1978 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900425 91 points John Gilman

 Jordan Vineyards was only started in 1976 and this 1978 cabernet sauvignon was only their third vintage at the fledgling winery. This was the sole wine based on Sonoma County fruit in our October tasting here in New York and stood out a bit from the rest of the lineup for this reason, but there is depth and complexity here that is quite impressive. The bouquet shows a touch of the weediness of Sonoma cabernet in its constellation of black cherries, cassis, tobacco leaf, cigar ash, vanillin oak and the aforementioned gentle weediness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still fairly youthful in personality, with a rock solid core, moderate tannins and very good length and grip on the complex finish. In our lineup of top 1978s, the Jordan did not have quite the same elegance of the very best wines of the vintage, but there are excellent raw materials here and this wine will provide plenty of enjoyment for decades to come. (Drink between 2016-2040) 91+  (1/2017)

Wine Spectator

 Smooth, supple and polished, with spicy black cherry, tea, herb, tar and cedary notes, this has held up well and shows no signs of deteriorating. (JL)  (11/1998)

K&L Notes

1978 has proven to be one of the finest vintages in California in the last half century. This is a lovely, complex offering with pronounced leaf, herb and cedar notes that complement the soft cherry fruit and completely resolved tannins. A perfect example of the best that the Alexander Valley can produce, this '78 is now fully mature and provides excellent value as well as historical perspective. Jordan's third vintage, and one of their greatest early wines along with the 1980.

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Price: $129.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.