I was so overtly impressed with Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay, I was thrilled to find their Pinot Noir amongst the wines at Safeway. I’ve always had a fondness for Pinot Noir — it’s lackadaisical, easy drinking on the palate despite the high-maintenance, somewhat fiddle-y nature of the delicate grape. Like a ballet dancer that makes dance moves look so effortless when, in fact, every muscle in her body is working overtime. So I already have an appreciation for winemakers who work with Pinot. But what I particularly love about Landmark is that, even with their, shall we say, average-consumer-grade wines, they put in the time and effort to hand harvest, hand sort, and barrel age until native yeast takes effect during fermentation. And it’s that time and effort that raise their wines’ taste, texture, and overall quality, making a wine that’s not just fun and easy to drink, but a true testament to the craft of winemaking and to the joy of wine appreciation.


About the Wine: Landmark Overlook Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from various California regions: 53% Sonoma County, 39% Monterey County, 8% San Benito County. The Pinot Noir grapes were aged in single-vineyard lots, aged for 10 months in French oak (33% new). Those single-vineyard barrels were taste-tested during fermentation, then the best of the bunch were blended to create the final product.

14.3% ABV

Flavor Profile: What I like about Landmark Vineyards (thus far) is that they create wines that truly make you think. This Pinot Noir is a very typical red-meets-purple wine color in the glass, emitting initial aromas that are, again, quite typical: bright cherries, tart plum, perhaps a bit of cranberry or pomegranate as well. You’re poised to think that your drinking experience will be quite typical as well. Go ahead, take a sip. Now I challenge you to go beyond the initial, topical flavors that speak of those fruit-filled aromas. Go deeper, deeper into your breath as you hold this wine on your tongue. Go deeper, deeper into the forest filled with these fruits as they hang from their native tree branch.

Did you go there? Did you get it? That moist, fertile, forest floor? The fresh rainwater that moistens the soil; the minerals that enrich the life of the roots; the life that extends through the branches until it reaches the very buds you are drinking.

That experience is quite deep within the wine. You have to really try to find it. But it’s there. The great thing about Landmark Overlook Pinot Noir is that you don’t have to go there if you don’t want to. Superficially, topically, on a singular level, this wine can stand on its own as “daily drinker,” a “Wednesday wine.” But for those looking to take the experience to the next level — the Pinot happily awaits your visit.

Food Pairing: Landmark Vineyards suggests thyme and lemon seasoned rotisserie chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and a roasted beet and green bean salad. Sounds tasty to me…

I enjoyed my bottle of Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir with cedar plank salmon atop a spinach, strawberry and fennel salad garnished with almonds and light feta.

I would like to re-try this wine with a dish that speaks a bit more of the earth: a gamey meat with slow roasted root vegetables; a vegetarian dish tossed with native grains. I think such a dish could pull on that fertile floor experience, pay proper homage to the terroir, and fully immerse myself in that next level wine drinking experience.

More Info: If you haven’t read my review of Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay please do so. It’s a stand-out wine for Chardonnay lovers who are looking for a little interest in their fav varietal. For more information about Landmark Vineyards, visit the Landmark Vineyards website where you can view and purchase most of their wines. I think I’m most curious about their Estate Grenache, or even one of their single vineyard Chards or Pinots. The Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir is available at Safeway (Sale Price: $20).

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