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MICHAEL GREENíS WINE NOTES #156 (article first published : 2006-08-15)

Over the past decade the Jordan family of Stellenbosch have successfully completed the transition from shoemakers to winemakers. The fortunes of this close-knit clan were established with Jordan shoes. Now the name Jordan is associated with high quality wines from a high altitude farm at Stellenbosch, on a west-facing ridge that has views over Table Bay, False Bay and Cape Town.

The farmís first wines were produced in 1993. Today the second generation of wine-farming Jordans, husband and wife Gary and Kathy, produce about 65,000 cases of wine, roughly half and half red and white, every year from a hundred hectares of vineyards planted with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, chardonnay, chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc and riesling grapes.

The 16 wines marketed under the Jordan label have over the years earned an enviable reputation for distinctiveness and consistency, thanks to the farmís good gravelly soils, the use of low-yielding vines producing smaller grapes with concentrated flavour, and a general attitude aimed at quality rather than quantity.

The most recent vintages of two of the wineryís top reds are typical. Jordan Cobblers Hill, named as an acknowledgment of the familyís history in the shoe business, is the flagship, a Bordeaux blend (cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc) that should please the most critical palate.

The 2003 vintage Cobblers Hill is a dark, intense, powerful wine with flavours of chocolate, cherry, blackberry and a touch of mint. It was matured for 23 months in small French oak barrels. It is a wine to be sipped (slowly, it is 14,5 percent alcohol) and savoured. At about R180 a bottle it deserves your full attention. It was given a gold medal at this yearís Swiss International Air Lines Wine Awards and has been chosen to be served on the Irish airline Aer Lingus.

The 2004 Jordan Syrah is another dense, concentrated wine. Syrah is another name for the shiraz grape and this wine is 100 percent shiraz, matured in French and American oak for 16 months. Again, rich, dark fruit and chocolate flavours, with an additional smoky, peppery spiciness that is characteristic of shiraz. The alcohol content is 14 percent and the recommended retail price is R78 a bottle.

Both these wines are exported and both are widely available in South Africa.

The Jordan winery is about 50 minutesí drive from Cape Town and is open for tasting and sales seven days a week. Phone 021 881 3441.




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