As Houston moves into summer, Landmark Vineyards is offering two new wines to delight palates thirsty from heat and humidity. The 2017 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay and the 2016 Grand Detour Pinot Noir are definitely high end pleasers.


2017 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay

2017 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast

Family’s Kiser Vineyard in the Sonoma Carneros AVA is the other highly valued source for this vintage. These two cooler sites allow the Chardonnay fruit to maintain balance and acidity while developing fully mature flavor profiles. The grapes used for this wine are the Robert Young and Old Wente selections, both known for their ability to produce fruit of outstanding character.

Each vineyard block was hand-harvested at night and quickly whole cluster pressed upon arrival at the winery. The next day, the juice is put into French oak barrels (35% new) and allowed to ferment with yeast indigenous to the vineyard and winery. The wine proceeds through full malolactic fermentation and lees stirring is employed every two weeks to build a creamy and complex mouthfeel. The wine is bottled unfiltered after 15 months in barrel.

Vibrant lemon yellow with slight green and silver highlights and aromas of meyer lemon, Asian pear, yellow apple skin, buttered brioche and subtle hints of flint and white pepper. On the palate, it’s full-bodied with ripe lemon, green and yellow apple fruit on entry. As the palate evolves, a fuller and rounded meyer lemon appears along with complex, savory elements of oak, lightly buttered toast with herbal and floral notes. The finish is long, crisp and textured with sustained ripe fruit and a subtle saline, mineral texture.

The 2017 Damaris Reserve Chardonnay is a special wine that speaks to its origins in southern Sonoma with an uncommon balance of ripe fruit matched with a crisp, mineral, almost saline texture that makes this an excellent pairing for a wide variety of food as well as candidate for aging. While oysters can come to mind, a classic Sloe Meunier, a sauteed filet of sole served with simple pan sauce made with white wine, lemon and butter with a garnish of parsley showcases both the wine and food beautifully.


2016 Grand Detour Pinot Noir

2016 Grand Detour Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast

The 2017 Grand Detour Pinot Nor was primarily sourced from Landmark’s Hop Kiln Estate on Westside Road, located in the heart of the Famed Russian Valley. Crafting this wine from Estate fruit gives winemaker, Greg Stach opportunities to select his favorite blocks with unique grape and rootstock combinations. Working closely with Estate Vineyard Manager, David Smith, they were able to harvest the fruit at optimum timing while employing their best practices to mitigate the potentially damaging effects from the 10-day heat event with eight days exceeding 100 degrees that created a sense of urgency throughout the region.

The 2017 Grand Detour is primarily sourced from the North Bridge and Three Corners sections of their own Hop Kiln Estate. The fruit was hand-picked and night harvested the last week of August 2017. Each lot was sorted into one-ton fermenters and allowed to cold soak for five days before fermentation. During fermentation, the bins were gently punched twice a day to extract color, flavor and tannin. At dryness, the free-run wine is drained into French oak barrels (33% new) where it ages 10 months before bottling.

The 2017 Grand Detour Pino Noir, has medium ruby/purple core, slightly lighter at the rim with beautiful aromatics of ripe dark cherry, berry and pomegranate fruit with vanilla and cinnamon barred spice, leather, autumn leaves and subtle camphor notes. On the palate, it is moderate-to-full bodied showing a layered core of black and red fruit and baking spice on entry with savory tobacco, leather and black tea surrounded by firm tannins as the mid palate evolves. The finish lingers with ripe dark fruit and sweet spice balanced with savory dried leaf element and balanced acidity.

With the ability to age five or more years, the 2017 Grand Detour is rich and complex that pairs well with pan fried veal chops with an herb and wild mushroom sauce.

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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