The luxurious taste of caviar has been a part of Jordan Vineyard & Winery’s elegant hospitality for decades, and the French-inspired wine producer’s connection to this culinary delicacy reaches new heights this month with the launch of the Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai. Online purchases are now available at www.jordanwinery.com/shop.
Hand-crafted in collaboration with Jordan Executive Chef Todd Knoll, this small-batch caviar combines Tsar Nicoulai’s sustainable methods of high-quality farming in Northern California with Chef Knoll’s affinity for the Sonoma Coast, captured through a homemade cure. To create this new caviar, Knoll harvested salt water and kombu (a mineral-rich type of kelp) from the Sonoma Coast, dehydrated the kombu and then let it infuse with a chilled bath of the collected salt water for three days before kombu was removed and final evaporation occurred, making the caviar’s essential cure. Tsar Nicoulai sustainably harvested the roe from 100 percent California white sturgeon raised at the company’s farm in Sacramento County before the chef applied the infused sea salt. The Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar cured for eight weeks before release.
“I wanted to elevate an already extraordinary caviar with our own wine country statement,” says Knoll, who was raised in Hawaii and makes his own sea salts. “We plan to change the cure every few seasons, incorporating homemade salts from my travels plus other ingredients from Sonoma and beyond, all to celebrate the wine and caviar pairing experience.”
Knoll is one of three Bay Area chefs making private batch caviars with Tsar Nicoulai. Three Michelin-starred chef Joshua Skenes of Saison created an ember-smoked caviar over the last two years with Tsar Nicoulai, and David Barzelay of Lazy Bear, the self-taught chef who transformed a pop-up dinner club into a Michelin-starred restaurant, recently finished developing his conifer-centric cure.
The foundation for this partnership, apart from a long friendship between Tsar Nicoulai and Jordan, was the careful selection of a specific caviar for the chef’s cure. Tsar Nicoulai produces 15 varieties of the cured sturgeon roe, and the reserve-level caviar was chosen for its supple pairing with the new Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble, Jordan Chardonnay and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. Reserve-grade caviar hails from Tsar Nicoulai’s finest California white sturgeon with genetic strains dating back 20 years. Fish must be a minimum of eight years old and meet the company’s standards of grain size and bead quality, attributes which come not only from genetic lineage kept exclusively at its farm in Wilton, Calif., but also from the low density of the ponds and thus low stress levels of the fish. As with all Tsar Nicoulai products, this caviar was carefully produced and selected without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs or synthetic preservatives, creating a caviar of the highest quality and integrity for enjoyment.
Consumers enjoyed their first taste of the Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai at the Belle Époque Spring at Jordan party on May 13, which celebrated the debut of both the caviar and the Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble. Jordan has also unveiled a Champagne & Caviar Tasting experience, offered exclusively for silver, gold and platinum members of Jordan Estate Rewards. The caviar will also be featured at the winery’s formal dinner parties, such as Valentine’s Dinner at Jordan and A Taste of Spring. The Jordan Chef’s Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai retails for $135 per ounce (including shipping) and is sold exclusively at www.jordanwinery.com/shop. This caviar is the second culinary product created in the winery’s four-decade history, proceeded only by the Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil introduced in 1998.