Jordan Takes Another Step to Further Its French-Forward Identity

Jordan Winery has always embraced French wine principles, from its grape varieties and its terroir-led winemaking philosophy to its beautiful Sonoma County château. Just one factor in Jordan's red wine production that was distinctly different was its use of American oak.

From the first vintage, Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon was made with an even split of French and American oak. The idea was to nod to Bordeaux's First Growths while paying homage to the wine's origin. Another reason to use American oak was for its role in covering the green, pyrazine tones that Cabernet Sauvignon could produce in certain estate blocks. 

The vines grew older and developed more concentrated flavor while the Jordan team became more and more selective. With winemaker Rob Davis at the helm (now at Jordan over forty years), they eventually excluded the valley floor blocks from their blends. The more refined character of the new wine changed such that the team realized it was time to shift to more subtle oak, that is 100% French oak. After a four year ramp up that began in 2011, the 2015 is the first release of Cabernet Sauvignon aged entirely in French oak barrels. 

90
Jordan 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 13.8% $57
This gentle, elegant red smells of black plums and mulberries. As the wine opens up, mocha and tobacco show up but remain discreet. Similar to the Chardonnay, the aromatics distinctly lean toward the European though with this bottling toward Bordeaux. (It certainly helps that as of the 2015 vintage the winery has moved entirely away from American oak in favor of French oak.) Though granular, the tannins have a marble-like smoothness. The one element that sticks out is the chipper, even lightly tart, acidity. I've luckily enjoyed many a well-aged Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, and the medium concentration and nicely layered palate suggest this very drinkable vintage should age nicely through the mid-term.
Drink: 2019-23 

91
Jordan 2017 Chardonnay Russian River Valley 13.7%
This elegant wine smells like a top-class Chardonnay. Though youthful, it is clearly distinct from most of its Russian River counterparts. Its aromas are focused on nutty tones rather than boisteroiusly bold fruit. Its almost more Meursault on the nose than California. Then, the palate turns on a touch of that charasmatic Sonoma plumpness that is precisely tuned with high-pitched, mouth-watering acidity. Yellow apples and baked pie crust mesh with crunchy, white button mushrooms to provide an intriguing and delightfully long finish that is clean and not palate-clinging. This is a delightfully unique Chardonnay for the Russian River!
Drink: 2019-24