I will admit I’m not a rabid Cabernet Sauvignon fan. Appreciation flows from so many other places, I rarely see the need to fawn. Often, it’s a wine with so much tannin that it begs for food to balm its harsh edges and I’m kind of a wine-for-all-purposes kind of girl (before, during and after dinner). But sometimes, just sometimes, one drops in at a blind tasting that woos me. This happened one night when the Jordan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon arrived at the party.
Jordan is a storied, well-known winery in the Alexander Valley. Due to its polish, for many years I thought it was a Napa Valley native but they hang with my homies in Sonoma County. The upteen fans of Jordan Winery have consistently enjoyed well-executed Cabernet (and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley – review coming soon) since 1976 when Tom Jordan founded the winery. The family business, now run by Tom’s son John, owns over 1,000 acres of vineyards, sports a hillside of solar panels which satisfy 75 percent of their energy needs, grow organic vegetables for their on-site kitchen, and recently began raising animals on the estate. Doing pretty well, one might say. (Read an interview I did with John Jordan in 2010)
A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, the Jordan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon has plenty of sexiness to sip on — black cherry, plum and bittersweet chocolate bubble to the surface. It’s still a bit tight with the tannins but this medium-bodied wine opens up after a 20 or so minutes in the glass. (I suggest decanting it before serving.) Leathery, dustiness donated by the liberal oak usage makes itself known but melds into the long, dry finish. It’s a gutsy, sensuous wine that could enhance any hearty meal or cheese course. Being what it is, for my taste, it still needs food to highlight its best qualities. And not just a fatty ribeye steak — Cabernet pairs with hard cheeses like Asiago, Grana Padano or Dry Jack and recipes like Braised Short Ribs and Wild Mushroom Quinoa Risotto.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Price: $35 – $50
Alcohol level: 13.8%
Availability: At fine wine retailers and large wine stores nationwide.
Occasion: Sample from the winery and tasted blind.
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