Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 10

F

ew views on the 1,200-acre Jordan Estate are as picturesque
as those from the aptly named Vista Point. From this
particular knoll, situated at the back of the property, visitors
can see the entire Alexander Valley stretching to the north, the
giant shoulders of Mount St. Helena to the east, the Russian River
and downtown Healdsburg to the south and the mouth of the Dry
Creek Valley to the west. In short, Vista Point is a spectacular place
to experience wine and food pairing. It's the perfect snapshot of
Sonoma County's diversity in one spot.

County needed an outdoor fine dining experience with a
spectacular location for watching a sunset," he says. "And our
culinary team is always up for a challenge."

That's precisely why in the summer of 2013 Jordan built the
Vista Point pavilion at the very top of that hill-to provide guests
with a shaded structure where they could relax and enjoy the
culmination of the new Estate Tour & Tasting-seated food
pairings by Executive Chef Todd Knoll, created to complement
different vintages of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon (see Volume
9 cover story). For the first time since the winery was founded,
guests could experience what John Jordan considers to be the
very best view on the entire property. Fodors has since called it
the best view in all of Alexander Valley.

Because every meal is different, it's hard to predict now what
Chef Knoll will serve later this summer. He begins his preparations
months before, when new seedlings are planted in the garden.
He begins to think about whether Green Zebra, Brandywine or
Purple Russian tomatoes might work best in a salad course or
which melons, cucumbers and herbs might complement an
appetizer or amuse-bouche. With more than 20 different varieties
of heirloom tomatoes, eight melons and seven carrots to choose
from alone (see "All Grown Up," page 14), recipes begin to form
in the chef's mind. As the harvest dates for fruits and vegetables
approach, the chef spends each morning in the garden, checking
progress to ensure that the produce planted is on track for optimal
ripeness come event time.

Formal dinners in the open-air pavilion-aptly named Sunset
Suppers for the painted skies and communal seating-started in
the summer of 2014 and sold out within a few weeks. Here's a look
at what drives these one-of-a-kind meals in the vineyard, and what you
can expect when you sign up to experience it for yourself.
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Ever since the Jordans purchased the land in 1974, Vista Point
was considered one of the very best views on the hill-shrouded
property. It's always been a favorite lunch spot for the vineyard
team and where Winemaker Rob Davis likes to end his evening
runs through the vineyards. The only problem was that Vista
Point also played an important role as a tiny quarry where Ranch
Manager Brent Young could source rocks for road and wall repairs
around Jordan Estate. It was in no shape to welcome guests.
Then, in 2013, the creation of the Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting
changed everything.
This three-hour tour, in which guests traverse the property in a
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and sample Chef Knoll's seasonal food
with Jordan wines at various spots along the way, was built around
the bounty of Sonoma County. During his annual vacation on the
Big Island of Hawaii where outdoor excursions are ubiquitous,
John Jordan had an idea: Why not create the ultimate wining and
dining experience that engaged all of the senses?
"All of a sudden, it was clear to me," John Jordan says. "We had the
access. We had the infrastructure. It was time to share Vista Point."
Construction on the Vista Point pavilion began a few months later.
By August 2013, the facility was complete-just in time to offer
Jordan Estate Rewards members a sneak peek before opening
that fall. The final result was a permanent structure with three walls
of windows that open completely, allowing for unobstructed views
in almost every direction. A tasting table sits in the middle of the
bright space. During the seated Estate Tour tastings, guests might
spot hawks soaring on thermals, turkeys meandering through the
vineyards and beard-like moss swaying from oak trees in the wind.
Ideas on how to share this special corner of Sonoma County with
guests continued to flow from there, and Sunset Supper at Vista
Point was born.
Estate Tours conclude at Vista Point around one o'clock in the
afternoon. The view is beautiful mid-day, but it is breathtaking
during sunset, according to John Jordan. "We decided Sonoma
10

PREPARING AN UNFORGETTABLE FEAST
If the pavilion is the canvas, the meals themselves are the art-
deftly prepared multi-course dinners that incorporate as many
ingredients as possible from the garden and orchards on the
Jordan Estate.

One week before the dinner, attention turns to the proteins and
menu creation. Sustainable meats are chosen based on availability,
and after another visit to the garden for taste-testing, Knoll crafts
a menu and sketches by hand the way he envisions each dish to
look. (He remains one of a rare breed of chefs to draw his dishes
before preparing them.) The estate sommelier then meets with
the chef to determine which vintages of Jordan Chardonnay
and Cabernet Sauvignon might pair best with the menu he
has created.
The remainder of the prep for Sunset Suppers takes place between
36 and 12 hours before the meals are served.
Down in the winery kitchen, Knoll and his staff orchestrate all
precision cooking, such as roasting vegetables and marinating
and cooking meats in the sous vide method, which poaches food
in airtight bags. This process locks in flavor, moisture and nutrition.
Essentially, Knoll brings the dishes to the edge of completion, and
then handles the grilling, smoking or any other live-fire cooking
outdoors at Vista Point.
"Utilizing this method is effective for gently poaching ingredients
very precisely," he explains. "Sous vide is one of the best ways
to cook for a large number of guests simultaneously while
ensuring that every one of them receives a perfectly cooked and
flavorful portion."
Because Knoll and his team perform a sizable portion of the
preparation the day before each supper, the day of the event
comprises picking tomatoes, herbs, and edible flowers from the
garden, moving tables, chairs, tableware, wine glasses and linens
to the pavilion, creating the place settings for each guest, and
finishing and plating dishes in a temporary kitchen at Vista Point.
"That's part of being a chef for a winery," Knoll says. "You have
to be creative and able to deliver a fine dining experience in the
middle of a vineyard."
OTHER FINE TOUCHES
But there's more to Jordan's memorable Sunset Suppers than just
food and wine. Director of Hospitality & Events Nitsa Knoll, wife of
Chef Knoll, is in charge of d├ęcor, and she focuses on incorporating
Jordan Estate flora into her centerpieces and place settings.


http://www.jordanwinery.com/about/jordan-estate http://www.jordanwinery.com/visit/tours-and-tastings/estate-tour-tasting https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2014vol9/ https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2014vol9/

Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015

Contents
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 1
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 2
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - Contents
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 4
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 5
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 6
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 7
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 8
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 9
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 10
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 11
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 12
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 13
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 14
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 15
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 16
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 17
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 18
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 19
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 20
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 21
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 22
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 23
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 24
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 25
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 26
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 27
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 28
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 29
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 30
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 31
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 32
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 33
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 34
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 35
Jordan Estate Tales - Volume 10, 2015 - 36
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2016vol11
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2015vol10
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2014vol9
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2011vol6
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2012vol7
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/eloquent/jordanestatetales2013vol8
https://www.nxtbook.com/dino/jordanestatetales/jordanestatetales
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com