Wine Review of Landmark Vineyards Grand Detour Pinot Noir 2008

Landmark Vineyards Grand Detour Pinot NoirGrape

100% Pinot Noir.
It’s thought that the word Pinot comes from the French word for pine or pinecone, this referring to the shape the grape bunch takes on the vine, and Noir coming from the French word for black.
Pinot is a notoriously tough grape to grow due to its thin skin, which is why you often pay more for Pinot Noir than most other red wines.



Before we get started, I just want to fill in anyone who hasn’t yet heard of Landmark Vineyards. This is some serious juice! If you’re into wine ratings, eat your heart out:

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine – 2008 Grand Detour – 92 points
Pinot Report – 2008 Grand Detour Pinot Noir – 92 points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate – 2007 Grand Detour – 90 points
Pinot Report – 2006 Grand Detour Pinot Noir – 93 Points
Wine Enthusiast -2005 Grand Detour Pinot Noir – 93 points

It’s hard to mention Californian Pinot Noir without talking EXTENSIVELY about the movie Sideways and the tremendous effect it had (allegedly) on Pinot sales throughout the United States, but I’m not going to…so there!


Landmark Winery was founded in 1974 by Damaris Deere Ford, great-great granddaughter of John Deere (yes, THE John Deere).  Today, her son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Mary Colhoun are the proprietors, continuing to express the family’s agricultural legacy through Landmark’s everyday vineyard practices.


The name Grand Detour comes from Grand Detour, Illinois which was where John Deere invented the steel plow back in 1838.


sonoma coast map_thumb[2]
By California appellation standards, Sonoma Coast is a BIG region! 60 miles from end to end and 500,000 acres (converts to over 781 square miles).


2008 was anything but a conventional year for Sonoma. Severe frost in March and April damaged a number of the area’s vineyards. A cool spring didn’t help flowering, and if all of that wasn’t enough; smoke from wildfires blanketed the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast! Somehow Landmark Vineyards managed to pull through.

The Sonoma Coast is one of California’s best regions for the production of Pinot Noir, with plantings making up over 40% of California’s Pinot harvest.



Very expressive on the nose, showing a mixture of black and red cherries, fresh herbs and a touch of oak and vanilla. Rich and smooth on the palate revealing ripe cherry and raspberry at the beginning, more herbs and even a little spice toward the middle, making way for deeper darker black fruits toward the extensive finish.  I’m not going to lie to you, this one hung around on my palate for longer than most other Pinot’s I can recall. Beautifully balanced between fruit and alcohol, and doesn’t finish hot like I’ve been finding with a lot of Cali Pinot’s recently.



The Landmark Grand Detour Pinot Noir would pair with a wide variety of dishes due it being flavorful but not heavy in alcohol, oak or tannin. Give thought to grilled salmon, turkey, pork tenderloin, mushrooms, duck and coq au vin.




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