Monday, August 19, 2013

Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting

If I ask you about your favorite wine, you will probably tell me where you enjoyed it and with whom. Perhaps it was at a picnic on a perfectly sunny day, or on a date with the love of your life. Maybe it was at the winery where the wine was made, but probably not. My point is this, wine, like food, is enjoyed in context. It can be very hard for a winery to create a truly memorable experience with wine, but one winery is giving it a shot. 

I'm lucky to have gotten to spend some time at the Jordan winery and to enjoy firsthand the food, wine and hospitality that they are about. I've stayed on their property, had lunch and a full tasting, attended one of their famous halloween parties and gotten to know their talented and creative chef and his wife who heads up hospitality and events. Those experiences have been limited to a privileged few, up till now. And while Jordan uses as many means possible to share the winery experience and lifestyle virtually including photography, videos and even a blog, nothing takes the place of being there. 
The soon-to-be-launched Jordan Winery Estate Tour & Tasting is best described as a fully immersive affair. You start at the winery for a little continental breakfast with fresh fruit grown on the property plus fresh baked goods. 

The first leg of the journey takes you to the garden where you get to see the fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers growing and perhaps enjoy a nibble of something you pick. Across from the garden are a couple of extremely friendly and adorable donkeys and a chicken coop with about a dozen or so chickens, 
Next you'll continue your ride around the estate which is mostly undeveloped and preserved. The estate is 1200 acres including 112 which are used for vineyards and 18 acres with olive trees, gardens, lakes pastures and woods. On the ride you'll likely see some cattle, a mix of Texas longhorn and black angus cross breeds. 
The next stop is at a pretty lake one of two on the property, with a view of  the olive orchard and vineyards. At this point you'll enjoy a selection of  Russian River Chardonnay and two dishes, a fresh escabeche of vegetables and some sushi rice with fruit. The dishes are light but complement the wine in a fresh unexpected way. Dip your bread into olive oil from the estate while feeling the breeze waft through the olive trees. 
And then it's on to a vineyard to see the progress of the vines and grapes. Ask questions, take pictures, pluck a grape and pop it in your mouth; this is where wines are born. 
Finally your journey takes you to a peak, with 360 degree views looking down into the valleys below surrounded by mountain ranges. Another few bites await, some beef likely from the ranch with seasonal vegetables and a selection of cheeses (including a delectable truffled brie from Marin French Cheese), crackers and bread and Jordan's Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I kept imagining what a perfect spot this would be for a proposal or perhaps to celebrate a special anniversary. There is a little treat at the end of the experience, but I think it's best to keep at least one thing a surprise.

The Jordan Winery Estate Tour & Tasting takes several hours and is not cheap at $120 per person, but it has the potential to be quite memorable. Tours run from mid April through mid November, and begin at 10 am, reservations available online. My thanks to Jordan for allowing me a sneak peek!

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Jordan Winery and helped to organize a preview visit for food and wine bloggers, but I was not financially compensated.