Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 14, 2019 - 17

The greatest cabernets in the world share a
common thread. From Château Pétrus and
Château Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux to Colgin
and Harlan Estate in Napa Valley, all are aged
exclusively in French oak barrels.
From day one, Jordan was an homage to First
Growth Bordeaux. The French mindset was infused
into all aspects of Jordan, from the design of the
chateau and dining room to the grapes planted at
the estate and the winemaking methods used to
craft elegant, old-world-style wines.
With the release of the 2015 Alexander Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon, Jordan has come full circle in
its promise to honor French traditions in America
by aging the wine in all French oak barrels for the
first time in history. Winemaker Rob Davis, who
just completed his 43rd
harvest at Jordan, assures
the style of Jordan Cabernet has not changed,
though its complexity has deepened.
" The decision to transition from the blend of
American and French oak to 100 percent French
oak barrels was a natural progression in our quest
to make every vintage better than the last, " Davis
explained. " French oak, with its greater array
of complex tannins and much greater porosity,
lends itself much more to the black fruits and
deeper, richer flavors we've achieved through
new vineyards. "
The obvious question is, what took so long,
especially when the majority of the world's finest
Bordeaux-style red wines are aged in French oak?
According to Davis, the Jordan grapes simply
weren't ready for all tonnellerie française until the
last decade.
When John Jordan took the reins in 2005, Davis
created a prototype of his dream Jordan Cabernet
Sauvignon from that vintage, using only his top 25
percent of grapes from the blend, aged entirely
in French oak barrels from a particular forest in
central France. This " Super Blend " was created
to show the potential for elevating quality even
higher while staying true to the Jordan house style.
" I love it, " Jordan said after his first taste in 2008.
" I wish we could make it all taste like this. "
" We can make a blend like this that will represent
our total production because the grape growers
we're working with now have vineyard soils similar
to the top premier cru classé wines, " Davis said.
" I just need a few years to do that. "
Jordan gave Davis latitude to continue refining
the vineyard sources, focusing on finding sites
with the ideal soils and locations for growing
exceptional cabernet and merlot grapes (see " The
Art of Blending " in vol. #7 at jordanwinery.com/
magazine). By 2012, the flavor concentration and
natural tannins were so beautiful in the young
wines, Davis had his winemaking staff put together
two blends: one with the standard American and
French oak medley and one solely French oak.
Hands down in a blind tasting, everyone chose the
100 percent French oak blend.
" 2012 was really a turning point, " Davis said.
" That's when John gave us the green light to
make the move to all French. "
The full transition took another three years, as
new American oak barrels, which are filled three
times during their lifespan in the Jordan cellar,
completed their cycle before being retired.
17
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Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 14, 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 14, 2019

Table of Contents
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