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Jordan Vineyard & Winery releases its 2015 flagship cabernet, its first vintage aged in all-French oak

Jordan Vineyard & Winery has just released its 2015 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon and has something new to crow about — it’s the winery’s first vintage in its 40-year history to be aged in 100% French oak barrels.

Since its founding 40 years ago, Jordan has been slowly plotting the move from a 50/50 blend of American and French oak toward all-French oak. As the winery moved from estate-grown fruit to purchased fruit raised off the valley floor, American oak no longer best suited the tannins and acidity in the wine, says Jordan winemaker Rob Davis.  

“French oak, with its greater array of complex tannins and much greater porosity, lends itself much more to the black fruits and deeper, richer flavors we’ve achieved through new grower vineyards,” says Davis in a Jordan blog post.

Davis, the longest-tenured winemaker in Sonoma County, will complete his 44th harvest at Jordan this fall.

“Once we stopped including grapes from the estate valley floor and hillsides in our blends, we found that the American oak was overpowering the beautiful dark fruit in the young wines while French oak elevated the fruit.”

Davis says the combination of cabernet, merlot and American oak no longer created the kind of wine he and Jordan’s owners wanted to produce, calling that blend “less refined and out of balance.”

They believe the all-French oak barrels have brought their cabernet full-circle, an homage to the First Growth Bordeaux that Jordan always hoped to produce.  

The 2015 Jordan cabernet sauvignon is a blend of 77% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 6% petit verdot and 2% malbec, created from 60 different vineyard blocks—a combination of 13 different growers and Jordan Estate. Eighty-five percent of the final blend is grower fruit.

The wine was aged for 13 months in 47% new and 53% one-year-old medium-toast barrels then aged two years in bottle. The wine retails for about $57.

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