Jordan Wine Estate celebrated its 21 st anniversary of winemaking in its cellar last week, a surprise addition to the event, which had invited us to the launch of their deli.
Tables had been set up in the cellar, a cool space on a hot Stellenbosch day, and Gary Jordan took us through the history of Jordan, the wine farm having been in the family’s ownership for 30 years. Gary said that they are a hands-on family, his late mom having helped to pick grapes and driving the truck. Over the 30 year period they rebuilt the worker cottages, planted the vineyards, built their own house, built the cellar, and the restaurant, which opened in 2009 with Chef George Jardine at the helm, the same year in which they opened High Timber in London with Neleen Strauss. Both Gary and his wife Kathy completed a Masters in Winemaking in California. The late Tony Mossop and Allan Mullins were saluted for encouraging the Jordans to do the course and in their winemaking.
Over time they have added four pockets of neighbouring land, now with a total of 165 ha, of which 105ha is planted with vines. The pay-off line at the end of the slide show said: ‘Celebrating 21 years of synergy between soul and soil‘.
Gary took us through two Vintage Tastings, the first being their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and Nine Yards Chameleon, and the second their Cabernet Sauvignon and Cobblers Hill, the latter which I missed as I had to leave for another function. The Chardonnay Barrel Fermented wine was made from Davis and Burgundian clones, and matured in French oak for nine months. We tasted the 1996 and 1998 vintages. The Nine Yards Chardonnay was made in a reserve style, using grapes from its best vineyard site, and they went ‘The whole Nine Yards‘ with the wine, they wrote in their tasting notes! The wine was matured in French oak for 12 months. We tasted the 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2010 vintages. The Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are 210 – 240 meters above sea level, and the wine was matured in French oak for 19 months. The Cobblers Hill is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and was matured for 24 months in French oak barriques.
Before I left Jordan, Louise Genis showed me the new The Bakery @ Jordan, a venue which previously was their function room. A wood-fired oven was built for George, who loves baking. The Bakery is set up as an informal restaurant, in which one can order breakfast (R45 – R60); pastries (R18 – R25); brunch (no egg dishes, but including gazpacho, Caeser salad, fish and chips in George style, and Fairview lamb); and platters of cheese and charcuterie (R120 – R125).
One can also buy bread (ciabatta, sour dough, seed loaf, honey & spelt, rye, and brioche) in a price range of R22 – R30, and items from the Bakery, such as jams, preserves, chutney, honey, pickled onions, and enjoy a picnic on the lawn. They stock beers and ciders too. I was told by fellow writers that George had served them a masterpiece fish inside a loaf of bread, for which I will return. George was game enough to peer through the other end of the oven for the photograph!
Jordan Wine Estate is a down to earth quality wine destination, putting its money into the wines and foods that it produces, rather than in glitzy buildings and interiors, retaining a country wine estate character.
Jordan Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Kloof Road, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 881 3426. www.jordanwines.com Twitter @Jordan_Wines
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage