Monday, July 07, 2008

What puts the "wine" in wine country?


Let me say that the DUI rate must be extremely high in northern California. It only takes a couple wine tours/tastings to quickly take you beyond legal limits - especially if you haven't eaten.

Fortunately, we planned well.

The first day of "wining" started at Jordan Winery where they only give tours once a day and by reservation only. Again, my hostesses planned ahead.

This is a beautiful piece of property. My photos don't do it justice. Though you can see some of the smoke from the wildfires settling in the valley. It was bad the first three days I was there, but of course the day I was leaving it was much clearer.

Our tour guide was fantastic. His name was Sean and he was knowledgeable but not snobby, friendly but not unprofessional, and made the entire visit even better.

We started with the chardonnay on the terrace after a brief history on the Jordans and how they came to the Sonoma Valley. They served a tuna tartar appetizer to highlight the quality of the wine.

If I have learned anything in my whirlwind wine country course, it is that tasting wine without food is like virtually trying on shoes, you just can't judge the quality.

We then moved on to another patio area where they featured the extra virgin olive oil they also produce. Fresh crusty bread and granny smith apples were provided to again give the flavor profile a base.

Then after more scenic views of the chef's garden (to die for) and history info, we move into the formal dining area where they host special occasions. What a great place for a wedding.

In here we tasted the 2005 cabernet savignon. Then we moved on to the temperature controlled room where the large (1000 gallon) wooden barrels of wine are held for their fermenting process.

We ended the tour in Mr. Jordan's library where we watched Sean decant a 2004 bottle of cabernet savignon and tasted it along with three wonderful cheeses and a fruit/nut crostini that is to die for.

In fact I have contacted them since I've been back and Sean (I told you was great) has provided me with the makers of all the products so I can find them here or order them - yes they were that great. I will share with you.

The cheeses were:
  • Mt. Tam (from Cowgirl Creamery) - truly the best brie I have ever eaten
  • Montgomery Cheddar - wonderful and sharp
  • Dante (Organics Sheep’s Milk from Wisconsin) - nutty and good

The fruit and nut crostini was perfect. It was crunchy but still chewy full of nuts and fruits that was perfect with the brie smeared on it. Sean tells me it is made from a bakery in Washington state called Anjou Bakery. I am still searching for a local supplier.

I found something similar at the Whole Foods in Santa Rosa called Raincoast Crisps (rosemary raisin pecan flavor) but they aren't at my local Whole Foods yet.

I digress - the cheeses and crostini made the cabernet that much better. Plus it was the 2004 which shows what a year can do for wine.

Wonderful location, wonderful tour guide and wonderful food/drink.

Next stop - Silver Oak Winery.


LisaRene said...

The Fruit Nut Crostini from Anjou Bakery are one of my favorite additions to a cheese plate. They are available to me at my grocery but you can purchase them on-line from a few different sources. They have a nice long shelf life so stock up!

Another favorite "cracker" is imported from Spain and is a sugared olive oil crisp bread with a bit of anise. I LOVE these! They are excellent on their own or wonderful with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey - blue cheese too! They also make one with the addition of almonds.

Melody said...

Wow! Thanks for the info.

Great minds, great taste.