Located in the geographical heart of Sonoma County, Russian River Valley is sculpted by cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean near its western boundary. It is the largest of Sonoma County’s 16 wine appellations and where the top wineries go to source their cool-climate grapes.
The Russian River Valley earned its status as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1983. It encompasses 150 square miles of bucolic pastures, orchards and townships with 15,000 acres under vine and nearly 80 wineries.
Much like the tide, the coastal fog ebbs and flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog usually arrives in the evening, often dropping the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. The fog retreats to the ocean each morning. This natural air-conditioning allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity over an extended growing season, sometimes up to 20 percent longer than neighboring Sonoma County wine regions. These weather patterns are ideal for cool-climate varieties, particularly Chardonnay, affording grapes uncommon depth and richness while still maintaining bright, natural acidity.
Jordan Winemaker Rob Davis transitioned sourcing Chardonnay grapes from Alexander Valley in favor of grapes from the Russian River Valley in 2000. He sought to emulate the stone fruit flavors, vibrant acidity and minerality found in the best white Burgundies of Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, and he never looked back. The Russian River’s distinct climate and its soils help us to craft a Chardonnay that is more akin to France than California.
The final blend of Jordan Chardonnay begins with nearly 20 different vineyard blocks from eight sites on the east side of the Russian River with gravelly, well-drained soils. Vines range in age from three to 35 years and are planted to a variety of Dijon and UC-Davis clones. The exposed gravel deposits of these vineyards help give Jordan Chardonnay its elegance, minerality and lush, lingering finish. These Russian River Valley vineyards are situated just 15 miles southwest of the warmer, mountainous Alexander Valley where Jordan Estate is located.
Thanks to Davis’s long-term relationships with our extended family of growers and historical experience with many of the region’s vineyards, Chardonnay grapes are grown precisely to our standards from vintage to vintage. Davis works closely with our growers to adapt every minute detail of the winegrowing process based on constant changes during each growing season.
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