Wine Wednesday: Vegetarian Garden Tempura with Jordan Chardonnay

July 17, 2013

Chardonnay grapes love the cool climate of the Russian River, but an even cooler year in 2011 resulted in a vintage for Jordan Winery that refused to be tamed. The 2011 Jordan Chardonnay is bright with elegant fruit and beautiful acidity. The Burgundy style of wines that Jordan produces go perfectly with food as their fresh fruit comes forward, but without a lot of buttery components that overwhelm the fruit.

In the following video tasting note, Jordan's winemaker Rob Davis, showcases his skill at crafting elegant Chardonnays to rival France's finest. Pair this beautiful wine - with its bright fruit, vibrant minerality and crisp acidity - with their Garden Tempura recipe below. You're in for a summer feast! 

Garden TempuraGarden Tempura
Serves 6
1 lb vegetables and blossoms
3 cups rice oil or canola oil
½ cup ice water
½ cup ice cold Japanese lager
1 egg
½ cup rice flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Shichimi Togarashi
Click here for the instructions.

Get recipes, cooking tips and more from Jordan Winery Blog and here:

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2011 Jordan Chardonnay video tasting note by Winemaker Rob Davis of Jordan Winery (video transcription)

2011, of all the years I’ve been making, it’s probably one of the coolest years I’ve seen.  But it couldn’t be a better situation for the Chardonnay because a cool climate, Russian River Valley, add that to a vintage like 2011, it’s even cooler.  What that means it’s really bright, really elegant fruit, but beautiful acidity to back up the fruit, that’s the 2011 Jordan Chardonnay.

The style that we’re producing is still very much inspired by our Burgundy friends in France, because that particular style of wine is what really appeals to me, is the ones that I think go best with food, nice fresh fruit comes through in the nose.  You don’t get a lot of buttery components that are going to overwhelm that fruit.  I love it when master sommeliers come up to me and say, “Your wine makes me so upset because when I put in the blind tasting I think of it as a Pouilly not as a California Chardonnay.”  It brings tears to my eyes when I hear that because that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.

What do we do to capture that style?  How do we maintain that kind of fruit intensity through the vinting process of it?  Soil is everything to Chardonnay.  The climate is very important, unless you get the correct soil to match that growth cycle for the whole year, you’re not going to get that middle character, that really intense fruit character that Chardonnay’s so well known for.

All of our fruit is picked at night and during that time you can literally be out there by the hop where you feel the chill, especially around three o’clock when it gets about the lowest temperate and my hands literally get numb trying to work with the fruit.  But I’m happy with that numbness because what it means is preserving the fruit characteristic, that fruit intensity.  That is absolutely essential to our style of wine.

What we want you to really appreciate about our wine is the freshness, the forward nature of the fruit, oak is really a counterpart to that, it’s just the background step.
Fuji apple of all the apples has a real great intensity to it.  And this is what you’ll find in our wine.  But you’ll also find kind of backgrounds of pear, a bit of quince, a little bit of kiwi, something of maybe tropical notes.

What we define as balance is really is that when one … there’s not one chair out of order in the dining room, you know, everything is just really from beginning to end is a great experience.

The key to the balance is the finish of the wine because that’s the memory of the wine.  That’s what really gets you to come back and say, “I’ve got to have another bottle of Jordan Chardonnay”, because when you have that final finish to it, it’s the lasting memory.  And when you … I mean the bottle might be gone, but you might be waking up the next morning going, God, still I can taste that, I still remember that finish.  You know, and it might still be sitting in the back of your throat.  But it’s really up in your head and you’re remembering that.  And that’s really I think what’s key to a great, great wine, is the memory that you had a great experience with it and you want to repeat that again.

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