Jordan Vineyard and Winery has long been a Sonoma County icon for elegance and excellence. Even so, the new Estate Tour and Tasting takes wine country hospitality to the next level. It may come as a surprise that Jordan has no tasting room. Instead they choose to give their guests the more personal approach of small group tours and tastings by appointment. Currently Jordan Winery offers a one-hour Library Tasting and a 90-minute Winery Tour and Library Tasting. But that is all about to change with the addition (September 5, 2013) of the exciting new three-hour Estate Tour and Tasting.
Frequent visitors to wine country often tire of the same old tasting room or wine and food pairing experience, desiring something more. The new Jordan Estate Tour and Tasting delivers. We were lucky enough to be included on an early trial run of this unique experience that takes a maximum of twelve guests via a Mercedes Benz coach across the far reaches of the 1200 acre Jordan estate.
Second generation vintner John Jordan’s idea behind the new tour was, “After having spent countless weekends fishing and driving around the Jordan property, I wanted to share the beauty of Sonoma with an experience that is truly singular in California,” And indeed this tour does just that, with the heightened level of hospitality guests have come to expect from any visit to Jordan Winery.
We were met at the front entrance to the Jordan Estate Chateau by a gleaming new Mercedes Coach, custom designed for this experience. Our tour began behind the chateau with a stop at the chef’s gardens. We were set free to explore the vegetables, fruits and flowers used in the Jordan kitchens. We picked, we tasted and learned about the chef’s dedication to creating a farm to table experience for every guest. In addition to the gardens, the first stop includes a glimpse at the estate cattle and chickens. We also learned about Jordan’s dedication to sustainable energy evidenced by the large array of solar panels.
The estate consists of 1200 contiguous acres in the rustic Alexander Valley section of Sonoma County, including 110 acres of grapevines, 18 acres of olive trees, gardens, lakes, pastures and endless woods. The Jordan family has made a concerted effort to leave the majority of the property as undeveloped as possible, giving guests an opportunity to explore the rural and uncultivated Alexander Valley.
Our second stop was alongside John Jordan’s bass lake at the Seven Oaks vista point. From this spot we were able to experience the lake, complete with two wild herons and other wildlife, walk over to a section of olive trees and enjoy the hillside vineyard views as hawks floated overhead. We stood under ancient oaks with the lake in front at a long stone community table created for the experience.
In addition, this was our first food and wine pairing. Served was the 2010 and 2011 Chardonnay along with spiced garden escabeche with Gravenstein apple vinaigrette & wild fennel. Also served was nigiri of seasonal fruit with Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sonoma honey & citrus. As you can see this is not run-of-the-mill food and wine pairing. This is hospitality – Jordan style. We were allowed plenty of time to chat, explore, enjoy, take photos and take in the beautiful surroundings.
While the coach began a leisurely climb across the property, our tour guide Sean explained many of the unique aspects of the estate and the vineyards as we passed by. We then stopped under another large oak. After getting out, Sean pointed out a number of large oaks in the middle of vineyard rows that had been saved. We then walked up into vineyards pregnant with Bordeaux varietal red grapes that will ultimately become part the 2013 Jordan Cabernet blend. The stop presented ample opportunity to soak in the views, walk along the vineyard rows, taste ripening grapes and pepper Sean with questions.
Our final stop was at the highest point on the estate for another pairing of chef’s specialties with two vintages of Jordan Cabernet. The Vista Point sits at 650 feet elevation and is about a mile from the chateau. To enhance the experience, Jordan has built a glass enclosed pavilion with walls that slide open for those perfect wine country days. From the Vista Point we enjoyed the breathtaking 360 degree view that offers panoramas of the estate, Jordan vineyards, Alexander Valley, the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges along with surrounding vineyards and estates in the distance. The pavilion with its wood framed glass walls is the perfect balance of rustic elegance.
Once again the menu was intriguing and exciting. Served in a bento box was Miso-glazed Sonoma beef with Maitake mushrooms & braised endive with a selection of Sonoma County & European artisanal cheeses. Paired with these culinary treats was the 2002 and 2009 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The menu will change each day to offer the freshest fare. Beef will come from either the Jordan estate cattle or Sonoma County’s organic Mindful Meats. This is all in keeping with the Jordan’s philosophy of offering the freshest ingredients from local producers. We all enjoyed experimenting with pairing the two vintages with each of the chef’s selections.
While three hours may seem like a long tour, we were surprised the time passed so quickly. The pace was leisurely but not too slow. Upon our return to the chateau we were given a beautiful commemorative gift box. The contents of which must remain a surprise until you open your own Estate Tour Gift Box.
The Estate tour will only be offered during the summer and fall when the weather cooperates. The price of $120 per person is certainly higher than most winery experiences but few come with this level of education, elegance and hospitality. For those who seek a unique and memorable outdoor wine country experience coupled with wine and culinary masterpieces; The Jordan Estate Tour offers a tremendous value. This is a a whole new and higher level of wine country hospitality!