Why Visit Landmark Vineyards?
I first discovered the bottled beauty offered up by Landmark Vineyards at a family wine tasting session at JUSTIN Winery in Paso Robles, CA. My dad has been a member at JUSTIN for years because it’s his favorite winery ever. So we get to hang with the cool kids in the members’ lounge where they also pour wines from their sister winery, Landmark Vineyards. When our JUSTIN server poured that first glass of Pinot Noir from Sonoma, it was love at first sip! As an avid Pinot Noir drinker, I have tasted A LOT of Pinots. But Landmark Vineyards truly sets the bar high. The aromas, the depth of flavor —INSANE!
So needless to say, I was definitely looking forward to visiting Landmark Vineyards over my family’s 2017 Christmas holiday in Napa and Sonoma.
Landmark Vineyards produces wine with the philosophy that “exceptional wines are distinctive because of where they are grown.” This simple statement embodies what I love most about wine — wines are deeply rooted in place. You can easily experience a different land and new part of the world by visiting an international wine shop with a diverse selection. No matter how a winemaker does his thing, so much of the magic coming through the glass starts where the grapes were grown. Landmark Vineyards thrives off of this concept.
Winemaker Greg Stach abides by the “less is more” philosophy and truly lets the vineyards do the talking. Landmark sources grapes from multiple AVAs including the Sonoma Coast, Carneros, and Russian River Valley. By diversifying their vineyards, this exceptional winery has created nuanced and distinctive wines from two varietals solely. Landmark has developed a signature style of pressing grapes as whole clusters and allowing the naturally occurring yeasts to ferment while aging in French Oak barrels. This process creates deep, complex, aromatic wines I absolutely love.
Don’t let the fact that Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the only varietals offered hold you back from visiting. I experienced an illogical amount of variety amongst each glass poured based on the vineyard of origin. Landmark Vineyards will take your palate for a ride! With absolutely breathtaking views of the Mayacamas Mountains, an expansive outdoor seating area, and exquisite wines, Landmark Vineyards is a 10/10 in my book.
We visited the Sonoma Valley tasting room, though there is also a Russian River Valley tasting room location in Healdsburg. Below you will find notes from my tasting experience at Landmark Vineyards. I definitely purchased a bottle or two, so stay tuned for a stellar food pairing to support this already fabulous wine. More to come!
Damaris Reserve Chardonnay 2015 – Damaris is the namesake of the original proprietor of Landmark Vineyards. This Chardonnay had a voluptuous bouquet emanating from the glass even before I stuck my nose in. I had a touch of spritz on the nose with apricot and honeysuckle. A lot of minerals and some grassiness on the palate with a warm, velvety finish.
Sangiacomo Chardonnay 2015 – Grapes from the Carneros region. Caramelized sugar on the nose. Drier mouthfeel with more grassy notes.
Lorenzo Chardonnay 2014 – Grapes from a vineyard closer to the Russian River Valley, grown in richer, riverbed soils. Soft and floral, yet still complex. Dry and mineral forward with lofty floral notes.
La Encantada Pinot Noir 2014 – Grapes are grown down south near Santa Barbara, as Pinot Noir needs a cooler climate. Grapes can hang longer allowing for greater development of natural sugars. A more acidic Pinot Noir with some musty nuances. A lighter Pinot perfect for afternoon drinking.
Rodgers Creek Pinot Noir 2015 – Grapes are grown to the east of Petaluma in more volcanic soils which stresses the vines. Picked up more earthy tones and some smokiness. Very smooth drinking with notes of tobacco and leather.
Escolle Pinot Noir 2014 – Grapes are grown on the Western side of the Monterey Valley with a little ocean breeze blowing through. Very lush and smooth drinking with lots of berry notes. Completely lovely.
Rayhill Pinot Noir 2014 – Grapes are grown above Bodega Bay at 500 ft. elevation receiving a breeze riding up the hill from the bay and through the vines. A bit more tannic than the others, yet still quite soft with notes of nutmeg, spice, and dark cherry.