Oct 27, 2012

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Jeff Gordon Joie de Vivre 2008: Live Twitter Tasting

NASCAR champ, Jeff Gordon

I’ve done a lot of interesting things in my life, but until recently, I had never tasted wine with a NASCAR champion race car driver.

Jeff Gordon is a four-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and has won the Daytona 500 three times. He has 86 total career wins and has the most wins in NASCAR’s modern history (1972-present). Jeff Gordon is also an oenophile. After his first NASCAR win in 1995, Gordon discovered his passion for wine after his first sip of Joseph Drouhin Batard-Montrachet. In  the years to follow, Gordon developed an appreciation for winemaking, and decided to create his own brand: Jeff Gordon Wines.

Gordon partnered with well-known Napa Valley vintner, August “Joe” Briggs, because of his reputation for creating high quality, small-lot wines. Assistant winemaker, also Briggs nephew, Jesse Inman, joined the team as assistant winemaker, and in 2011 became the primary winemaker under Briggs guidance. 2004 was the first vintage of the Jeff Gordon collection of wines to hit the shelves in 2005, a Carneros Chardonnay. Following the Chardonnay, Jeff Gordon has since released several varietals, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and a Rosé of Syrah from Napa Valley, a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and a signature red blend, with grapes sourced from three premier Napa Valley vineyards, named Joie de Vivre.

Jeff Gordon | photo credit: Rocco Ceselin

When I was invited to participate in a live Twitter Tasting of the Jeff Gordon 2008 Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life) , a red blend of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, I accepted the invitation without hesitation. On October 24, 5:30 pm PST, wine bloggers from around the country and I popped the corks on our Jeff Gordon Joie de Vivre’s and logged onto Twitter. By using the hashtag #JeffGordonJDV, we were able to follow all the posts by participating wine tasters, and the Twitter feed was busy with descriptions of the wines aromas right from the get-go:

~ Jason Phelps ‏@ancientfirewine: “@NapaCabulous @jeffgordonwine Red & black fruits, a bit of earth. And all of it is big enough to make a bold statement. #JeffGordonJDV”

~ Frank Morgan @DrinkWhatULike: “@JeffGordonWeb Joie de Vivre 08 Generous black cherry, plum, choco syrup + hints of licorice, spice, mint. #JeffGordonJDV”

~ Matthew S Horbun @mmWine: “’08 @JeffGordonWine JdV nose is sweet red fruit like chocolate covered cherries. Beautiful #JeffGordonJDV”

~ My notes from the first pour into the glass @WineJulia: “Beautiful deep purple-y red in the glass, wonderful fruity, earthy nose. #JeffGordonJDV”

Soon after, sippers descriptions of the flavor profile were very much in agreement – this was a big, bold, complex and delicious wine:

~ Elizabeth Smith ‏@travelwinechick: “@JeffGordonWeb @GourmetGuyMag @JeffGordonWine Quality over quantity works. This is an amazing, complex, approachable wine. #JeffGordonJDV”

Palate Exposure ‏@PalateXposure: “@JeffGordonWeb #JeffGordonJDV @JeffGordonWine Final tasting note of the evening – Legs, Longevity & Luxury. Long Live Joie de Vivre!”

NowAndZin ‏@randyfuller1: “@RedWineDiva @alawine A big and beautiful wine / cherry and berry galore / want a second glass. #wine #haiku #JeffGordonJDV”

Palate Exposure ‏@PalateXposure: “#JeffGordonJDV @JeffGordonWeb @JeffGordonWine Solid mid-palate with supple, round tannins & a Rewarding, Roaring, Lengthy, Luxurious Finish!

~ My notes on the wine were: “fruit forward berries and cherries, with mid-palate elegance and a lengthy, luscious, smoky finish.”

I enjoyed reading the comments with the race car references too:

Ken #wine ‏@alawine: “@mmWine @randyfuller1 @ancientfirewine @dvinewinetime @wineguymike see you at the starting line tonight for #JeffGordonJDV tasting”

NowAndZin @randyfuller1: “#JeffGordonJDV is amazing. Top Napa. Great Cab, soft Merlot, spicy Syrah. Do a donut in the infield, @JeffGordonWeb”

Shawn Burgert @awanderingwino: “Like my wines w/ interesting character, well balanced, smooth w/ a great finish…just like at the track. #ha #JeffGordonJDV”

Ken #wine ‏@alawine: “@JeffGordonWeb thank you! I hope your next finish is as good as the one on your #JeffGordonJDV 1st place!” 

Jodi Fritch @tampawinewoman: “This wine has long legs like one of those trackside models @JeffGordonWine #JeffGordonJDV with @DougIacino

Jean Wilson ‏@RedWineDiva: “@alawine @awanderingwino @DrinkWhatULike @AnotherWineBlog @WineWonkette I think he took the checkerd flag!!! #jeffgordonJDV”

The NASCAR legend himself, Jeff Gordon, entered into the conversation to answer the many questions from the tasters, but most importantly, he seemed to be thrilled with the positive response from everyone who was clearly enjoying the 2008 Joie de Vivre.

This beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah comes highly recommended. With a small production of just 250 cases, if you see this wine on the shelves, my advice would be to not just walk by. Take home a bottle and experience a little “Joy of Life.”


Thanks to Director of Sales at Jeff Gordon Cellars, Chrissy Gallagher, for inviting me to join in on this stellar tasting event. Thanks also to Jesse Inman for producing an excellent wine, and to Jeff Gordon for proving that celebrities involvement in the wine industry can certainly be a win for all.