If you’ve ever been along lucky enough to visit Sonoma you will find the most beautiful vineyards in the world. Many of them nestled among the majestic California Redwoods, the vineyards seem to grow right out of the trees.
The thing I find most fascinating with the area is how the mists from the Pacific Ocean waft through the trees and vines in the early mornings. By midday the sun has come into full exposure and the days are dry and warm.
This combination of warm, dry days and cool, moist nights is the perfect home for what many consider the greatest Pinot Noir grapes in the world. If you ever get a chance to visit the area I highly recommend spending a few days just taking this region’s beauty in.
Kenwood, California is a small unincorporated hamlet nestled in the far north of the Sonoma region. It is here that Damaris Deere Ford, the great great granddaughter of John Deere, founded Landmark winery in 1974. The winery has focused on medium sized production, unlike many of the mega producers in the area. The center of their attention is on the vineyards themselves, and the great wines that can come from great land.
Winemaker, Greg Statch, and his team produce several different levels of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I was lucky enough to try his signature label Pinot called “Grand Detour”.
This wine features a blend of fantastic grapes from throughout the region including Flocchini, Kanzier, Spring Hill Ranch, Armagh, and Juul Vineyards. The grapes are hand harvested and cold soaked before fermentation. Stach then ferments and ages the various barrels, blending the various juices to come up with just the right flavors for the final blend.
The 2010 “Grand Detour” features a spectacular nose of wild strawberries. There is a faint background of grilled mushrooms. The color of the wine is a beautiful ruby to purple in the bowl of the glass.
In the mouth this wine has flavors of strawberry, ginseng and corriander, mixed with plum and blood orange. It has beautiful, soft and silky tannins, and a soft acidity.
Initially I popped the cork on this bottle just to write this column. However, after my first sniff and taste I felt like I had just opened the door to royalty in my house and I was underdressed for the occasion. When I handed my wife my glass her eyes glazed over and I could tell this wine was something special.
Having a special bottle in my possession, I changed dinner plans to something that would compliment such a great wine. Some soft cheeses and aged meats went very well with this fantastic juice.
I realize that this bottle isn’t in the under $10 range, or even the under $15 range that I normally report on. This baby has a MSRP of $40. Just know that every drop is worth it.
As for where you can find this wine, I suggest asking for it at your favorite local wine shop. If they are a shop that supports California wines they should have access to this great juice.