Jordan Vineyard & Winery occupies a rambling French-style “chateau” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. Since its founding in 1972, the operation has been almost as much about food and hospitality as it has been about its French-inspired wines. Each tasting experience at Jordan involves wine and food pairings, and the estate even has its own executive chef.
Todd Knoll creates delectable dinners for the winery’s rewards members and for groups like the one I was fortunate to be part of earlier this month through the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference.
The winery’s proprietor John Jordan hosted us in the barrel room for an excellent three-course meal. Jordan’s current release Russian River Valley chardonnay paired beautifully with a delicious poached halibut; the current release Alexander Valley cabernet was lovely with duck breast; and the spectacular 2003 cabernet was absolutely singing alongside the final cheese plate.
Test Run for a New & Unique Tasting
Before dinner, we were treated to a new tasting that no one outside the winery had experienced – a caviar and wine pairing.
I, for one, was happy to be a guinea pig!
Jordan works with Tsar Nicoulai Caviar for this unique tasting. The California company makes caviar and roe from fish raised at its aquaculture farm near Sacramento.
The tasting featured four different roes infused with flavors ranging from wasabi to ginger to saffron to truffles, along with surprising pairings that went well beyond the traditional Champagne.
The saffron-beet roe, for example, was paired with the lovely, elegant 2009 Jordan Alexander Valley cabernet. (Yes, red wine and caviar!) The ginger roe paired very nicely with the 2014 Russian River Valley chardonnay.
For the grand finale, however, the folks at Jordan wisely decided on a classic. They created a Champagne and caviar pairing that showcases two new Jordan collaborations.
Jordan Champagne & Caviar: All About Collaboration
Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar is a true caviar, made by Tsar Nicoulai from California white sturgeon. Jordan’s chef Todd Knoll created a special salt to cure the eggs, using a type of seaweed called kombu harvested from the Sonoma Coast. The resulting caviar was released in May.
The Champagne comes with a longer story.
Jordan made its own Champagne-style California sparkling wine starting in the late 1980s. “J by Jordan” split off and became a separate sparkling house in the early 1990s, owned and operated by Judy Jordan, daughter of Jordan’s founder Tom. Jordan Winery continued to greet guests with a glass of J sparkling until just two years ago, when Judy sold J Winery to E&J Gallo.
Jordan wanted to stay true to its commitment to small, family-owned, independent wine enterprises. When J sparkling came under the Gallo umbrella, they felt it no longer fit the bill. But Jordan didn’t want to give up its traditional bubbly greeting.
Instead of getting back into the sparkling wine business, Jordan decided to partner with a family-owned winery in Champagne. AR Lenoble is based in Damery, just northwest of Epernay. This spring, it debuted the NV Jordan Cuvee, a zippy, bone-dry blend of mostly estate-grown chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. The wine is exclusive to Jordan and can only be purchased at the winery.
Jordan can now say it has its own Champagne and caviar, though neither is made onsite. The pairing is classically delicious, and the entire caviar pairing experience was both educational and decadent.
Our test run must’ve gone well because Jordan now lists the tasting on its website. It’s only available to the winery’s rewards members, though, so if it sounds tempting, the club is the only way to access this unique experience.