The nuances of fine wine that give each vintage its unique flavors and aromas is attributed to terroir, a French word used to explain the magical combination of soil, climate and landscape that allows vines to flourish. Jordan Winery has long embraced the farm-to-table ethos, incorporating estate-grown produce, herbs and olive oil into its culinary hospitality and guest experiences. And now the Sonoma County vintner is taking the concept of terroir a step further with a garden plate, a custom, handcrafted ware, featuring clay from Jordan’s Alexander Valley estate.
The one-of-a-kind plates were created in collaboration with Napa-Valley based NBC Pottery, renowned for its rustic, yet elegant ceramics crafted for luxury hotels and fine restaurants such as The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood and The Charter Oak. The project was born after Todd Knoll, Jordan Winery’s executive chef, and his wife, Nitsa, who serves as director of hospitality and events at the winery, spent a few years getting to know NBC Pottery owners, Nikki and Will Callnan, at their annual open house studio event. The two couples discovered kindred creative spirits and philosophies, and the Knolls approached the Callnans about working together in 2018.
“I wanted a locally-made piece that was the ultimate expression of our terroir,” says Knoll. “I couldn’t think of any culinary experience more connected to the land than eating vegetables from Jordan’s garden on a plate that was made from clay in which those ingredients were grown.”
Each plate is slightly different, given the design and composition of the natural elements and features graceful, curved corners, as well as a lush, brown color glaze with a crystal-satin finish. The plates are for sale at the winery and at jordanwinery.com for $100.
Experience the magic of Burgundy, France, Sonoma County-style with wines from La Pitchoune. In French, La Pitchoune means “the little one,” and is a whimsical nod in to a small family property in the South of France. The name speaks to small production, small lots and the idea that the winery’s small size is its greatest asset.
“Inspired by the wines from Burgundy, we set out to make the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the most distinctive vineyards of where we live, West Sonoma County,” says Tracy Nielsen, co-founder and assistant winemaker. The winery made its first vintage in 2012 in Santa Rosa. La Pitchoune takes special care when crafting its wines. “Everyone talks about terroir or ‘sense of place’ when making wine, but we are truly terroir-obsessive. There are so many different microclimates in these small vineyards that we work with, and so many factors to consider—the direction the wind blows, the cool foggy evenings. We take what’s happening in the vineyard and capture it in a bottle.”
Following are a few great picks for holiday feasts or gift giving.
2015 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (la révolte). Hand-crafted using old-world techniques and style, it’s barrel-fermented in 100 percent French oak. Dubbed la révolte, to represent the winery is rebelling against typical Chardonnay, which can be over-ripe, over-oaked and have no flavor. This is an elegant wine with aromas of lemon curd and orange blossoms. Drink it now, or wait five or eight years to uncork and savor the flavor.
2018 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Vin Gris of Pinot Noir. Crafted in the traditional saignée method, this Rosé is made with fruit sourced from the winery’s Sonoma Coast vineyards. Once fermented, it’s aged in neutral French oak for two months, which helps give it a unique texture and mouth-feel. Inspired by the Rosé made in Provence, it features a dry, bright crisp acidity with tart red berries and citrus fruit.
2017 La Pitchoune Chenin Blanc Merritt Island Clarksburg (la bombe). A unique wine that’s dry with a bright green-yellow hue and aromas of green melon and honeysuckle with a flinty, woodsy note. Designed to enjoy now, but certain to age with grace over the next two to four years.
2014 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (la mission). This wine features fresh, bright flavors of wild strawberry, cranberry, pomegranate and blood orange laced with notes of juniper berry, black tea and smoked meats. A complex wine that you can uncork and enjoy now, but it will only continue to improve over the next 10 to 15 years.
For more information or to order wine online, visit laptichoune.com.
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