Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022 - 10

Aerial view of Russian River Valley.
Building the Jordan Chardonnay Super Blend was
quite different from our approach to a Bordeaux blend.
Though exploring new vineyard sources was the first step
for both projects, the similarities stop there. With Jordan
Cabernet, our super blend experiment also focused on
tweaking percentages of grape varieties, as well as types
and styles of oak barrels. We increased merlot in the blend
and shifted away from more aggressive American oak
barrels. With a white wine whose 100 percent varietal
composition and French oak barrel-aging were not up
for discussion, there were three approaches we took to
bring more layers of aroma, flavor and texture to the
wine: vineyard location, grape clones and alternative
aging vessels.
A WINEMAKER'S CLIMATE MIGRATION
Our first step was identifying new vineyards that could
bring more flavor dimension, as we did with the 2005
Jordan Cabernet Super Blend. This time, we sought
out cooler-climate vineyards located farther west in
the Russian River Valley to bring more bright acidity,
minerality and expressive citrus and stone fruit flavors.
As the climate continues to get warmer, the vineyards
we've worked with for years in eastern Russian River
aren't consistently delivering the crispness and juicy
acidity our style of chardonnay demands. We've started
our own mini climate migration within Sonoma County
as three new vineyards were added to the Jordan
Chardonnay program. Two Brothers Vineyard is in
Sebastopol Hills, in a much cooler area, so one would
assume that the beginning of the growing season would
be much later. However, for this site, bud break was
shortly after all our other sites, and what sets this site
apart is the slow maturation of flavors and the extra hang
time these grapes receive during the growing season.
The complexity of this juice as it's gently pressed has
so much depth in flavor. Martinelli Vineyard brings that
cool-climate dimension and ripe flavors at lower sugar
levels. The final new site is Dehlinger Ranch, which
probably excited me the most during harvest. This fruit
delivered everything a winemaker dreams of; if we made
a single-vineyard designate, this site would probably
be it. The acidity, minerality and fruit flavors were
so harmonious-the wine literally made itself.
BUILDING CHARACTER WITH CLONES
One of the attractions of these new vineyards was also
their clones. Grape varieties have different clones.
I always like to explain wine clones in terms of apples.
The broad category is apple, much like chardonnay,
but there are so many different kinds of apples, like your
traditional Red Delicious, which exhibit classic apple
flavor with slightly bitter skins and sweetness without
a ton of acidity. There are also Granny Smith apples that
really only bring tartness and acidity. I was on the hunt
for the chardonnay equivalent to the Gravenstein and
Honey Crisp-the apples that have it all-the perfect
blend of sweetness, acidity and flavor. It is the apple that
makes you drool at first bite. We found that chardonnay
clone equivalent in the rare Sees and Curtis Chardonnay
field selections at the Dehlinger Ranch. These grapes are
incredible; they produce an intense minerality I have not
tasted coming from our fruit before. The Sees has this
subtle peach aroma with some citrus, while the Curtis
brings more citrus and wet stone in flavor. The natural
mouth-watering acidity from both the Sees and Curtis is
unparalleled. These grapes add new dimensions to Jordan
Chardonnay. We also added Dijon Clone 95 for the first
time in 2020, and more in 2021. Clone 95 juice has
a richness and concentration to the fruit; it offers depth
without being overpowering and delivers citrus and floral
notes. Bringing new clones to the master blend is one
of the primary ways to bring more complex aromatics
and flavor to the wine.
PAIRING EGGS & CHARDONNAY
In the cellar, there are only a few ways left to experiment
with raising Jordan Chardonnay quality, as we have
already invested in a new press in 2020 and a stateof-the-art
bottling line in 2013. We also switched
to only aging part of the wine in new French oak
barrels beginning in 2014 and changed Jordan
Chardonnay closures to the Origine by DIAM
cork in 2019. Adding other fermentation and aging
vessels to complement French oak is really the
primary tool we have available to take this beautiful
wine to the next level. And for chardonnay, that
vessel is the concrete egg.
Egg-shaped vessels have been used to ferment,
store and transport wine since the Greco-Roman
Period-around 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists
in Georgia, Greece and Italy have reportedly found
the remains of oblong wine vessels made of clay,
crushed stone and other concrete-like, earthen
materials. Concrete fermenters evolved with
the times and continued to be used in Europe
for many centuries-until the French adopted oak
barrel vats, known as foudres. Concrete fermenters
(not the egg style) were also used by some of the
10 THE CELEBRATIONS ISSUE

Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022

Table of Contents
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Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022 - 1
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