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Often mistaken for a white Burgundy, Jordan Chardonnay charms wine lovers with its subtle nuances and characteristics. Since its inaugural vintage in 1979, Jordan Chardonnay has evolved into an elegant expression of pure Russian River Valley fruit … captured in a glass.
A combination of night-harvested Russian River Valley grapes, French oak aging and old-world winemaking techniques create a balanced white wine defined by purity of stone fruit flavors, vibrant acidity and a succulent finish that makes you want to take another sip. Not a typical California Chardonnay, Jordan is harmoniously balanced to best pair with a broad range of foods.
The final blend of Jordan Chardonnay begins with nearly a dozen different vineyard blocks on the east side of the Russian River in Sonoma County. The exposed gravel deposits found in the soils of these top vineyards help give Jordan Chardonnay its elegance, minerality, and lush, lingering finish.
A well-crafted wine continues to develop over time. Its personality evolves in a way that leads to increased aromatic complexity and texture. When stored properly, Jordan Chardonnay can be enjoyed for many years.
The success of a white wine’s ageability relies primarily on its acidity and the evidence of tannin in the winemaking process. When aging Chardonnay, acidity in the wine acts as a natural preservative and refers to the natural citric acid level evident in the grapes at the time of harvest. Our winemaking team works diligently to pick Chardonnay grapes from our Sonoma County vineyards at just the right time in order to achieve an acid balance that will create a wine built to endure. Tannins are those naturally occurring preservative compounds found in the wood of oak trees and the stems, skins and seeds of wine grapes. Unlike red winemaking, white wines are not typically fermented with their stems, skins and seeds so the evidence of tannin is usually less prevalent. Burgundian-style Chardonnays, such as Jordan, as well as more full-bodied white wines, enjoy tannins from the use of fine French oak barrels in the winemaking process, creating structure and longevity, which allows it to better age.
How long will Chardonnay age? It depends greatly on the style and quality of the wine. Top Chardonnays from California and France aged in fine oak can be cellared for several years, though most American white wines are consumed within 1-2 years of their release. If you plan on aging Chardonnay, be sure to take into consideration that different styles of white wines enjoy different aging potential, and while most white wines do not age as gracefully as their fuller-bodied red counterparts, some white wines do benefit from bottle age. For example, a bottle of Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay is delicious in its youth at 1-3 years, as well as at full maturity of 5-7 years old, while unoaked whites, such as Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, are meant to be consumed shortly after release and do not typically benefit from cellaring.
To start your wine cellar, designate a cool, not-too-damp, not-too-dry area in your home that is out of direct sunlight and stocked with simple wine shelves. When considering where to store your Chardonnay, avoid locations in the kitchen, laundry room or boiler room, where hot temperatures and excessive vibration could negatively affect both white and red wines. Most importantly, find a place where the overall temperature is least likely to fluctuate—the key to successfully preserving white wine is an environment wherein the wine can rest quietly and undisturbed at an even, cool temperature. The best locations are usually under a bed, on the floor in a coat closet or in a temperature-controlled basement. The ideal environment for storing both white and red wines has a consistent humidity and maintains a temperature of 45-65 degrees (55 degrees is optimal). While Chardonnay wine is often served chilled, note that the temperature for storing white wine does not need to be as cool as the typical serving temperature. Purchasing a wine cooler with temperature and humidity controls helps to achieve the best wine storage conditions.
The way in which wine bottles are stored is vital to their longevity. Aging Chardonnay bottles on their sides will ensure the wine rests against its cork. This practice creates a liquid barrier between the wine and the cork and helps to prevent the cork from drying out. Cellaring white wine in a location with a consistent humidity of 50-80 percent will also help to keep the corks inside resting bottles from becoming too dry.
The size of a wine bottle affects the Chardonnay aging process and thus the cellaring potential. Magnums and other large-format bottles enjoy an increased volume of wine resting in its glass vessel. This offers more stability from outside forces, such as heat and light, causing the evolution of flavors that take place during aging to be slowed down.
At Jordan, we believe that the right moment for when to drink Chardonnay, or any bottle of wine, is guided by two factors: individual preference and the range of expressions that fine white wines take on throughout the aging process.
Most California Chardonnays are ready to be enjoyed upon release or within 1-3 years of the vintage date. White wines of balance like Jordan, with lower alcohol and brighter acidity, can be cellared and appreciated for 5-7 years after harvest.
Each vintage of Jordan Chardonnay is crafted in an elegant style—delightfully drinkable in its youth and delicious over time. The bright acidity and balance, hallmarks of Maggie Kruse’s winemaking style, allow the wines to evolve beautifully with age.
Depending on your personal preferences, you may want to experiment with aging Jordan Chardonnay for about three years under optimal cellaring conditions. Up to five years after release, our Chardonnay shows hints of crisp green fruit and racy citrus. About seven years after the vintage, ripe Fuji apple, melon, quince and light stone fruit flavors are evident. Caramel, butterscotch and eventually sherry-like characters emerge up to 10 years after release.
For an inside look at some of our older vintages of Chardonnay, watch our Jordan Uncorked video series.
Wine service is an art which can be achieved through a series of basic steps and diligent practice. The keys to success are to consider the occasion for the wines being served, the menu, the location and the guest list. With the help of a few professional tips and tricks for how to serve Chardonnay, you and your guests will enjoy your Jordan Chardonnay to the fullest.
As a general rule, one 750mL bottle of wine will yield five, 5-ounce glasses of wine. Depending on your occasion and if you are planning to serve other beverages along with wine, you will likely need one bottle per hour for every two guests. Add theatre to your white wine service by pouring from large-format bottles.
Achieving the ideal serving temperature for Chardonnay ensures the best possible aromatics in the wine glass and enhances flavor. The best temperature for serving Jordan Chardonnay is 53-58 degrees. Simply place the wine in the refrigerator or an ice bucket prepared with ice and water for 30 minutes to an hour prior to serving.
Start with a simple waiter’s corkscrew. Cut the foil below the lip of the wine bottle and remove. Position the tip of the corkscrew just off center and insert, rotating straight into the cork. Continue to twist the screw into the cork until only one curl remains visible. Catch the lip of the bottle with the lever arm of the corkscrew and slowly remove the cork.
Fine crystal wine glasses are recommended to enhance the tasting experience. In general, look for clear crystal with thin-rimmed, large bowls that hold 10-18 ounces, taper slightly at the top and balance well in the hand. The clearer the glass, the richer the wine’s color appears. The thinner the rim, the less the glass distracts from the wine as you sip. The larger the bowl, the better the wine’s aromas and flavors will be able to aerate and express themselves. An ideal serving is half the size of the wine glass, about 5 ounces. Filling the glass just below the widest section allows the wine to breathe, further accentuating its aromas and flavors. Burgundy glasses are recommended for enjoying Jordan Chardonnay; they have a large bowl style in order to best accentuate the aromas of delicate wines, such as French Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. The inverted balloon shape of glass directs wine toward the front of your mouth, allowing the most sensitive part of your palate to enjoy subtle nuances in flavor.
An open bottle of Jordan Chardonnay can be stored upright in the refrigerator for up to two days without negative effects on its taste. (Wine preservers can also help to extend the life of an open bottle). Prior to serving again, let the opened bottle rest outside of the refrigerator to gradually rise to its optimal serving temperature of 48 degrees. Keep in mind that a bottle of wine will warm either very quickly or slowly depending on the ambient room temperature. Investing in a special wine thermometer can help to achieve the proper serving temperature for Chardonnay and all of your white wine needs.
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