As promised last week in this Sonoma County blog post, here is more on our recent trip to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country. Specifically, here are the details on our Jordan Winery Estate experience. The trip was so great thanks to all the help Jordan Winery provided in planning our itinerary in Sonoma! Why Sonoma? We’ve visited Napa many times over the years, but Sonoma only a few times, and Jordan’s one of Pete’s very favorite wines and now Jordan Winery is our very favorite place to visit in Sonoma.
Pete began drinking Jordan Cabernet more than 35 years ago and is a Platinum Member of the Jordan Wine Club. I first visited the winery in 2018 and met one of the folks in the marketing group while I was there. We had the library wine tasting and the general winery tour but did not have much time to spend visiting the rest of the estate or its offerings. Jordan Winery is a very beautiful vineyard on a gorgeous estate so I couldn’t wait to get back. Jordan Winery specializes in three wines – Chardonnay, Cabernet and Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble in France. The estate is nestled on 1,200 acres in the Alexander Valley and was founded in 1972. The Chateau is 58,000 square feet with ample room for wine making, tasting and entertaining. They also host many special events at Jordan Winery.
Basically all my travel stopped in March, but I really wanted to begin again as soon as safely possible to tell my readers what it is like out there. When Jordan Winery reached out and asked if I would consider coming out to see what the Sonoma County region looked like during this pandemic, I jumped on the chance to travel again. Our exact travel itinerary is listed in this blog post. Today we will focus on the time at Jordan Winery. Please know that due to Covid-19, I suggest you check with Jordan Winery to make sure all experiences are still available. Restrictions are shifting as we all navigate this pandemic. We felt extremely safe at Jordan Winery. All staff are wearing masks at all times. Pete and I wore masks in public and until seated at our table.
Jordan Winery Chateau Suite
We stayed at the Jordan Winery Chateau in Suite #1. There are 3 Chateau suites and 1 guest house available on the estate, but we absolutely loved Suite #1. To say it is spectacular does not do it justice! One balcony overlooks the terrace and grounds, but the opposite terrace opens to 20 – 6,000 gallon oak casks that are actively used in wine production. If you’re a wine lover, it doesn’t get any better than this. The building and suites are styled after a beautiful French Chateau. Our suite had a huge living room, oversized bath (with a bidet, of course), a dinette overlooking the wine making area, and a kitchenette. We could walk down the stairs from our suite, sit on the terrace and enjoy our Jordan Chardonnay watching the sunset. And we did! We got up early and walked across the drive into the 6.5 acre Chateau Block of Cabernet grapevines. The grapes were only just beginning to plump up and change color from green to red – what an experience! At night we could walk on the grassy fields in front of our Chateau Suite and see the Milky Way.
Paris on the Terrace
With all that is going on in the world, Jordan Winery has switched from indoor tastings to outdoor experiences. One of these which we can’t say enough about is called Paris on the Terrace Lunch. This is a tasting of select Jordan wines paired with spectacular offerings from Estate Chef, Todd Knoll. There are two seatings for this experience, one in late morning at 11 AM and one in the early afternoon at 2 PM. The food truly was that spectacular! And the wines, well, they are Pete’s favorites after all. The seating is limited to 12 people and the tables are at least 6 feet apart. We had our own intimate table for two for this two hour experience.
Chateau Block Vineyard Tasting
Speaking of wine, another Jordan Winery Experience we loved was the Chateau Block Tasting. Extraordinary! This was a traditional tasting of several of the Jordan wines in an outdoor setting on a hillside shaded terrace overlooking the Chateau Block vineyard and the Chateau. Great view! Among others, we tasted the 2009, 2015 and 2016 Jordan Cabernet releases as well as a Chardonnay. It’s like a catered wine picnic! Pete liked the 2016 and I liked the 2015 best. 2015 was the first vintage in 100% French Oak barrels.
Jordan Winery Estate Garden
Early one morning we walked down into the valley below the Chateau to the Jordan Winery vegetable and flower garden to see the different plants – and animals. The Estate’s floral arrangements are sourced from this garden as well as a good deal of the vegetables and fruits used in the meals and tastings. Talk about organic farm to table! As city folk, we learned a lot about how artichokes, tomatoes, raspberries string beans, lemons, persimmons and many other foods are grown.
As we walked back up the hill to the Chateau we passed the solar panel farm. Jordan has an electrical footprint that is carbon neutral using solar cells and reclaims all its waste water for agricultural use. There are many other energy saving and organic activities at the winery. You can read about them here.
On Thursday evening we had a complimentary ride in one of the Estate’s Jordan Mobiles (Mercedes of course) and we were treated to a few of Jordan’s marketing videos. One was a satire of a recent pop song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. The video Blurred Vines features the winery owner, John Jordan, and some of the employees. It’s really a fun video with John walking up to a table that had two bottles of well-known brands on the table, throwing them in the trash and replacing them with Jordan Cab. There are several hilarious videos that can be seen here.
This just made us want to meet Mr. Jordan so much more than we already did. The staff was kind enough to arrange this and we were thrilled we were able to talk to John. He is the most interesting winery owner we’ve ever met! The winery, which he bought from his parents 14 years ago, is just one of his many pursuits. He is a US Naval intelligence officer, a family lawyer, speaks fluent German and Russian, and a guest commentator for a major news network. He is a pilot with over 12,000 hours logged, a CFII and has two jets he flies. He and Pete even got to discuss a bunch of pilot things which really capped off our visit.
Maggie Kruse is the winemaker and joined Jordan Winery in 2006 as enologist. After several promotions she became head winemaker in 2019. We met Maggie at the Jordan Winery 2015 Cabernet release event in Dallas last year. She’s an absolute delight!
As you can tell, we thoroughly enjoyed the Jordan Winery segment of our Sonoma trip and highly recommend their wines (and olive oil), and suggest you build up your Jordan Wine Club membership to the level where you can stay at the Chateau a couple of nights. This is definitely a perk at Jordan Winery. You can not book this chateau suite stay, you have to earn it. Wouldn’t it be fun to stay there during wine crush?
Why Sonoma County for wine tasting? Traditionally, more folks have gone to Napa than Sonoma, probably because it is a bit closer to San Francisco. But Sonoma is quite a hidden gem. t’s much more laid back and less formal compared to Napa. It’s also less expensive for just about everything. Sonoma has 70,000 acres under cultivation vs 45,000 acres for Napa. Finally, Sonoma has 450 wineries vs 390 for Napa. Don’t get me wrong, we like Napa, too, but Sonoma has grown to be much more than just the “other valley”. Plus, flying into Santa Rosa airport is much more convenient and is situated in Sonoma County.
Did you know that the Napa and Sonoma Valleys are the second most visited attraction in California after Disneyland? The wineries, the weather and the food combine to make this area extremely attractive.
Pete and I highly recommend a visit to Jordan Winery. Have you been?
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. All of my outfits that I packed for this trip can be found here.
photo: Pete Foster
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Thank you to Jordan Winery for hosting us on this trip. All opinions are my own.Tags: california, Healdsburg, Jordan Winery, sonoma, Sonoma County, wine country