Monday, September 30, 2013

Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting.

I wanted to share this particular experience with you all because, well,  I love Jordan...

The wines.  The people.  The estate.

Located in the heart of the Alexander Valley amidst the rolling, burnished hills and ancient oak trees of Sonoma County, Jordan Vineyard and Winery sits quietly and graciously alone, in an almost palatial fashion.  With it's gorgeous ivy-covered chateau, extensive lawns, exquisite guest suites and fantastic wines (of course), Jordan Winery has long been a favorite of aficionados from all over the world.  

"One of the few wine country estates with nearly 1,000 acres dedicated to to natural habitat, Jordan Estate is a journey for all senses, enchanting wine lovers, epicures and nature lovers alike."

Enchanting indeed.  The hubbs and I have been fans for years, and were lucky enough to be invited to test drive a very special opportunity that Jordan has now made available to the public-- an estate tour and tasting.  Previously, guests were only able to visit Jordan by appointment or invitation, which was limited to the visiting the winery grounds and tasting room.  Now, by reservation, guests can experience the entire estate by touring in Jordan's super-luxe coach, experiencing points-of-interest all throughout the property.  All this, while sampling Jordan's wines and indulging in property-grown food pairings, prepared by Estate Executive Chef, Todd Knoll. 

The scones. The scones!
You will start by touring the 40-year-old Winery Chateau, which radiates classic French sophistication and elegance. Marvel at the towering oak casks in the cellar room, ornate architectural details and luscious surrounding gardens while learning the history of the Jordan family legacy.  On our visit, we were presented a lovely breakfast of house-made scones, freshly squeezed orange juice, house-made preserves and fresh fruit grown on the property.  A delicious beginning.

Fruit Orchard.
Tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans.
Continue on, meandering down through the hills- keep your eyes open for wildlife!  The Jordan Estate property is teeming with birds, deer, rabbits and other woodland creatures all living peacefully and happily amongst the vines.  Your next stop is the Chef's Garden, nearly an acre of vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs that provide Chef Knoll with "inspiration for seasonal, farm-fresh dishes to pair with Jordan Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon."  The garden was copious and thriving for us, with ripened fruits and vegetables that we were encouraged to sample.  We tasted figs, tomatoes, onions, carrots, basil, apples and fresh herbs, all of which were simply mouth-watering.

Bouquet anyone?
Fell in love with these fire-colored roses.
Next door to the chef's garden, you will have the pleasure of viewing (and perhaps picking a flower or two) at their very own cutting flower garden.  It here that the staff finds their awesome blooms for the arrangements you will see scattered around the estate corridors.  I was taken aback by the rare Austin roses, fluffy like cotton balls and delicate as lace.  The garden focuses on heritage and exotic flowers, over two dozen varieties, all of which are used in Director of Hospitality & Events, Knitsa Knoll's floral arrangements for Jordan events.  Take note as your pull away from the gardens and notice the of solar photovoltaic array- an impressive installation of solar power that has reduced the estate's utility bill by 99%, churning out CO2 offsets equivalent to planting nearly 8,000 trees to date.

Solar power.
Say cheese!
Goose & Mav.
Another wonderful aspect of touring the estate is getting to visit the farm.  A petite barn, chickens (Australorp to be exact), donkeys ("Goose" and "Maverick"), longhorn steer and black Angus cows dot the pasture, setting an ideal scene for visitors.  CEO John Jordan is even exploring the possibilities of farming his very own beef for consumption on the estate, blending his breeds, thus creating the "perfect" home-grown cattle hybrid.  You can't help but think to yourself, "This place has it all."

Until you see the lake.

 Chair on the deck and I'm good.
As you can tell by now, the Jordan family's passion for nature is present and clear.  The estate boasts a thriving wetland, and a fully stocked 10 acre lake that is surrounded by forest and olive trees.  This brings us to Seven Oaks.

"Named for its cluster of craggy, blue oaks, Seven Oaks is nestled at the edge of Jordan Lake.  This serene corner of the estate is a haven for wildlife and offers sweeping views of our olive orchards and grapevines.  Its dock is the perfect place for sipping Jordan Chardonnay."

Shadowy snacks.
Ginger, pistachios... Best cracker ever.
It is here where we sampled our first pairing with 2010 & 2011 Jordan Chardonnay.  When we arrived at Seven Oaks, we were greeted and presented a small, dark wooden box with glasses.  Inside of this box rested a special Spiced Garden Escabeche with Gravenstein Apple Vinaigrette & Wild Fennel. Also inside was a Nigiri of Seasonal Fruit with Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sonoma Honey & Citrus.  Both were served in tiny stone bowls, tucked neatly into the boxes-- a slightly more modern, chic presentation that contrasted nicely with our rustic surroundings.  I adored the fresh basil, tomato and beets of the escabeche, and the unusual combination of fresh fruit with cool, faintly seasoned rice "nigiri" style was a delightful surprise.  Both paired seamlessly with the Chardonnay-- I enjoyed the 2010 immensely and was sad to leave both the view and that little wooden box behind.

One of the many olive groves.
The experience at this point was turning somewhat dreamy, with the perfect weather, wonderful wine and great company.  As our coach rambled up the rocky hills, letting way to panoramic valley views, I noticed a considerable incline beginning to occur.  Rows and rows of vines were passing us by, groves of olives and more grapes than the eye could see.  Our ride came to a lumbering halt under the giant bay trees at the Creekside Landing...

"Situated between our sustainably-farmed vineyards, this seasonal creek is a tranquil habitat for native flora and fauna.  The Creekside Landing bridge leads to an ideal location for exploring the grapevines' annual life cycle."

Excited and giddy, we were finally able to dig our toes (shoes, actually) into the rich soil of Jordan Winery, red, silty and richly textured.  The majority of us whipped out our cameras and couldn't get enough of the scenery, while others walked along the wines plucking samples of berries in their natural, original form.  The sun was high in the sky and although the air was dry and warm, the vines were lush and beautiful-- I couldn't resist plucking a few of the deep purple marbles from their clusters, savoring the tangy not-quite-ready zing that only a fresh grape can produce.  And yes, I pulled out my camera and took some photographs of my own.  How could I resist?


I could tell that this entire journey was headed up hill-- a really, really big hill.  After we left the grapevines behind, we set off on a vertical ascent up a rocky driveway surrounded by flaxen gold fields and wooded crevices.  I watched the birds flitting from one tree to another, gazing across the horizon at the hills that felt so familiar to me.  Growing up in Sonoma County was such a blessing and I miss it so much, everyday.  Visiting Jordan is like taking a small mental vacation for me, where I can take deep breaths and feel a little bit sentimental for lichen covered oaks and dry chaparral landscapes.  Giant dark boulders with lime green moss peek out from behind manzanitas, beetles and crickets fill the air with a constant summertime buzz that quiets as you pass through their massive playground.  Small, dry creeks weaving their way through tall grass, jack-rabbits peering through aged tree stumps at the passers-by...  

As I was busy zoning out on the beauty surrounding us, I hadn't realized that we were about to reach our final destination on the tour.  At the very top of the largest hill on the estate grounds sits Vista Point, one of the highest locations in the county providing a complete 360 degree view of the entire surrounding wine regions.

"Breathtaking views from Jordan Estate's highest hilltop give Vista Point its name.  The stunning panorama of three mountain ranges and three wine regions define this one-of-a-kind location.  A fitting culmination to the ultimate excursion."

Once we had all taken in the enormous view, we were seated for a special final pairing and relaxation period under arguably one of the most elegantly constructed roofed entertaining areas I've ever seen.  All stone and polished wood, hammered copper and slick concrete floors.  A blazing contrast to the natural environment encapsulating this dream dining room.  I smiled when I first saw the cool, perfect, modern little house sitting against the crackling crunch of summer in Sonoma county.  A place of respite and contemplation, where it feels special to be at one with the wind and wine.  

In front of me sat another wooden box- this time made of bamboo.  Along with it, a tiny sky blue colored Staub ramekin and a pressed linen napkin.  Inside of the box was a Selection of Sonoma County & European Artisanal Cheeses.  One can never have enough cheese.  In the cast iron ramekin was a small-bite of Miso-Glazed Sonoma Beef with Maitake Mushrooms & Braised Endive.  We were also served the 2002 & 2009 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany our afternoon bites, both of which were an absolute dream to drink.  The perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thank you to the family and staff at Jordan Winery & Estate for this delicious, delightful adventure. This experience will stay with me for years to come...


Jordan Winery Estate Tour & Tasting info is available at
Tours are 3 hours long at the cost of $120 per guest
Or call 800.654.1213 for arrangements

*Photos 1, 7, 8, 13 & 16 courtesy of
All other photos are authors own.





  1. Hi Beth,
    Thank you again for joining us and for sharing your experience!

  2. those look like some great places to explore.Solar power is awesome i love all pictures.Goose & Mav also looking good in the picture.
    sonoma wine tours