Originally established in 1974 in Windsor, Landmark Vineyards was purchased in 1989 by Damaris Deer Etheridge. Etheridge, the great, great, granddaughter of the American agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere, relocated the vineyard to its present day home in Kenwood, Sonoma.
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In the tradition of her ancestor, Etheridge was driven to reunite her family with the soil. Along with her son, Michael Deere Calhoun and his wife Mary, the family hired ethnologist Helen Turly to work with wine maker Eric Stern to produce premium Chardonnay.
A choice example of Landmark’s outstanding Chardonnay is their flagship Overlook Chardonnay, which is made from 70% Sonoma County grapes, 15% Monterey Country grapes, and 15% Santa Barbara County grapes. In total, the Overlook Chardonnay is a cuvée made from the best lots of about 25 vineyards.
The grapes are whole cluster pressed, which means that the grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing. The result is that they generate lower solids and less bitter compounds in the juice. The wine is then barrel fermented with indigenous yeast found on the skins followed by malolactic fermentation prior to being aged in Burgundian oak barrels. This Chardonnay is a great expression of the essential California Chardonnay with complex flavors of concentrated fruit, oak and mineral within a rich body.
The Grand Detour Pinot Noir is an extraordinary Pinot blend made from grapes from the Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Mountain. The winemakers at Landmark decided not to specialize in terroir, opting to concentrate on achieving the best balance and finesse through blending. The result is a spot-on Pinot with a rich and ripe body, flavors of red cherry and spice, hints of cinnamon and bacon, and a balanced structure.
For those of you interested in visiting the 20 acre estate, Landmark rents a cottage and a suite for people wishing to stay the night. Landmark Vineyards is located in the town of Kenwood in the Sonoma Valley AVA.