret Munselle of Munselle Vineyards, another top grape grower for Jordan, even stopped by to assess the J4 experiment.

“It’s going to be fun to see how the replanting goes,” Davis says. “In a few years, we may very well ask ourselves, ‘Why didn’t we do this a long time ago?’ ”

Follow us @jordanwinery on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for ongoing vineyard replanting updates.

Jordan Uncorked Video Episode 13: Tasting Old Wines with 1980 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon

We don’t have many 30-plus-years-old wines in the Jordan cellar, and we never pass up the opportunity to uncork a rare one. In this episode of our “Jordan Uncorked” wine tasting videos, Assistant Winemaker John Duckett and Associate Winemaker Maggie Kruse taste a 1980 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. I donated this bottle from my personal cellar, as I wanted to open it for my birthday later that week. We were all impressed with how youthful this old wine tastes. It proves our mantra that red wines of balance always age gracefully. We still have a few bottles left of this wine to purchase, so contact us if you’re interested.

What bottle of wine would you like to see our winemakers uncork next, and where would you like them to taste it? Leave your comments below for a chance to be featured.

Tune in every month for “Jordan Uncorked” on our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

New Vintage Debut: 2016 Jordan Chardonnay and 2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Release

Jordan Winery’s annual wine release day is April 1. Today, the 2016 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay and 2014 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon make their debut—two vintages that share even numbers, but the conditions of the growing seasons could not be more different. View our dedicated New Release Website to see tasting notes and a photo gallery of each vintage. We also captured several reactions to the first taste of these wines on video. And because it’s the first time in Jordan Winery history that our new release day falls on Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day, we had to create the ultimate Easter egg hunt video. (Scroll down for a laugh.)

We look forward to hearing your feedback on our latest vintages. Be sure to comment below, or send us a tweet or post on Facebook.

Explore the Jordan New Release Wine Website

2014 Jordan Cabernet wine bottle with food

2014 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

While 2014 enjoyed dry, warm weather most of the year and a plentiful crop, 2016 experienced a mild winter, an early bud break, a slightly below-normal crop size, no significant heat spikes and an early finish to the harvest. The 2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon is the third in a string of simply incredible vintages: 2012-2013-2014 may be the best trio in a century. The 2014 has simply stunning fruit with layer upon layer of blackberry, black cherry and cassis. The wine’s structure is a reflection of the impact of our increase in French oak and how it beautifully refines and lengthens the finish of our wine.

2016 Jordan Chardonnay wine bottle with food

2016 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay

For Jordan Chardonnay, the 2016 is reminiscent of the 2015—vibrant and precise upon release, taking a cue from the cooler climate of Chablis. The beguiling aroma of citrus blossoms leads to succulent flavors of lemon peel and crisp pears with a firm structure of acidity. This wine will delight any chef who desires a pairing of seductive flavors.

The Ultimate Easter Egg Hunt for Wine Lovers

What is Bud Break in the Vineyards?

There is no mistaking it—bud break is that glorious moment that happens in the vineyard each spring as the vines wake up from their winter dormancy. All winter long, grapevines stood lifeless and bare, but as the temperature rises and the days lengthen, they are suddenly bursting with vitality. They draw on the energy they’ve stored deep within their trunks and roots through the winter to push out the first green leaves of a new growth cycle. But what is bud break?

Watch our time-lapse video to see bud break unfolding:

Having been tightly packed and protected all winter, these tiny and sparse leaves have but one goal—to restart photosynthesis and generate new energy. Now the vine is no longer dependent on the minimal energy reserves it tucked away to get through the winter months.

Vineyard bud break
The weather can dramatically impact bud break and the year’s vintage.

When Does Bud Break Occur?

Bud break appears first in the chardonnay vineyards in mid-March, but during warmer winters (like 2012, 2013 and 2014), chardonnay bud break can happen as early as mid-February. The last varietal to break buds is cabernet sauvignon, which typically happens up to three weeks later than chardonnay. Like magic, you’ll see entire vineyards turn from drab brown to vibrant green as those first leaves begin photosynthesis, pushing out more and more leaves in what is termed “rapid shoot development.”

Chardonnay bud break, baby grapevine
Protecting the grapevines during bud break is essential to a successful growing season.

How Does the Weather Impact Bud Break?

Spring is a crucial time in the vineyards as those first delicate buds can be destroyed by even just one cold night with frost—if those buds go below 32 degrees, they’re done for the season. Giant fans or wind machines in the vineyards help to prevent this by stirring up the air so that the warmer air gets pushed down towards the ground where the cold normally settles. Sprinkler systems, too, help to protect the buds. We run them through the night when the temperature drops so that an ice shell forms around the buds, keeping them at 32 degrees. Fortunately, the last major frost event occurred a decade ago in 2008. That year, we lost the entire malbec crop to frost, a key blending grape for Bordeaux-style cabernet sauvignon.

Chardonnay bud break, grapevine during spring
Chardonnay buds just before rapid shoot development.

Mild temperatures are desirable during spring–not so cold that frost is a factor, but not too hot so that the grapevines grow too rapidly. Heavy winds are also concerning, as they can snap off the shoots of baby buds. Once the growing season has begun with bud break, we wait eagerly until May when flowering begins, when the grapevines bloom, which determines both the size of the crop and the size of the berries.

Interested in learning more about bud break? You can read season-by-season bud break reports on vintages for 2016, 2015, and 2014 growing seasons. Find more photos of bud break in the vineyards in our bud break photo gallery.

Join our rewards program today. For every dollar you spend at Jordan, you’ll earn points to redeem toward exclusive guest privileges at our Alexander Valley estate. As a thank you for joining, you will earn 3,000 bonus points. You’ll also receive our monthly e-newsletter with event invitations, wine offers and blog posts like this one.

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Wine Vintage Chart: A When to Drink Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Aging Guide

How long should cabernet sauvignon be aged before you reach for that corkscrew? It’s the question we’re asked most by winery guests and friends on social media, which inspired us to create a new kind of wine vintage chart for cabernet sauvignon. This wine aging chart gives wine lovers an idea of how each vintage of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon may taste and when to drink it. In addition to the standard wine bottle size of 750ml, magnum bottles, three liters and six liters are also included. Each year, the winery will update our When to Drink Wine Vintage Chart–a Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Aging Guide.

Bottles of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon old red wines

Wine Vintage Chart: Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Aging Guide

Cabernet Sauvignon aging potential is quite long due to the Bordeaux wine grape’s natural tannins, ample acidity and affection for oak. But, as with all red wine longevity, the key to aging gracefully in bottle for decades is balance in winemaking. Crafting cabernet sauvignon with fruit flavors, fine tannins, and natural acidity all in balance allows for the gradual, graceful aging and evolution of great cabernet in bottle.

With proper wine storage, Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon has been known to maintain its grace and still taste good in 750ml bottle for about 30 years. Though our winemakers prefer to drink Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 7-10 years after the vintage date, we continue to receive emails from customers who are still enjoying bottles from the late-1970s and 1980s. (I opened a bottle of 1980 Jordan for my birthday last weekend, and it was magnificent.) As a general rule, magnum and other large-format bottles of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon taste best 12-20 years after release.

As you’ll see in this wine vintage chart, Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon flavors change from vintage to vintage, but you’ll see some flavor trends in each decade as the wine ages in bottle. Taste characteristics range from the bold, ripe fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry in younger vintages of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon to the subtle aromas of dried cranberry, black tea and leather found in bottles opened more than 10 years after their vintage date. If you like to taste a lot of fruit in your cabernet sauvignon, best to drink it within about a decade of its vintage.

Virtually all wine vintage charts are produced by wine journalists who give each vintage for the entire wine region a score, based on the growing season weather and how the wines tasted while young. We decided that our wine vintage chart should be more of a hybrid wine aging chart/wine peak chart/wine flavor chart. Due to the breadth of the vintage chart–it goes back to the inaugural 1976 Jordan–we have broken it into decades below. There are also links to download the full vintage chart. We hope you find it helpful when you’re storing bottles of great cabernet and trying to decide when to drink them.

History has shown us that when winemakers harvest cabernet grapes at traditional sugar levels (below 25 Brix) to keep alcohol levels lower (below 14%), retain the wine’s acidity, and age the wine in the types of barrels that do not overpower the fruit flavors, the cabernets tend to be more elegant and less of the powerhouse cabernet style that has come into fashion since the 1990s. In our experience, wines that are high in alcohol and tannin lack the acidity and fruit to age gracefully and taste harmonious when mature. Even for a bottle of red wine, one of the keys to a long life is balance and moderation.

Download Jordan Wine Vintage Chart

Download Jordan Cabernet Flavor Chart

Download Complete Jordan Cabernet Aging Guide (Both Charts PDF)

1976-1979 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages

The first few growing seasons for Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon were a rollercoaster. Drought conditions prevailed in 1976, and 1977 enjoyed a small crop that yielded balanced wines. 1978 was considering the best of the four vintages, producing ripe, rich red wines. The 1979 was considered more balanced and elegant across the region–ideal for the Jordan house style. All Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons from the 1970s are considered past their peak, though we do come across the occasional 750mL bottle that is still alive. Jordan didn’t start producing big bottles in 1977, and the large-format bottles of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon are still quite alive, especially 1978 and 1979. Click view all vintages to see tasting notes.

 1980-1989 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages

This is the decade Jordan Winemaker Rob Davis rarely wants to revisit, as it reminds him of all the challenging weather conditions he had to overcome to make great cabernet. Journalists praised 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 as the best vintages of the decade upon release–each producing ripe, flavorful red wines. 1981, 1982 and 1983 were considered tough years that produced leaner wines with 1981 being the most charming of the three. Even though 1980 had a large crop, the vintage has continued to surprise us; even the 750mL bottles are still alive in 2018. Both 1988 and 1989 yielded more simple wines even though 1988 was a small crop and 1989 a bumper. As with the 1970s, Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons from the 1980s are considered past their peak, though the 1985-1989 and the 1980 Jordan still have some life in 750mL. Large-format bottles are allowing the 1980s cabernets to retain a longer life. Click view all vintages to see tasting notes.

 1990-1999 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages

Ah, the memories. There were so many great cabernet vintages in the 1990s, it’s hard to pick the best. Upon release, red wines from 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997 and 1999 were all rich and complex vintages; 1992, 1993 and 1995 produced cabernets that were most elegant and supple, but equally delicious. The 1996 is considered a sleeper vintage that came around with age; winemakers were struggling to replant vineyards due to the phylloxera epidemic, but compelling wines were still produced. 1998 was the most challenging vintage of the decade in terms of weather, yielding leaner, more elegant wines. But, 1998 blossomed and gained complexity with time. Magnums of 1998 Jordan opened at our Christmas party three years ago were the star of the show. Still alive with lots of cherry fruit and layers of silk. These vintages are still drinking nicely, so view the wine vintage chart for flavorful profiles that suit your taste. Click view all vintages to see tasting notes.

 2000-2009 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages

Another strong decade for great cabernet in California. 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2009 are considered the best vintages, producing stunning, complex red wines. But,  2006 should not be overlooked, as it created cabernets that are concentrated and age worthy. The 2000 and 2008 vintages had the most challenging weather, but 2008 is a sleeper vintage–like the 1998–and has never tasted better. It has gained complexity with age. These cabernet vintages from the 2000s are in an optimal drinking window, with big bottles still showing the most dark fruit flavors, so view the wine vintage chart for flavorful profiles that suit your taste. Click view all vintages to see tasting notes.

 2010-2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages

A string of great cabernet vintages with only one hiccup. The 2010 vintage was a cooler year producing more elegant cabernets, while the 2011 was so cold and rainy, that many winemakers struggled to make balanced wines. 2012, 2013 and 2014 are the best string of vintages in Jordan winemaking history; most Sonoma/Napa winemakers would agree. All three of highly textured, flavorful vintages with the tannin and acidity to age gracefully. Click view all vintages to see tasting notes.

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Brushes with Fame: 5 Celebrities Who Love California Wines and Drink Jordan

Jordan has been producing California wines of balance since 1972–long enough to grow relationships with some very devoted fans. Consumers, sommeliers and chefs, as well as respected journalists, helped make Jordan the successful winery it is today. There were also some brushes with fame. In the early days, the Jordans brought together the country’s top restaurateurs, journalists, socialites and celebrities to taste Jordan wines over dinner at the winery chateau in Healdsburg. Dinner party guests included author Danielle Steel and her then vintner-husband John Traina, Russian politician Mikhail Gorbachev, actress Sharon Stone, singer Liza Minnelli, English actor Michael Caine, the late actor-director Burgess Meredith and the late economist-author Paul Erdman–to name a few. Chefs Wolfgang Puck, the late Paul Bocuse and Drew Nieporent all spent time at Jordan Estate too. Movie stars Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn rode bikes up the Jordan driveway in the early 1980s–long before there were tours and tastings–and ended up meeting Winemaker Rob Davis and receiving the ultimate private tasting. Before email, before the internet, the only way these moments were captured and shared was through the whip-sharp memory of Mrs. Jordan and Rob. And, an old Kodak camera, if we were lucky.

Then came social media. Today, we are humbled how Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have helped us discover a number of professional athletes, television journalists, reality television stars, and famous actors and actresses who enjoy our classic California wines. Social media has also made it easier to chat directly with our fans, such as sports legends like the NFL’s Troy Aikman and Nascar’s Michael Waltrip. It’s been so rewarding to watch our circle of friends grow wider on the web. Here are a few other celebrities with an affinity for Jordan wine.

Celebrities Who Love California Wines

Jordan Bratman, Christina Aguilera and Stephen Webster in Las Vegas in 2006. Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Weekly.

1. Christina Aguilera took Jordan wines on tour

Rumor has it that Christina Aguilera had Jordan wines on her tour rider for years—not only because she loves a good glass of cabernet, but also because way back when, she was dating music industry executive Jordan Bratman. They had a magical (and super-secret) four-day wedding in nearby Napa Valley. Unfortunately, the marriage lasted just four years before Christina divorced Jordan. We’re pretty confident that she only divorced Jordan the man, not Jordan the wine.

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Reporter.

2. Meghan Markle intrigued by Jordan Cabernet

Meghan Markle, the “Suits” star and bride-to-be of the UK’s Prince Harry, is a well-known wine aficionado who mentioned Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon in a Today.com article about her favorite foods and beverages. Will Jordan Cabernet appear on the menu at the royal wedding? Not likely, as they’ve just chosen an English winery for this nuptial pours. But we are trying to send them an engagement gift, and we wish Prince Harry and Meghan all the best on their special day.

Cougar Town Guzzle Buddy

3. Courtney Cox’s character on “Cougar Town” guzzled Jordan wine

Courtney Cox swigged a Jordan Cabernet on her hit TV show “Cougar Town,” showcasing the “Guzzle Buddy,” a device that “turns your bottle into your glass.” (An interesting side note: So many viewers contacted the show wondering where they could buy the device that you can now buy the “Guzzle Buddy” on Amazon.)

Big Bang Theory wine

4. Jordan Chardonnay made a guest appearance on “The Big Bang Theory”

Jordan wine also had a spotlight moment when a bottle of our chardonnay appeared in a scene of the hit TV show, “The Big Bang Theory.” The show is about geeky-but-brilliant young scientists in Southern California, so the obvious conclusion is that the greatest of minds can appreciate Jordan wines.

Hector Maldonado and Jimmy Stafford of Train (left) with John Jordan and guest at Jordan Winery’s 40th anniversary party in Los Angeles in 2012.

5. Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford is a big fan of Jordan wines

Train guitarist Jimmy Stafford hasn’t kept his love of Jordan’s wines a secret. When The San Jose Mercury News asked where he likes to taste when he’s home in Northern California, Stafford said, “I love Jordan Winery in Sonoma.” And Stafford knows a thing or two about California wines—he and the band developed Save Me, the San Francisco wine label. Their Drops of Jupiter California Red won a gold medal in the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. Jimmy also attended Jordan Winery’s 40th birthday party in Los Angeles in 2012, and he and Train lead singer Patrick Monahan were featured in the 2015 video tribute to Jordan winemaker Rob Davis on the 40th anniversary of his first harvest at Jordan.

It’s not every day that celebrities grace our Alexander Valley estate, but who knows, your next visit to Jordan could include a brush with fame.

Join our rewards program and earn bonus points that you can use toward exclusive guest privileges at our Alexander Valley estate. It’s our way of sharing the best food, wine and hospitality that Jordan has to offer.

John Jordan Foundation Charity Spotlight: Family Justice Center Sonoma County

John Jordan believes successful businesses should play an active role in improving the lives of citizens in need. That’s why he decided to put his beliefs into action and founded The John Jordan Foundation (JJF). A significant portion of the proceeds from Jordan Winery fund the foundation, which works to fight the negative effects of poverty. JJF provides financial and technical support to numerous nonprofits, with an emphasis on childhood education, income stability and health services. One charity that the winery’s foundation has chosen to support is the Family Justice Center Sonoma County (FJCSC).

The Family Justice Center organization helps victims and survivors of domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault and child abuse by providing convenient access to comprehensive support services under one roof. The police department, sheriff’s office, district attorney, health and human services, legal advisors, sexual assault counselors, and other community and religious organizations all have dedicated offices inside the FJC, and the center also raises money for those nonprofit partners.

“It is a fantastic model for the families and individuals it serves,” says Lisa Wittke Schaffner, executive director of JJF, who has sat on the FJCSC board since 2014. “In most communities, victims have to move all around the county to get help from these nonprofits, agencies and public servants. When people are recovering from this type of trauma, they need the inconveniences of transportation and traffic removed so they can focus on healing.”

According to Executive Director Wes Winter, the center serves roughly 1,600 victims each year.

“We help people of all ages, from cradle to rocking chair,” he says. “When people have been through trauma, and they don’t know where else to turn, they come to us. We protect the vulnerable, stop the violence and restore hope.”

As Winter explains it, when a victim comes into the FJCSC for services, he or she initially meets with a Navigator. This person helps the victim determine which services he or she needs to access with the center. Nonprofit partners located at the FJC include the YWCA of Sonoma County, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, Verity (sexual assault support services), the Council on Aging and Catholic Charities, to name a few. The John Jordan Foundation plays two key roles in the delivery of these services. For starters, direct monetary donations allow the FJCSC to fund nonprofit partners so they can continue providing services on-site. According to Winter, the FJCSC could not do its work without support from organizations like The John Jordan Foundation.

“We get federal dollars through the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime, but we need to augment those resources with community funds,” he says. “Support from John Jordan, his foundation, and Jordan Winery is critical to our survival and success.”

The winery’s foundation initially made a three-year commitment of $100,000 to fund the vital Navigator position. JJF continues to support the Family Justice Center cause through annual donations at its  “You Are Not Alone” breakfasts, hosted to raise funds for operating expenses. At the 2018 breakfast, The John Jordan Foundation committed $10,000 to kick off the fundraising event.

Santa Rosa Police Lieutenant John Cregan, head of criminal investigations.; Lisa Wittke Schaffner of The John Jordan Foundation and Serena Lienau, program analyst for the City of Santa Rosa’s Violence Prevention Partnership at the Family Justice Center’s You Are Not Alone” investment breakfast.

Learn more at johnjordanfoundation.org.

Blind Tasting 2011 Chardonnays: Jordan Russian River and a White Burgundy (Jordan Uncorked #12)

Our first blind tasting episode, this month’s Jordan Uncorked video features two chardonnays from the same vintage, but from different wine regions on different continents. Join our winemakers as they head to Autocamp in west Sonoma County to taste a 2011 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay and a 2011 Meursault-Charmes from Domaine Boyer-Martenot.

2011 was a challenging vintage for both Northern California and Burgundy, France. Weather in Sonoma County was very cool–one of the coldest on record–leading to very crisp, precise wines. Burgundy had rollercoaster whether from spring to fall, and many producers elected to harvest their grapes before they finished ripening. According to Decanter, Meursault was probably the best of the Côte de Beaune villages, with wines “showing the right balance between succulence and tension.” When the 2011 Jordan Chardonnay released, journalists and sommeliers often used it in educational blind tastings to try to stump the sommeliers, many of whom guessed it was French.

That’s why Associate Winemaker Maggie Kruse and Assistant Winemaker John Duckett decided to uncork two older chardonnays from 2011 side-by-side in our monthly video series, Jordan Uncorked. What vintage would you like to see them uncork next? Leave your comments below for a chance to be featured.

Tune in every month for “Jordan Uncorked” on our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

How to Prune Grapevines: Vineyard Farming for Winemaking

Winter is an important time of rejuvenation in wine country. All winter long, the vineyards sleep, resting and recharging for the intense growing season that is soon to come.

By November or December, the grapevines enter into their winter dormancy phase, losing the last of their leaves and leaving only bare cane shoots in their canopies. During this phase, the woody trunks and roots of the vines conserve energy and hoard valuable carbohydrate reserves, which will prove vital in the spring when the vines wake from their winter sleep and begin producing fruit. This dormant period is the ideal time for the vines to be pruned of their old wood (check out our Winter Grapevine Pruning Photo Gallery to view this process).

How to Prune a Vineyard, petit verdot grapevine pruning

Pruning Grapevines is Part Art, Part Science

Like winemaking, grapevine pruning is part science, part art, and doing it right determines the size of the harvest and the quality of the wine. Last year’s canes, which are now surrounded by a layer of wood, are removed to facilitate fresh new growth.

The work is laborious and expensive. It takes four people working nine hours a day, six days a week for about three months to prune Jordan’s 112 estate vineyard acres. It’s hard work that can lead to employee injuries without safety training—usually strained shoulders, hands or back muscles. Thanks to advances in grapevine pruning technology, we now have pruning machines to help lighten the load.

The machine pruner handles the first, most physical part of the cutting, and then our team will follow and hand prune the grapevines in the second phase. Preventing employee injuries is a top priority, but the benefits of machine pruning vastly improve efficiency and precision, too. Modern machine pruners have automated sensors that open and close their jaws around the metal stakes in the vineyard row and end posts. The pruners’ blades comb through the vineyard’s canopy and slice off the wood without cutting the delicate trellis wires. It’s a meticulous piece of equipment that allows us to maintain the quality of our viticultural practices, save time and expense, and keep our staff safe at the same time.

machine pruning of grapevines, tractor prunes vineyard
A tractor completes the first pruning of grapevine canes at Jordan Estate, allowing the employees to focus on hand-pruning the grapevines’ cordons.

Our Two-Phase Grapevine Pruning Process

In the first pruning phase, we cut back last year’s growth, cutting each cane to about 12 to 15 inches from the trunk. Later in the season, we do “finish pruning,” during which we leave only the shoots that will produce fruit in the coming season.

Because this second pruning comes during the rainy season, it protects the permanent structure of the vines from fungi taking up residence in the newer growth. By trimming off this growth, we prevent the fungi from becoming established in the vine.

While machines can help with the first round of pruning, the second round can only be done properly by hand. We take each of the 2 ½ to 3-foot long canes down to one cane per spur and two buds per cane. Each of these buds will then grow into new canes that will bear this year’s fruit. Each cane will produce two clusters of grapes.

Pruning is important for maintaining the structural integrity, consistency, and predictability of the vineyard. If we know the acreage of the vineyard, along with the row and vine spacing, and each arm grows two shoots, and each shoot grows two clusters of fruit, we can fairly accurately estimate the yield of the year’s crop. Not only does pruning help us to predict our crop yields, but it also keeps the vineyard organized. And it looks nice, too.

pruning grapes at Jordan, how to prune a vineyard
Jordan Winery staff prune the grapevines down to a two-bud spur in January.

After the vineyard team finishes pruning the grapevines, we move on to pruning our 18 acres of olive trees. While it takes just one minute to prune a grapevine, an olive tree—due to its size and number of branches—requires 10 minutes of grooming to create proper shaping and light exposure. As with grapevines, proper pruning fosters fertility and efficient picking at harvest. Our former vineyard manager discusses the olive tree pruning process at Jordan and how we reuse our wood cuttings.

Jordan Estate Rewards 10th Anniversary Facebook Fan Monthly Photo Contest

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Jordan Winery’s loyalty program Jordan Estate Rewards, we recently announced a series of promotional perks, new events and giveaways that will be happening every month in 2018. This page offers a complete guide to the 2018 Jordan Estate Rewards Monthly Photo Contest on Facebook. Our Facebook fan with the best photo receives a special prize each month, from a linen Jordan apron and Riedel decanter to a beautiful rosewood salad bowl and a Champagne saber. Each month has a different photo theme. Post your photo on the Jordan Facebook page wall or in a comment on our posts. The fan photo with the most points at the end of each month wins. Gold and Platinum members of Jordan Estate Rewards are also encouraged to use hashtags for the anniversary year – #goldpays and #itpaystobeplatinum – but hashtags are not required as part of the contest. See official rules for all details. Highlights, including judging criteria, a list of prizes and photo themes organized by month, are included below.

taking iphone picture of food, Jordan winery dinner

HOW TO ENTER OUR FACEBOOK CONTEST

To enter the photo contest, follow these steps:

  • Take a photo with your camera.
  • Upload your photo to Jordan Winery’s Facebook page on the wall or in a comment on a Jordan post.
  • Include Hashtags (OPTIONAL). Gold and Platinum members of Jordan Estate Rewards are also encouraged to use hashtags for the anniversary year – #goldpays and #itpaystobeplatinum – but hashtags are not required as part of the contest.

No purchase of Jordan wine is required to enter. All contestants must be 21 or older to enter, of course. The maximum number of photos you can enter is one per day. A new contest will be held each month of the year.

The photo can include items from other wineries, as long as other brand names or trademarks are not visible/recognizable.

ipad with facebook page open

FACEBOOK CONTEST JUDGING

Submissions will be judged on a 100-point scale as follows:

  • Creativity (50 points)
  • Composition (25 points)
  • Artistic Quality (25 points)

The Facebook fan photo with the most points at the end of each month wins.

Points will be tabulated after 8 a.m. PST on the first day of each month. A new points cycle begins each month on the first day of each month.

Winners will be announced on Jordan Winery’s Facebook page at the beginning of each month for the prior month. See official rules for all details.

Jordan winery shoulder bag

FACEBOOK CONTEST PRIZES

Each month, the contestant with the highest-scoring photo will receive the following prize:

At the end of the year, all points for all contest entries will be tabulated, and the contestant with the most points overall will receive a one (1) night stay at the Jordan Winery Chateau, available on select days in 2019.

Jordan Winery wine glass toasting holidays

FACEBOOK PHOTO CONTEST: MONTHLY THEMES

Monthly photo contest themes include:

January: Holiday Wine

February: Wine & Romance

March: What’s in your Cellar

April: Uncork Spring

May: Uncork Spring

June: Uncork Summer

July: Jordan Estate Memories

August: Uncork Summer

September: Show Us Your Corks

October: Uncork Fall

November: Holiday Wine

December: Holiday Wine

We look forward to seeing you on Facebook.