Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 14, 2019 - 9

a little rain between the white and red grape
harvests to cleanse the Bordeaux variety grapes.
The weather was glorious throughout October
with cool, foggy mornings and sunny days.
Grapes Were Small in Size
When fruit set occurred in June, the 2018
crop looked average in size, and I called it an
" average but not great " crop size in my first
Facebook Live growing season report of the
vintage. I even said that 2018 clusters weren't
going to be as full as 2012 or even 2016. But as
summer progressed, the clusters kept filling out
beautifully, and there were many more berries
per cluster than usual. This is what happened
in 2012. The similarities between the 2012 and
2018 vintages gave me cause to use the 2012
mid-palate and depth of fruit concentrated.
The gorgeous weather continued in October,
when winemakers usually worry about fall rains
and the vines beginning to shut down for the
season. At the same time pumpkins were being
harvested for Halloween d├ęcor, winemakers
were able to work at a more relaxing pace, let
fermentations progress naturally and wait to
pick the grapes at just the right moment.
This allowed the smaller berries of 2018 to
develop a very intense level of dark fruit flavors
and mature tannins in the red wine grapes and
very bright, apple flavors in the chardonnay
grapes. 2018 was the first vintage since 2010
that we were still harvesting grapes the morning
of the Jordan Halloween party (October 21).
cluster weights in assessing the crop level for
2018. It is always a big guess as to how many
tons per acre a block of grapes will produce.
Experience certainly helps, but grower and
winemaker are still more often wrong than
right with their crop estimates. And 2018 was
no exception. As the cool weather prevailed
through much of the summer, the vines kept
drinking up the water from the irrigation and
gleefully putting it in the clusters. Despite
the small berries, grape cluster sizes in many
growers' blocks were at a record high.
Ultimate Hang-Time
August was quite cool, and the heat spikes that
end of summer usually delivers never arrived in
Sonoma. The days had such long, cool mornings
and moderately warm afternoons in September
that we called off all Jordan Chardonnay picks,
giving the grapes more time to hang and
develop more intense flavors. With no threat of
rain in the forecast in early or mid-September,
winemakers had the luxury of letting all the
grapes further mature as the varietal aroma,
High Quantity and Quality Grapes
Both winegrower and winemaker are content
with a bountiful harvest, but winemakers are
only content when the bountiful vintage means
abundant aromas, rich flavors and depth of fruit
character. We were all smiles in September when
the 2018 grape harvest began. It's very rare that
all of these things happen in concert-there's
usually some sort of issue with a little rain or a
heat spike. But 2018, like 2012, was one of those
phenomenal, special harvests where plentiful was
the defining descriptor-lots of beautiful grapes
with tremendous flavor concentration in the
berries. Even though the berries were smaller,
the weight of the record-breaking cabernet
sauvignon clusters was astounding-about
0.40 pounds compared to the typical 0.25 to
0.30 pound per cluster of grapes. One grower
doubled his normal yield, but the depth of flavor
wasn't impacted at all from the copious cluster
weights. The blackberry and cassis flavors in the
cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes were
exceptional, and the natural grape tannins were
ideal. Winemaking and grape growing are earth
sciences, subject to the variable nature of each
vintage. After a difficult 2017 with excessive heat
and small yields from every grower, we believe
that we all deserved a generous harvest like 2018.
With the " barn " full of race horses, our
winemaking team began assembling the 2018
blend in winter. Barrels from our friends in France
began to arrive, then we started the process of
pumping out the 2017 vintage in barrels to make
room for our new young child, the 2018. The cycle
continues each year and the excitement of the
new harvest inspires our senses as to how we will
shape the new vintage to earn the name Jordan.
The 2018 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon will
release in spring 2022, and the 2018 Jordan
Chardonnay will release in spring 2020.
Rob Davis has been winemaker at Jordan since the inaugural 1976 vintage.
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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
Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 14, 2019 - Cover1
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