Celebrating Harvest in Healdsburg – Harvest Lunch at Jordan Winery

Harvest is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of year to visit Sonoma County.  The vineyards are stunning and you can feel a sense of excitement and anticipation at each winery you visit.  A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I headed to Sonoma County to experience harvest for ourselves.  The entire trip was awesome but the highlight was our Harvest Lunch at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg.  Each year, Jordan hosts a 5 week harvest lunch series in September and October.  The lunch celebrates the French tradition of wineries providing a daily lunch for harvest workers.

Jordan is one of the most beautiful estates in Sonoma County.  As you drive up the winding driveway, you see Jordan’s magnificent chateau.  We met our lunch group in the stately Bacchus Courtyard and Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications at Jordan, guided us to a beautifully appointed lunch table overlooking Alexander Valley.  We mingled with lunch guests around us as we were poured a glass of Jordan Chardonnay.

Jordan Estate Chateau
Jordan Estate Chateau *credit Jordan Winery
Bacchus Courtyard
Bacchus Courtyard

This Harvest Lunch was a special one as it marked the 40th vintage for both Jordan Winery and winemaker Rob Davis.  The lunch, prepared by Executive Chef Todd Knoll and staff, showcased an abundance of local ingredients, both from Jordan’s farm and other local Sonoma farms.  The menu changes regularly depending on available ingredients and we were able to indulge in an array of dishes that included a beautiful heirloom tomato & burrata salad and delicious roasted quail.  Our meal was paired with three wines from Jordan; 2013 Jordan Chardonnay, 2011 Jordan Cabernet, and 2008 Jordan Cabernet.  The wines were balanced, elegant, and really showcased the beautiful fruit used in each vintage.

A beautiful setting for Harvest Lunch!
A beautiful setting for Harvest Lunch!
Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay
Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay

After lunch, we were invited on a tour of Jordan Winery.  As we toured the estate, it was easy to notice the careful attention to detail.  Every part of the winery was thought out long before production reached its current capacity.  We had a chance to see the barrel room and the staff hard at work (mostly cleaning the tanks as 2015 was an early harvest).

Jordan Winery
Jordan Winery Tour
Jordan Winery Tour
Jordan Winery Tour

If you are in Sonoma County, I definitely suggest heading to Healdsburg to visit Jordan Winery.  They offer an array of tours and tastings by appointment that include a gourmet wine tasting with food pairing in their private library, a walking tour through their iconic chateau, and an epicurean excursion across their property.  I am sure you will find your experience at Jordan to be just as wonderful as we did!

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Wine Event – Rhone Rangers is coming to Los Angeles!

Hey LA…one of my favorite wine events is rolling into Downtown LA November 6-7, 2015!  This year, there are going to be 50 wineries in attendance.  Weekend events include a series of in-store tastings and winemaker dinners on Friday evening, as well as a seminar and a walk-around tasting reception on Saturday.

Rhone Rangers is a non-profit organization dedicated to “advancing the knowledge and enjoyment of Rhone wines produced in America” and they do a fantastic job.  Their event in Los Angeles showcases some of the best Rhone winemakers outside of France (think Qupe, Two Shepherds, and Tablas Creek).   A complete list of events is below.  For tickets, visit Rhone Rangers.  Use discount code “GrenacheIsGroovy” for $10 off of VIP tickets.

From last year's Rhone Rangers
From last year’s Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting

RETAIL IN-STORE TASTINGS, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6.

Whole Foods, 225 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice CA, 5-8 PM. Join us for a tasting of Rhone-varietal wines with Bonny Doon Vineyard and Michael-David Winery. For more information contact the Wine Department at Whole Foods, (310) 566-9480.
K&L, 1400 Vine Street, Hollywood CA, 5:30 – 7 PM. Join us for a tasting of Rhone-varietal wines with Quivira, Qupe and Vina Robles. For more information contact the store at (323) 464-9463.
WINEMAKER DINNER, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 6:30 PM, Parkway Grill, Pasadena. Featuring the wines of kukula, Pomar Junction and Ridge Vineyards.  This will be an intimate dinner hosted by Sommelier Emmanuel Gonzalez, and Winemaker Kevin Jussila from kukkula, David Gates, VP of Vineyard Operations at Ridge Vineyards, and Mark Stern (CSW, CS), Director of Hospitality and Sales at Pomar Junction. You’ll enjoy a 3-course seated dinner at Parkway’s private dining room; to make a reservation call the restaurant at (626) 795-1001 and ask to reserve a seat at the Rhone Ranger Dinner on November 6th. This will sell out, only 24 seats available, don’t delay!

WINEMAKER DINNER, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 7 PM, Redbird, downtown LA. Featuring the wines of Eberle, Kita and Tablas Creek.  Chef Neal Fraser, Bravo TV Top Chef, has designed a 3-course seated dinner for you at The Nest, Redbird’s private dining space and outdoor deck overlooking the LA skyline at Vibiana. Sommelier Ben Teig will be featuring the wines of Eberle, Kita and Tablas Creek for you to enjoy with Chef Neal’s special pairing menu. This is an intimate dinner for just 30 guests, along with representatives from each of the wineries. Reservations may be made by calling the restaurant at 213-788-1191, and asking to reserve a seat at the Rhone Ranger Dinner November 6th. This will sell out, do not delay!

SEMINAR: “GRENACHE ON THE RISE.” SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 10:30 AM. This seminar will focus on Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Grenache-dominant blends. Our moderator will be Patrick Comiskey. Winery participants include Andrew Murray, Bernat, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lightning Wines, Mounts Family Winery, Petrichor, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Tercero Wines, Terre Rouge and Vines on the Marycrest .

GRAND TASTING, VIP TICKETS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2-6 PM. This event takes place at The Reef, 1933 S Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.Taste from over 200 wines poured by more than 50 wineries. Bid on wine and wine-related items at the silent auction; a portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. Winery participants are listed to the left.

GRAND TASTING, GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 3-6 PM. This event takes place at The Reef, 1933 S Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.Taste from over 200 wines poured by more than 50 wineries. Bid on wine and wine-related items at the silent auction; a portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund.

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2011 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered

I have to be honest…I don’t drink much Rioja.  However, every time I do, I am reminded of how delicious a well-crafted bottle can be.  Last week, I participated in a Twitter tasting and among the wine lineup was 2011 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered.  Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932 and they follow relatively old-fashioned winemaking processes.  The Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo.  It is fermented with native yeasts and aged for 6 months in wooden vats, 2 years in 60% French and 40% American oak barrels, and at least 12 months in the bottle.

2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Unfiltered
2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Unfiltered

The nose of Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja Unfiltered has aromas of rich, dark fruit, oak, and spice.  The juicy palate has balanced acidity with tastes of dark berries, black cherries, licorice, and sweet oak.  It’s a bit fruit forward but not to a fault.  A great bottle of classic Rioja for around $25! (13.5% alcohol)

*Media Sample

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