Jordan is a much-sung unsung hero of the South African wine industry. It’s set far off the regular tourist routes and isn’t accessible by the large coaches which invariably overrun larger estates during peak seasons. The winding drive down the near-single lane road is beautiful, even by Cape standards, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Bordeaux for the proximity of the vines to the road, rather than the terrain itself.
Though the farm’s history dates back over 300 years, Gary and Kathy Jordan have only been making wine there since 1993. The property hit the terroir jackpot for a number of reasons, but versatility is certainly a plus: slopes face all four compass points, vineyards sit at different altitudes from 160 to 410 metres above sea level and there’s influence from both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. A focus on using the farm’s natural assets as a sound base and managing the vines with innovative methodologies carries through to the cellar. Many wines have stories attached for marketing value – but the impression of the tales attached to each of Jordan’s products is that each plays a major role in setting apart the contents of each bottle.
The tasting room is small and cellar-adjacent, meaning that combining a tasting and cellar tour is easy (and particularly worthwhile). This is not an industrial operation, borne out by the scale of the tasting venue and the cellar itself. As a result, the experience is incredibly personal – particularly if you opt for the Reserve Tasting.
The tasting room staff are clearly invested in the winemaking process and go to great lengths to show off each wine’s assets. Something of a rarity in South Africa, there’s even a sample of shavings of barrels with different toasting levels to nose, to help unfurl the notes of some of the wines.
There’s an express tasting option (‘Short & Sweet’) which covers a selection of three wines – but if you’ve made the effort to drive out to the hidden valley, a more comprehensive exploration of the estate’s produce will be rewarded with the Terroir Tasting of five wines for R90 (per person) and the immersive Reserve tasting of the five top wines (including the astonishing flagship Sophia red blend – available only at the estate) for R295 (pp). The flagship wines are poured via Coravin preservation devices to ensure optimal delivery and the level of care taken by the tasting team in presenting each pour is almost deferential – and rightly so. As famous as the Jordan wines are, their profile should be ever so much higher.
There’s also a fine dining restaurant – aptly named ‘Jordan’ and the informal Bakery – both of which offer views across the dam and into the terraced vineyards.
If you’re a red wine fan and you don’t walk away with at least one bottle of the premium Sophia blend – which you can only purchase at the estate – you’ll regret it the instant you get home.
Stellenbosch Kloof Road,