The Jordan Winery is known for its rich Carbernet Sauvignon and bright Chardonnay. The beautiful winery pampers guests with its gorgeous landscape, unique wines, and five star recipes that enhance the pleasure of the wine tastings.
Money Can't Buy You Everything
It's amazing what money can buy if you really want it, but there are still limits. Jordan Winery is proof of those limits. Tom Jordan built his fortune in the oil business and in the early 1970's, he turned his passion to wine and buying a famous Bordeaux Estate. Tom was a huge fan of Bordeaux wines, and the opportunity came up to buy one of the premier properties in Bordeaux itself: Chateau Margaux. He had the money to purchase it, but the deal fell through because the sellers wanted to keep its French heritage and not sell to an "outsider." It was back to square one, when his thoughts turned to the possibility of building a winery instead of purchasing one.
The Move to Sonoma County
The story goes that Tom was sitting at a San Francisco restaurant having dinner with friends when the waiter recommended a Napa Valley Cabernet, Georges de Latour from BV in Napa. He fell in love with it, and immediately started looking for property in California in which to produce his Bordeaux wine. In 1972, Jordan acquired 275 acres of prune orchards for conversion to vineyards, plus 1300 acres of rolling oak woodlands as a site for the future winery facility in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.
Jordan built a beautiful facility up a long driveway lined with trees. It is a chateau to mimic the French style, complete with ivy-lined brick walls and large oak doors. His focus was going to be Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and to start the winemaking off, he hired the legendary André Tchelistcheff. Tchelistcheff was world-renowned for bringing Cabernet Sauvignon to Napa and putting it on the chart, making Napa what it is today as far as Cab producing status goes.
In 1976 Jordan released its first vintage. If you talk to Tom Jordan about it, he describes the first time he and André sat down to taste it as a "humbling experience."
"André told me that the wine has a delicate, more feminine quality to it -- not like Napa. Don't fight this, embrace it." Jordan joked that while he accepted the fact that his wine was not a powerhouse wine, the fact that it was called "feminine" was a little chip away at his masculinity.
Right now Jordan Winery makes Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and they actually can boast about being the number one restaurant Cabernet sold in the U.S. The winery made a Port once, but it is a rarity and only used for the owner and very private parties.
Rob Davis has been the winemaker at Jordan since the 1977 vintage (he studied under Tchelistcheff in 1976), so the style year to year has been consistent. While Tom Jordan has since handed the reigns over to his son John, you may still be able to catch a glimpse of him around the winery with his trademark Cuban cigar in his mouth.
Visiting the winery is must if you're in Northern California, but beware that reservations are the only way you can visit. They do tours and tasting by appointment, and you cannot taste the wine if you do not go on the tour. It's a beautiful spot not to miss, so be sure to book a tour next time you're out!