This is a Lytro photo of some petit verdot grapes we recently saw at the Jordan estates in Sonoma county. Click around to play with the focus, you can also click and drag around for the new perspective shift. If you double click, you can zoom in and out. Pretty cool.
I recently went to a preview tour at Jordan Winery, who are launching their new Estate Tour & Tasting experience in early September. So now, in addition to coming in for wine tasting, you can now sign up for a three hour tour of the vineyards in a posh and swanky van, stopping at cool shady glens with lovely views where you can taste Jordan’s Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines and estate-grown olive oil, all paired with foods grown locally and prepared by the winery’s executive chef.
We met outside the chateau where John Jordan (the CEO) greeted us along with communications director Lisa Mattson, welcoming us with fresh fruit, house made pastries, fruit juice and refreshing glasses of cucumber infused water, while he (John Jordan) entertained us with a history of how it all began.
We loaded into the Jordan Winery shuttle bus, it felt like a cush private plane inside and was blissfully cool. We wound our way through the near 1,200 acre property, three-quarters of which is left as natural habitat with 110 acres of vineyards, 18 acres of olive trees, in addition to beautiful gardens, lakes, pastures and woods.
The vineyards are dotted with oak trees which resemble stalks of broccoli in the distance…
We loved the chicken coop behind a red barn that was occupied with Black Australorp chickens, who supply eggs for pastries and desserts.
We met their two adorable miniature donkeys, Goose and Maverick, who sniffed our fingers looking for treats. There is also a herd of cattle with up to 22 cows, which rotate their grazing between the pastures next to their gardens.
Executive Chef Todd Knoll was waiting for us in the expansive garden. He showed us the wide variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are all used in the kitchen. We met his wife Nitsa, who is the Director of Hospitality and Events and is very talented at floral design, bringing the outside in.
They pulled a fig off the tree and we enjoyed pieces of the warm sweet flesh.
The apples hanging in the trees looked ready to eat
We got back into the bus which had been quietly running with the air on (ahhhh), and we toodled onward to a beautiful terrace overlooking a picturesque lake where I photographed a fake duck.
We relaxed at a long stone table enjoying the cool shade under the canopy of the surrounding Seven Oaks.
Our places at the table were marked with two wine glasses and a beautiful box waiting to be opened. Inside were two stone bowls, one was filled with seasoned rice and topped with slices of sweet stone fruit with Jordan extra virgin olive oil, flavored with Sonoma honey and citrus. I never thought I would enjoy fruit chirashi but it was solidly excellent, refreshing and light… The other bowl contained a spiced garden escabeche with gravensten apple vinaigrette and wild fennel, great bold flavors. A great balance between the two dishes. We sampled the 2010 and 2011 Chardonnay and I learned that Jordan is known for creating food friendly wines and only produces Chardonnay using grapes from the Russian River valley and Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes grown in the Alexander valley.
We dunked crackers and slices of baguette into bowls of their delectable 2011 Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
A really nice spot!
We walked around the vines where we took pictures of the various grapes, and admired this bench made from a tree that fell down. Back in the Jordan bus, we drove past an array of solar panels that provide more than 75% of their electrical needs, and Lisa talked about their sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint.
Our next stop was Vista Point, which is a gorgeous hilltop pavilion with expansive views of the entire Alexander Valley. The structure was still under construction but will have windows to provide shelter from the winds.
Inside was a long table lined with wooden boxes topped with individual covered cast iron cocotte and we were served tastes of the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2009 was full of concentrated blackberry, cassis and was so good with the fruit and cheese pairings. Fig drizzled with honey and sea salt and an oregano blossom paired with Marin French Cheese Triple Crème Brie with Truffles, which was rich and specked with pungent Urbani Italian Black Truffles. My favorite of the cheese/fruit pairs.
Membrillo or Quince Paste, which tastes like a bright summer day served with a slice of Ossau-Iraty, a French sheep’s milk cheese made by Fromagerie Agour which has been recognized as one of the finest cheeses in the world, twice! The cheese is cave aged, its fragrance is reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts, and taste sweet and buttery. There was a small piece of Beemster classic extra-aged gouda, a rich orange caramel color with a smooth, creamy texture punctuated little crunchy crystals of salt within the cheese.
Inside of the adorable Staub cocotte (that we all coveted by the way) were tender slices of miso glazed Sonoma beef with Maitake mushrooms, braised endive, peas, eggplant and quinoa topped with a sprig of fresh tarragon. We were served the winemaker’s favorite vintage 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley. A lovely wine, tannins and fruit in balance, with a soft finish that oozes blackberry and vanilla, it went very well with the mild flavors of the beef dish, and the cheese too…
that’s quite a view!
We returned to a short tour of the main chateau and secret boardroom, and I had to notice the many gorgeous floral arrangements.
I took the picture of the floral arrangement, photobombing the group behind the gift bags we all received. It was a very enjoyable day that felt like it was overflowing with gorgeousness… we felt a bit pampered too.
Here’s a link to the different types of tastings you can experience at Jordan Winery. They have a basic tasting in the Library ($20/1 hr), or one that includes a walking tour of the winery with small bites ($30/1.5 hrs), or for the ultimate and intimate Jordan experience you can go full out and take the Estate and Tasting tour ($120/3 hrs) beginning September 5, 2013. The estate tours are offered Thursdays through Mondays until mid-November (weather permitting).