Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022 - 15

WINE
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT
Aerial view of the estate's replanted
Dragon Block; UberVines arrive from
the nursery; aerial view of viticulture
team planting UberVines of merlot
at the estate's River Block; a tractor
prepares for soil ripping.
vineyard nursery and taste through over 20
different clones of cabernet sauvignon. What
really sets the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon
style apart
is
the balance and integration
of the grape tannins and oak. To be able to taste
through the different clones and chew the skins
and seeds, from which the tannins originate, was
enlightening for our winemaker. Just by chewing
on the skins, we could tell which clones were right
for our house style. The smooth subtle tannins
of Clone 2, 7, 8 and 47 were delicious, and, while
other clones were beautiful, the tannins were
bigger and more astringent.
FROM THE GROUND UP
While changes to grape varietals are the most
significant, other modifications were equally
as important.
Rootstocks also received a major makeover.
With the last Jordan Estate planting in the
mid-1990s, we had over half of the plantings
with the same rootstock across the ranch due
to the perceived levels of magnesium in the soil-
rootstock 4453. This rootstock was common
in the 1990s. We may only use a very small
amount of this rootstock where appropriate
during the replant, less than two percent.
With the replant, rootstocks now change
by soil type. There are five distinct soil types
at Jordan Estate. After the replant, we'll have
at least five different rootstocks, though there
are two rootstocks, SO4 and 101-14, that will
be predominant. These are earlier ripening
rootstocks best suited to both our soil type
and the cooler climate in the southern end
of Alexander Valley, closer to the Russian River.
A NEW CYCLE
Soils need time to renew after supporting
grapevines for decades, so each piece of land
is left fallow for 24 to 36 months. During this time,
cover crops are sowed to enhance the health of
the soil, such as nitrogen-rich legumes, clover
and straw. (Nitrogen deficiency is common
in soils in the hillsides of Alexander Valley.)
A tractor prepares the vineyard row for nutrient
amendments and plant placement using a process
called deep ripping. The tractor plunges a metal
finned shank below the surface in the exact row
where the plants will be placed, loosening the
soil and unearthing the rocks to make it easier
for roots to spread below the surface. A calcium
amendment called gypsum is applied, along with
potassium and compost, where the new vines
will be planted. The last step before planting
is adding the complex irrigation system and trellis.
The following spring or summer, depending
on the winter rainfall, the new grapevines are
planted. This cycle began in 2017 with two
vineyard blocks being planted, and every year,
gradually, two to three vineyards were earmarked
to begin the replant process.
A HARVEST TO REMEMBER
Every vintage, every growing season takes
countless time and patience-patience where
Mother Nature is ultimately the beholder
of each harvest's fate. I remember holding my
breath before Maggie tasted the Chateau Block
juice for the first time-I felt a combination
of relief and joy when I heard the excitement
in Maggie's voice. Our estate fruit was making its
way back into the Jordan blend-a momentous
and incredible achievement for the entire team
and a big step in our replanting journey. It was
a year to remember. P
Brent Young is the director of agricultural operations
at Jordan Vineyard & Winery.
WINECOUNTRYTABLE.COM 15
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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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