For this year’s Thanksgiving week, I want to dedicate a few posts to those in the wine industry for whom I am grateful. During my time at this year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference (WBC17), I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my favorite winery’s, Jordan Winery, located on Alexander Valley Road, just north of downtown Healdsburg. What I love about this winery is not just their amazing wines (indeed, their focused Cabernet Sauvignon is some of the most balanced I’ve experienced), but the true sense of welcome every time I walk through the winery’s doors or participate in one of their events.
“We like to say we do three things here at Jordan Winery: Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Hospitality.” –John Jordan
When I saw Jordan Winery would be hosting a dinner during WBC17, I did everything I could to snatch up a ticket. A meal at the winery means food prepared from the estate’s edible garden as well as local, fresh produce from our immediate Sonoma County surroundings — and (of course) an elegant estate wine paired with each of our courses.
The evening started out with a lesson in caviar — and if you think all caviar pairs only with bubbles you’d be wrong. Each of these caviars are infused with different flavors. Starting from the top left, we have wasabi roe, paired with the estate’s Brut Champagne (indeed these bubbles are made in Champagne and, thus, is a proper Champagne); ginger roe paired with the Burgundy-style 2014 Chardonnay (just enough ML and oak aging to soften the wine, but a crisp line of acidity that rides on through); beet-saffron roe paired with the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (a beautiful wine full stop, with workable tannins and bursting blueberry fruit — perfectly contrasting the earthy-sweetness found in beetroot); the truffled roe paired with the 2012 Cabernet (a little more rustic than the preceding vintage, perfectly complementing the natural funk of the truffle); and lastly the chef’s reserve caviar by Tsar Nicouli — the most creamy and decadent of the lot — paired with a fresh serving of the Brut Champagne (although, personally, I found it better suited with sips from the 2012).
We then moved on to our dinner, where we were served a three-course meal, again paired with different Jordan estate wines. But before we got started John Jordan, head of the family-owned winery, took the time to meet and greet with all of us. He’s a character to say the least, but one of the most hospitable winery owners I’ve ever met. Each event I attend, he always seems to be thinking of the next one, extending a warm invitation sometimes years in advance.
People often say that you know the food is good when there’s silence around the table. I say the opposite. Good food — and good wine pairings — keep people talking the whole night through. The flavors, the textures — how was this made? what is that sauce? And in a room full of bloggers (and of course John), we were high on life and a keen sense of family.
As if that wasn’t enough food, wine, and hospitality, I was invited to a benefit lunch hosted by Jordan Winery the very next day at local Santa Rosa restaurant, Bird and the Bottle. The restaurant is owned by the Stark family, who are also responsible for the popular Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar in downtown Healdsburg. Unfortunately, their flagship restaurant, Willy’s Wine Bar, was ruined by the recent fires that spread throughout the Sonoma County. So, to help out the family-owned restaurant, family-owned Jordan Winery decided to host a #SonomaStrong lunch at the Stark’s newest location, adding a few popular dishes from their original restaurant to the menu and ordering wines from wineries also affected by the fires: Matanzas Creek, Paradise Ridge, Trione. Sure there were a few bottles of Jordan wine to go around — but the focus was truly on helping others in the community.
And instead of asking us to chip in for lunch, all Jordan Winery hostess — aka Director of Marketing & Communications — Lisa Mattson asked of us was to donate to the winery’s annual Toys for Tots drive.
Jordan Winery is the largest local donor to Toys for Tots each year. In light of the thousands of families affected by the wildfires, this year’s drive will be more important than ever. Please visit the local Santa Rosa Toys for Tots website to donate directly.
If you want to get in on some Jordan Winery fun and help out the cause, consider attending the winery’s annual Christmas at Jordan holiday party. You’ll get a chance to taste fresh, local produce as prepared by the estate’s chef, excellent wine pairings, as well as enjoy live entertainment featuring Tchaikovsky’s music from The Nutcracker Suite. Ticket proceeds for the event will go towards the Toys for Tots drive as well.
Learn more about how Jordan Winery is helping out the local community on the Jordan Winery blog.
And so it is with that giving spirit of Jordan Winery, the pure love they have for each guest and community member, that I say I am truly grateful to Jordan Winery for all they’ve provided me as a wine lover and writer, and to their local community. It’s a winery that I’m proud to say I work with and support. They truly embody what it means to be a family run winery. Cheers to everyone at Jordan Winery!
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