A Time for Pause and Reflection
To say that the current health crisis in which we find ourself has presented us with a dizzying array of challenges would be an understatement. It has touched the life of every single person in this country, and in many parts of the world, and is sure to leave a lasting legacy. But it has also been incredible encouraging to see the strength of humankind in our ability to endure and adapt, and to come together to support one another.
In this time, when a return to normalcy seems almost an alien prospect, it’s as important as ever to celebrate the good things in life that motivate us, the things that draw the air into our lungs. For me, the love of wine and travel and being able to share it with you sits at the very top of that list.
This difficult time has given me the opportunity to reflect on all of the incredible experiences I’ve been so fortunate to be able to enjoy over the years. I am deeply grateful for that, as well as for your tremendous support and readership of this blog over the years. Thank you.
I’ve taken advantage of some of the downtime to relive past travels, and thought it might be fun to share a few photos with you throughout this post. This first one took some real digging…
UGCB Suspends En Primeur Campaign
Unfortunately, as the pandemic has seemingly touched all facets of life, the wine industry has not been immune, and it too, will be forced to adapt.
At the end of March, as uncertainty over the pandemic was mounting, I was planning to be traveling to Bordeaux for their highly anticipated annual en primeur campaign. To say that passionate about this storied region would be a huge understatement, and I was looking forward to having the opportunity to share my thoughts on the 2019 vintage.
It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and what better reason than the release of a new Bordeaux vintage?
While the campaign as planned was suspended, its organizer, the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, is cautiously planning a more limited program to afford journalists and buyers the opportunity to taste the 2019 vintage in select cities to be announced in May.
According to UGCB President Ronan Laborde, “The UGCB and its members remain cautious. The current priority is to continue fighting against this disease. It is nevertheless hard not to lookahead to the aftermath, which seems to be gradually taking shape. The programme that we envision for the 2019 En Primeurs presentations will be professional and intimate, rather than acause for celebration. After this difficult time, we hope we will be able to invite our friends and partners, in the coming weeks, in somewhat unusual circumstances, to taste the 2019 vintage, which inspires a great deal of curiosity and discussion. This new organisation, the details of which should be established in several days’ time, will fully take into consideration theprogressive and coercive nature of the deconfinement.”
There’s no doubt that we will have to continue to adapt for the foreseeable future, whether it be how we interact with our friends and loved ones to how we business is conducted. But what’s most important to me is that we do celebrate the good things in life, that we support one another and continue to look to forward to the future, because we will get through this, and we will be much stronger for it.
Jordan Winery | 40 Years of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Spirit of Innovation
Recently Lisa Mattson, who heads marketing at Sonoma’s Jordan winery, reached out to me about their upcoming 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon release. The winery had big plans for this vintage, from a music video to a bevy of Spring events, as it marks their 40th anniversary of making Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma.
Sadly, most of those plans will not come to fruition. But what really caught my attention was how they too are adapting and innovating, by developing a wine to-go research guide, a Date Night at Home photo contest, and even a Zoom tasting spoof that’s scheduled to debut soon.
They’ve also made a significant donation via the John Jordan Foundation to Sonoma Family Meal which is paying local restaurants to provide healthy, chef-made meals to those in need during this very trying time. This donation will not only provide 65,000 meals, but help 12 restaurants and caterers stay in business.
And with their eye on the future, they are also hard at work developing strict social distancing guidelines to prepare for when businesses are allowed to reopen, and their hopes are that these guidelines will be adopted throughout the industry – so that we can one day go wine tasting again. Now that too is something to celebrate!
Thankfully for us wine enthusiasts, in addition to these thoughtful initiatives, they’re still hard at work in the cellar. Jordan’s Cabernet is one I often enjoy for its old-world restraint, harmonious balance and relative value. Their wines age quite well, too, and are more Bordeaux-like than what many think of when California Cab comes to mind. Here’s my take on the 40th Anniversary 2016 vintage of Jordan’s Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon:
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Review
The final selection for Jordan’s 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was derived from a selection of 60 vineyard blocks from Jordan Estate and 14 family growers, who are paid by the acre rather than by the ton to ensure quality. Produced from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, with harvest closing almost ceremoniously on the eve of Jordan’s 40th anniversary. The nose is elegant with fine lift, possessing aromas of black cherry, anise and allspice. It’s sleek and focused on the palate, with black cherry and creme de cassis flavors that manage to be generous yet restrained, with notes of forest floor, black olive and white pepper lending savory nuance. Fresh acidity and a powdery tannin structure contribute to a harmonious, ageworthy package that makes a compelling case for Sonoma’s take on Saint Julien.
Price: $58 | ABV: 14.5% | Click Here To Purchase
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the health care professionals and emergency services workers who have tirelessly and in many cases thanklessly have saved countless lives. Your efforts will never be forgotten.
*Wine received as a media sample for purposes of review. No other consideration was received for publishing this article.
Well written and so reflects our time and issues we live with. My anxiety is how many quality small producers we may lose.
Thank you. I share your concerns and worry there are many small businesses who will not survive this crisis.
Great piece Ryan. So many great memories of Bordeaux. The small producers are definitely the biggest concern. Family owned wineries are the vast majority in Napa Valley. Likely in most wine regions near and far. Hoping we can get back to our new normal soon!
Thank you, Kelly. I truly hope we can, the sooner we can recover the better chances these great producers have of surviving.
so disappointed to not have gone to en primeur this year. I am anxiously awaiting to hear what the UGCB has to say about their plans for this vintage introduction
It was really disappointing. Hopeful that they will be able to preview the vintage sometime soon.