Bottling celebrates the shared values of both wineries, jointly committed to independent ownership and quality without compromise
Jordan Vineyard & Winery announces the official launch today of its first Jordan Cuvée, 100% produced by Champagne AR Lenoble, owned and operated by the Malassagne family in the Champagne region of France. The Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble ($49) is a special bottling of non-vintage brut that celebrates the shared business values and common winemaking philosophies of both families.
With a history in sparkling wine dating back three decades, Jordan was the birthplace of J by Jordan sparkling wine, which was established by winery founder Tom Jordan and his daughter, Judy, in 1987. Until 1993, J sparkling was produced at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley, a relationship that exposed Rob Davis, Jordan’s winemaker since 1976, to Chardonnay’s much greater Burgundian likeness when grown in the Russian River Valley appellation. After moving J by Jordan sparkling to a permanent facility in Russian River Valley, Judy took over full ownership and grew J Vineyards & Winery into a successful producer of not only sparkling but also still wines. Jordan and J operated independently for almost two decades, but Jordan continued to serve J sparkling at winery receptions and winemaker dinners until a few years ago. Judy sold J Vineyards & Winery in 2015.
“Sparkling wine is a tradition we just couldn’t let go of,” said John Jordan, second-generation vintner and proprietor of Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “The inspiration for Jordan was the elegant wines and gracious hospitality of France, and when we found a family in Champagne that shares similar philosophies, not just in winemaking but in running a small business, we knew what we needed to do and where we needed to go.”
The AR Lenoble-Jordan partnership started with an introduction by a mutual friend. During a vacation to Paris in the winter of 2016, Davis visited his long-time friend, Tim Johnston, the founder of Juveniles Wine Bar in Paris, and told him about Jordan’s dream of finding a family in Champagne with which to collaborate on a special cuvée. Johnston, who interned at Jordan in 1980, said he knew just the person to call. Davis took a train to Champagne the next day and immediately felt a bond with the Malassagnes, learning of common values and philosophies, from independent ownership and focus on intensity of fruit and balance in the wines to extended bottle aging, adaptive farming practices and using reserve-quality wine in flagship bottlings. This is the first time AR Lenoble has ever produced a bottling for another company during its nearly 100 years in the wine business. The partnership is purely based on values—no financial investments or plans to make wines or buy vineyards together.
“We believe small, independent businesses like ours are stronger if we stick together in an increasingly globalized world,” said Antoine Malassagne, winemaker and co-proprietor of AR Lenoble. “An ocean might separate us, but both Jordan and AR Lenoble are united by our commitment to independence and to our customers. Neither one of us answers to anybody but ourselves, which is important in today’s wine business, whether you’re creating brilliant expressions of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma County like John Jordan or making wines of character from Champagne like Anne and me.”
One of the very rare producers in Champagne that has been consistently family owned throughout its entire history, AR Lenoble was established in 1920 by Armand-Raphael Graser, who had moved from Alsace to the village of Damery in Champagne during World War I. Today, AR Lenoble is owned and operated by siblings Anne and Antoine Malassagne, the great grandchildren of Graser. The family owns 18 hectares in some of the best parts of Champagne, including 10 hectares of chardonnay in the Grand Cru village of Chouilly on the Côte des Blancs and six hectares of pinot noir in the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil between Mareuil-sur-Ay and Tours-sur-Marne.
The Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble packaging includes both wineries’ brands on the label and capsule and also features a back label explaining the partnership of the two companies—a non-traditional approach to a private label. Uncommon in Champagne packaging, a cabouchon with the Jordan wordmark, which was assembled and attached by hand by the Malassagne family and their staff, graces each muselet. The Jordan Cuvée is a special selection of the house’s non-vintage brut produced in its cellars with grapes from AR Lenoble’s vineyards and long-term growers.
The blend is 30% grand cru chardonnay from Chouilly, 35% premier cru pinot noir from Bisseuil and 35% pinot meunier from Damery, with reserve wines comprising 25 percent of the blend. This Champagne spent four years aging on the lees before release, and its base wine vintage is 2012. The Jordan Cuvée retails for $49 and will only be sold direct to guests who visit the winery in Healdsburg. Due to shipping laws surrounding imported products sold by a domestic winery, online purchases are only allowed for residents in Alabama, Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, and a private purchase link must be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Only 500 nine-liter cases were imported.
The Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble will make its official debut to the public at the Belle Epoque Spring at Jordan event on May 13, a themed event celebrating Jordan’s new releases, which also includes the first-ever Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai. (Tickets are available for $95 per person.) The Champagne will also be served at Jordan’s dinner party events, many of which are open to the public, select wine dinners and festivals across the country, as well as during the new Champagne & Caviar Tasting and at private meals, which are only available to Jordan Estate Rewards members. Due to limited availability, it will not be served on daily Tours & Tastings at Jordan. For more information, visit www.jordanwinery.com/events or www.jordanwinery.com/rewards.
About Jordan Vineyard & Winery: Founded in 1972, Jordan Vineyard & Winery was inspired by the great wine estates of France and the timeless connection between food, wine and hospitality. Under the guidance of second-generation vintner John Jordan, Jordan Estate is an extension of these traditions, with its iconic chateau, breathtaking views, sustainably farmed vineyards, natural habitat for wildlife and gardens for the chef’s inventive cuisine, offering a distinctive sense of place in Sonoma County wine country. Learn more at www.jordanwinery.com.
About Champagne AR Lenoble: Founded in 1920, AR Lenoble is one of the rare houses in Champagne to have remained one-hundred percent family-owned and completely independent throughout its entire history. Sister-and-brother team Anne and Antoine Malassagne, the fourth generation to look after the estate, are committed to producing wines of character from some of the best vineyards in Champagne. Learn more at www.champagne-arlenoble.com.