June 2012

A Double Anniversary

By: Richard Carleton Hacker

What better place to celebrate being the toast of the town than on top of the town—literally, the panoramic poolside rooftop of The London West Hollywood Hotel, overlooking scenic vistas of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. That’s the setting Jordan Vineyard & Winery chose for the Los Angeles celebration of the winery’s 40th anniversary—one of four such events scheduled across the country.

For Jordan Vineyard & Winery’s 4 on 4 Art Competition, Los Angeles grand award winner Agne Jomantaite created a cyanotype called I Left My Heart in Jordan, in which the iconic Jordan chateau is seen in the rearview mirror of a car driving down Hollywood’s palm-lined Sunset Boulevard.

More than 300 restaurateurs, retailers, sommeliers, and celebrities attended the Monday, April 23 gathering, including U.S. Men’s National Team soccer champion Landon Donovan, TV producer Randall Winston (Cougar Town, Scrubs, Spin City), singer/actress Tinka Milinovi, Piero Selvaggio of Valentino restaurant and Chef Joe Miller of Joe’s in Venice and Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica—just to name a few.

But the real stars of the evening were Jordan’s vintage Cabernet Sauvignons, poured in honor of the winery’s 40th birthday by winemaker Rob Davis and assistant winemaker Ronald Du Preez: an impériale 1979, a double magnum 2001, a magnum of 2005 and 750s of the 2002, not to mention Jordan’s current 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Chardonnay releases. In addition, a limited number of Jordan 2005 Cabernet in specially etched Anniversary magnums are available at the winery and priced at $295 each. There are only 40 bottles—one for each anniversary year.

In reality it was a double celebration, for May 25, 1972, was not only when Tom and Sally Jordan signed their first Alexander Valley deed, it was also the birth date of their son, John. Today, as Jordan’s CEO, John Jordan has definite thoughts about changes in the industry he was literally born into, and the winery that shares his 40th birthday.

Large-format bottles were sourced from the Jordan library to help celebrate the 40th anniversary bash on the rooftop of The London West Hollywood.

“Specifically, the advent of technology and social media, including our video blog,” he says, “have enabled us to tell our story directly to consumers—our passion for what we do, the wine making process and the people behind Jordan wines. Plus, science has enabled us to better analyze the soils. These technologies didn’t exist when my parents ran the winery in 1980s.”

“As a result, we’ve changed a lot of our fruit sources,” he continues. “Our Cabernet now predominantly comes from the benchlands, so we’ve eliminated what we feel are flaws in wine, herbaceousness and vegetal green bean characteristics. We want more of an expression of fruit flavors. The 2007 and 2008 vintages are great examples of our house philosophy—balance, lower alcohol and an almost feminine or softer style of Cabernet that goes better with the delicate flavors of a well-prepared meal. We are proud we don’t win those 98 point Parker scores, because that’s not who we want to be. We’d rather please chefs and consumers than please wine critics.”

Rob Davis, who has been the one and only winemaker for Jordan from the beginning, has developed a strong relationship with growers. “They are like our family, and the concept of husbandry exists: the use of resources and the management of the vineyards. Everyone helps one another. Even in Bordeaux, where the attention was towards equipment and technology, it is all coming back to the vineyard site. Soil has become our most important focus, creating diversity and character imparted in the wines.”

Assistant winemaker Ronald Du Preez proudly shows off an impériale of Jordan 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon before opening it.

Jim Stoodley, Area Sales Manager for SW&S of FL with Jordan Winemaker Rob Davis at Soho Beach House in Miami.

Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Los Angeles—also celebrating 40 years in 2012—is presented a commemorative etched magnum of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon by Jordan National Sales Director Chris Avery.

Jon Newlon, VP/GM, American Wine & Spirits of California, with John Jordan.

A Toast to Art

To help celebrate its 40th anniversary, Jordan Vineyard & Winery created a coast-to-coast initiative to marry the distinct flavors of four major American cities with the essence of Jordan wines and Sonoma wine country. And they did it with art.

Jordan’s Communications Director Lisa Mattson, THE TASTING PANEL’s David Gadd and grand award winner Agne Jomantaite with the artist’s winning cyanotype at the Los Angeles leg of the 4 on 4 Art Competition.

Partnering with local art organizations, Jordan’s 4 on 4 Art Competition sought out entries from artists in four metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and New York. The artists were encouraged to use their preferred medium to meld the essence of Jordan wines with the unique vibe of their own locale.

In each city, judges drawn from among local food and beverage experts and art cognoscenti were asked to pick the top three winners at a public exhibition. THE TASTING PANEL’s Managing Editor, David Gadd, served as a judge in Los Angeles. Attending art and wine patrons also selected a single People’s Choice awardee in each location.

The grand award winning artwork in each city will be transformed into a limited-edition lithograph for Jordan’s loyal fan base in that market, while the original will be placed in John Jordan’s art collection in Healdsburg. The winners in the New York edition of the competition will be announced in June. 

Dallas grand award winner Todd Ford’s untitled oil on canvas is a photorealistic piece showing Jordan wine being poured into a glass over the Dallas skyline. Rather than using stock photography, Ford took the photo himself.

In Miami, judges selected artist and graphic designer Jeannette Aquino’s Jordan Wine Goddess as the grand award winner. The painting depicts a mermaid-like goddess rising from the sea to celebrate the joys of Jordan wine against the skyline of the city. 

Rooftop Celebrations

From Soho Beach House in Miami to . . .
the ultra-chic Poule at The Joule in Dallas to . . .
 the rooftop at  The London West Hollywood.

The Jordan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon overlooks the New York City skyline from PHD Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown.

A Retrospective Tasting

by Jon McDaniel, Director of Wine, Los Olivos Café and Wine Merchant

After tasting multiple vintages of Jordan Cabernet, from 1976 through 2008, I was amazed at how much of a bell curve there was in terms of elegance and fruit. The ‘76 and ‘08 had a lot of parallels to me: a lot of holiday and baking spice, integrated tannic structure and a beautiful fruit nose. What popped out to me about the current release (Jordan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley) is how unlike most “collectible” Cabernets it really is. It is a beautiful wine—something you cannot say about young Cabernets too often: a lot of Grenache-like qualities with hints of cinnamon, star anise, a thread of minerality and a bit of clove on the nose. On the taste, the fine integration of fruit and structure really came through, showing that it can develop over time, but is at a point in its young life where it can pair really well with food at the table today. A really interesting wine that you wouldn’t expect from this area.

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