It’s that time of year. The grape harvest has started throughout California and as winemakers contemplate picking decisions and organize crews to harvest the grapes we, as wine lovers, are free to sit back, anticipate another vintage and wonder how the growing season will translate in the bottle.
The grape harvest also signals that it is time for Harvest Lunches to begin at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg. Harvest Lunches are a longtime tradition at Jordan and Executive Chef Todd Knoll looks to the gardens at Jordan for inspiration in preparing delicious buffet lunches that are shared at communal tables by Jordan Winery staff and guests. We attended the first Harvest Lunch of the season this week at the invitation of Jordan Winery and, as always, Chef Knoll’s delicious creations were accompanied by Jordan wines.
A Welcome with Champagne AR Lenoble
Before getting to the Harvest Lunch part of our visit we received a warm welcome and a glass of chilled Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble. As we waited for our group to assemble we sipped the clean, bright Champagne in the shade of the Bacchus courtyard. This sparkling introduction, which celebrates a collaboration between the Jordan and Malassagne families, precedes every tasting at Jordan Winery and sets the tone for your experience.
A Transformation from Barrel Washing to Dining Room
The short walk around the back of the vine-covered winery chateau takes you past the guest suites and an oak-shaded patio. Just a minor detour will lead you to an overview of the garden area, which includes a barn, chicken coop and bee hives. The rolling hills beyond are dotted with oak trees, vineyards and olive trees.
This time of year the barrel washing area is transformed into a dining room. The shaded area is set with two long tables and the buffet table filled with the day’s lunch offerings. The location is framed by lush greenery keeping it cool and the setting is just rustic enough to remind you the work of making wine is going on nearby.
A Bounty of Food and Wine
Pork Tamales were the star of our lunch. They were accompanied by beans, rice, cabbage salad, cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes. Salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips made flavorful additions. Our meal finished with a delicious Mexican apple, cinnamon and coconut salad; the perfect dessert for a warm afternoon.
The 2015 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay displayed a light golden color in the glass with generous fruit aromas and flavors, juicy acidity and nice texture and roundness in the mouth. The Jordan Chardonnay, and with the Champagne AR Lenoble, were particularly enjoyable with the dessert salad.
We tasted two Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and both were stellar. The 2013 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showed more red fruit along with dark fruit, earth and substantial but well-integrated tannins. The lovely 2009 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was elegant and smooth showing primarily dark fruit and cedar along with earthy flavors in the background. Jordan Cabernet ages so beautifully.
Harvest Lunch And More at Jordan
Jordan Vineyard & Winery offers a number of tour and tasting options at the winery chateau. Along with Harvest Lunches you will find Vineyard Tours and Dinners. There are many ways to enjoy the wines of Jordan Winery. All are unhurried, uncrowded and focused on the wine and accompanying food. It is a different, and very enjoyable, way of tasting wine. You will not find a crowded, noisy tasting room with standing room only and maybe a cracker to two to nibble on. No. Not at Jordan.
As you might expect, reservations are required in order to assure a leisurely experience. You will find information regarding tours and tastings, rewards membership and booking on the Jordan Vineyard & Winery website. Harvest Lunches continue weekdays through October 6.