The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 96

THE LAND Pay Dirt O story and photos by Meridith May He’s grounded! Jordan Winery viti- culturist Brent Young is improving quality in the wines by understand- ing the estate’s soil character. Soil mapping is opening a new horizon of even better quality wines at Jordan. The brand is not resting on its laurels but is instead adapting to unique technology. n Brent Young’s first day as viticulturalist at Alexander Valley’s Jordan Winery, he asked winemaker Rob Davis (who has been the only winemaker in the family-owned estate’s 35-year history), “What changes, if any, would you like to make?” Davis, who is quick with conversa- tional repartee and knows Jordan’s wines and land better than anyone else, had a ready response: “I would always like to make better wines.” Admitting that 85 percent of the outcome of winemaking is a product of nature while 15 percent is plain “hard work,” Davis sees the winemaker in a humbled position in relation to the vines, the earth, climate and geography. Nevertheless, the elegant and approach- able world-class Jordan wines—whether the estate-grown Cabs or the Russian River-sourced Chardonnays—are known for Davis’s singular style, which above all means full flavor. Sparking Success Success came early to winery founder Tom Jordan, who had always aimed high, wanting his wines to compete with the best in the world. As a geologist by trade, Jordan’s training was to under- stand soil types by digging a mile down into the earth. “But it’s the first two meters of the earth that are important to the viticultur- ist,” Brent Young explains to THE TASTING PANEL. (Young came on board for an internship in 2005, when Tom’s son, John Jordan, took over the winery business and returned in 2008 in his full-time position). Using a device that detects resistivity through this shallow layer of ground, electric currents speak a language that communicates information about soil formation, moisture content and soil types. Through that information, a map of the vineyard’s soil outline is developed. “Uniformity is key,” Davis insists. “We are looking for how well the soils drain and what is in the soils. Any time you can use another tool besides your palate to see a change in flavor profile—and that can run the gamut from blackberry to vegetal—it’s the most exciting time in my entire career.” 32 / the tasting panel / july 2010 JORDAN WINERY’S VITICULTURIST MAPS THE ESTATE’S SOILS TO BRING OUT THE BEST OF NATURE The Jordan 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon has a bright future. Wine of the Times Working together, winemaker Rob Davis and viticulturist Brent Young are increasing the fruit dimension in the Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the Jordan estate. The Jordan 2006 Cab (its current release) has a core of deep, chewy tannins and a brilliant depth of fruit that shines through a leanness of acidity. The Jordan 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, releasing in the spring of 2011, is the densest version yet, rich with dark bittersweet chocolate that intersects juicy, inky black berries and a lavender finish. A modern-day Bacchus. Jordan winemaker Rob Davis stands next to a statue of Bacchus on the Alexander Valley estate.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2010