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A Pair of Iconic Cab Producers and a Sonoma Linked Champagne

By Winecompass
A Pair of Iconic Cab Producers and a Sonoma linked Champagne2012 Alexander Valley Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (750ml $72; 1.5l $199)
Jordan Vineyard & Winery has been an iconic producer of Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon since practically its first release in 1976.  Their estate is located in the Alexander Valley AVA - just north of Healdsburg - which is the largest wine region in the county. The AVAs boundaries have changed slightly over the years but the the original border extended from the banks of the Russian River eastward to the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains and is sheltered by the moderating influences of the Pacific.  This means the day times are dry and hot whereas the colder night temperatures create a large diurnal temperature swing leading to slowly maturing grapes and intense acids. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon contains 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot; and 2% Malbec from the Jordan estate and an allotment from 16 family growers. The fermented wine undergoes a year of oak treatment in various vessels and toast before final release. Winemaker Rob Davis considers 2012 "a phenomenal growing season" and this is exhibited in the wine, even a few years after its initial release. The wine is still considerably fresh with solid black fruit, a creamy mid-section, and a long soft landing. This wine is phenomenal on its own and will still pierce through any red meat.
A Pair of Iconic Cab Producers and a Sonoma linked ChampagneJordan Cuvée ($49)
Since its inception, Jordan Vineyard & Winery has offered visitors sparkling wine, initially true Champagne, but later sparkling wine from sister winery J Vineyards & Winery.  After J Vineyards became part of the Gallo empire, Jordan returned to the past and established a relationship with Champagne AR Lenoble in France as bother wineries share a "joint commitment to independent ownership, wines of balance and quality without compromise". In fact there are no financial investments or legal contracts -- the two wineries are independently aligned through mutual respect and friendship. This respect is born from AR Lenoble’s focus on quality by limiting yields in the vineyards, using exclusively first-press juice, and blending more reserve wine in its non-vintage bottling.  This holds true for the Jordan Cuvée which is a 2012 baseline blend of 30% Grand Cru Chardonnay; 35% 1st Cru Pinot Noir, and 35% Pinot Meunier using only first-press juice and 35% reserve wines. The wine is then aged 4 years on the lees with 18% aged in oak barrels and then aged in bottle for a year. And the sparkling wine is fantastic, starting a little bready but then transitioning to a creamy, racy citrus finale that persists long after the bubbles.  
A Pair of Iconic Cab Producers and a Sonoma linked Champagne2014 Concannon Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($20)
Another iconic and even more historic producer of California Cabernet is the Livermore Valley's Concannon Vineyard. The winery is "America's oldest, ongoing winery under the same family label and stewardship" and more importantly the source of approximately 80% of California Cabernet Sauvignon through three cones of a single vine imported from famed Château Margaux.  And this Mother Vine is located at the beginning of a row near the auxiliary house not far from the winery's main tasting room. Besides their Livermore estate, Concannon produces wine from other appellations such as Paso Robles, an area making a statement with Cabernet through the Paso Robles CAB Collective. The affordable wine is made in part from the Concannon clones and is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Petite Verdot, and 6.5% Petite Sirah. This is a bold wine, yet restrained; dense, but flows effortlessly throughout the palate. Dark fruit mingle with spices and chocolate before finishing with a silky and smooth. A bargain at this price.

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