Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Looking for France in California, look no further. From the moment you start driving up their driveway you feel like you’re transported to France. The Jordan’s are second generation owners and winemakers with a love for the Bordeaux region in France. Once they learned they could make Burgundian style wines in California they were sold, and started what we know today as Jordan. The main building is modeled after a chateau in France, to no surprise, and the building is covered in Boston ivy. It’s truly stunning. Everything about the brand screams French luxury – from the wine, and food to the hospitality.
We started with a history of the property and a short hike (more like a walk up a short steep hill) to the top of their new hilltop vineyard. Here we enjoyed a tasting of their chardonnay and a vertical tasting of their cabernet sauvignon. Paired with local salami. The chardonnay was crisp, and fruit forward with minimal oak. Next we tried the 2009, 2011 and 2016 cabernet sauvignon. The 2011 was a unique vintage as it was a cold harvest, and you could really taste the difference. The 2011 was higher in acid, and had notes of green bell pepper which usually comes from the colder harvest. Chris’s favorite was the 2009 it was soft and subtle. Due to the age the fruit has fallen off a bit with more dried fruit flavors vs big jammy fruit. Stacy’s favorite was the 2016, which is their current release. 2016 was a drought harvest, and the hot and dry harvest lead to a very concentrated classic cab.
MacRostie was a last minute add to our itinerary and we’re so glad we visited! The tasting room opened up in 2015 however the family has been making wines for over 36 years. The estate house sits atop a hill providing beautiful views of the Russian River Valley. There is no bad table on the property, every table has a view. If you need more convincing they also have a pup that comes to visit every day, and you can bring your own pups!
Our visit included a seated tasting of their chardonnays and pinot noirs from Russian River Valley and the Sonoma coast. The tasting menu focuses on five wines, but Ellyn provided us with off menu tastings and we ended up tasting the majority of their portfolio. Including their Clockwise wines, which is anything the winemaker makes that is not chardonnay or pinot noir. Our favorite wine happened to be their “affordable” wine, the 2018 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Which is a good reminder that good wine doesn’t have to break the bank, and sometimes what you find in the grocery store is great quality wine. Our other favorite was the 2018 The Key Chardonnay, a blend of chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, and Carneros. The nose on this one was so good – peach, and honeysuckle. With notes of bright citrus fruit and a long finish. After our tasting we said this would be a good wine club to join because you wouldn’t mind what comes in your shipment. We didn’t taste anything we didn’t like.
Flowers Vineyards & Winery
Flowers rose and pinot noir are some of my favorite wines, so when we started planning our trip to Sonoma we knew we had to add it to our list. Plus their super instagramable winery is a nice bonus.
When you drive up it looks very low key and un-expecting, but when you enter the building / grounds it’s like you’ve entered a completely different place. It’s so serene you’ll never want to leave. The building is meticulously styled with white oak paneled walls (who knew paneled walls could look so good) and impeccable décor. A very laid back California vibe. Then you walk outside, which is where all the tasting were being held, into their gardens sprinkled with cabanas. As we were walking around we kept saying I really hope we get one of those cabanas, and luckily we did! We felt like we were the only ones on the property, the cabanas give you such a private feel.
We started with a glass of their 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir (one of my all time favorite rosé’s) as we walked the property. For the tasting we did the Flowers Flight which includes a flight of their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay paired with seasonal bites. We started with the 2018 Camp Meeting Ridge Chardonnay paired with a Moroccan spiced carrot soup. Both were delicious. What I liked about the chardonnay was it wasn’t overly oaky or buttery. It was filled with citrus, bright acidity, and ended with a long mineral finish. Next up was a side by side of the 2016 and 2019 Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir. The 2019 was paired with a balsamic poached strawberry (which was SO GOOD), and the 2016 was paired with roasted maitake mushrooms (YUM). I love a vertical tasting because it really allows you to taste how the wine has aged. The 2016 was softened, more mellow, with flavors of dried fruit, and the 2019 was bright and full of fresh fruit flavors like strawberry. Chris preferred the 2016 and Stacy preferred the 2019, but honestly both were amazing…. (Are you starting to notice a trend with our palates – this may help you decide if you’re going to love a wine one of us recommends in the future) We ended up taking home a bottle of the 2016 – just couldn’t pass it up!
Walt / BACA Wines
This was a must visit winery for us, especially knowing we were going to HALL Rutherford a couple days prior. Some of our all time favorite pinot noirs are Walt so naturally we needed this to make the itinerary. What we love about this property is that like MacRostie – you can’t get a bad seat here, every table for the tasting has beautiful sweeping vineyard views, comfortable seating and sun protection. Some cool facts about the Walt tasting room – it sits on 90 acres of land that was pre-planted prior to buying the property. Walt actually doesn’t use a single one of the grapes and sells them off as they were already under contract for their fruit. They don’t have any proper food at the winery but they do offer some wine chips for purchase (which came in handy because we forgot to schedule in a lunch 🙈). Suzanne was our host and she was simply the sweetest, we had such a wonderful time and she was so informative on not only the wines but the winery and Sonoma in general. Tips: Try to make a weekday appointment here as it is a lot less busy than the weekends and their busiest time of year is Mid-July through the end of September. After talking with Suzanne she let us know that they are trying to bring food into the winery soon and that they have a picnic option that will be launching in the near future!
We did the hybrid tasting of both Walt and BACA (which focuses on zinfandels) and ultimately one of us ended up joining the wine club. Let’s just start by saying we LOVED every single wine we tried – minus the rosé (and that’s not to say that it was bad just not our favorite of the trip). The standout pinot noir for us was the Bobs Ranch – it was so good! Smooth and exactly what we’ve come to expect from this brand. If you’re looking for a great jammy but not jam bomb zinfandel make sure you give the BACA Tug-o-War a try – it was absolutely incredible and our favorite of the BACA line that we tried!