The 2009 Jordan Chardonnay has aromas of freshly cut green apples and honeysuckle with a hint of kiwi and lemon zest. Bright, fresh, apple flavors expand on the palate, framed by lively acidity and a touch of vanilla from five months of aging in new and used French oak barrels. Crispness and minerality linger in the long, graceful finish. This is a wine defined by elegance and finesse.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery
In 1972, Tom and Sally Jordan, a young couple from Colorado who shared an unbridled enthusiasm for French food and wine, followed their hearts to California’s wine country. Since their inaugural 1976 vintage, the Jordans have been heralded for their elegant wines, culinary excellence and gracious hospitality. Jordan Vineyard & Winery lies tucked into the hills of Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, where the iconic Jordan chateau, inspired by the great estates of France, overlooks 1,200 acres of rolling hills and vineyards with three quarters of the land dedicated to natural habitat. Today, second-generation vintner John Jordan continues to build upon the legacy of his parents, preserving the timeless winemaking qualities of balance, finesse and food affinity.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.