2011 Landmark Vineyards Chardonnay Damaris Reserve Sonoma Coast
Expert Rating
WE 92 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Landmark Vineyards Landmark Damaris Reserve

Most Chardonnay producers on the Sonoma Coast fall into one of two camps — Robert Parker's or Stephen Tanzer's. While Parker has long championed richer, heavier, more tropical fruit renderings, Tanzer remains stubbornly Burgundian, favoring mineral zest over unctuousness.

Just a handful of coastal producers walk the tightrope between the palates of both critics, garnering high scores from each. While Steve Kistler's Chardonnays tend to be closed and Burgundian on release, they can't help but charm the Wine Advocate. John Kongsgaard's interpretations are far richer and more New World — more "Parker-ized," many say — yet Tanzer's International Wine Cellar remains one of Kongsgaard's most fervent supporters. David Ramey's renderings are big and bold, yet powerfully structured, while Peter Michael's Chardonnays push the envelope on lemon-custard concentration, before finishing with plenty of Goldridge soil zip — both garner rave reviews from Parker and Tanzer.

Of course, all the wines mentioned above sport hefty price tags. John Kongsgaard's top Chardonnays — if you can find them — will set you back $225/bottle. Kistler's Hudson and Hyde Vineyard Chardonnays will set you back $150. Peter Michael's Point Rouge is a cool $300!

But if you want to fill your cellar with the lone bargain Chardonnay that has consistently wowed Parker and Tanzer over the last two decades — garnering 91-93 points in 12 out of the last 15 vintages — there's just one. Landmark's Damaris Reserve is the everyday Sonoma Chardonnay by which all others are measured. In the extraordinary growing season of 2011, winemaker Greg Stach crafted what we believe to be the richest, finest Damaris since 1996.

The 2011 campaign got off to a late start due to a cool, wet spring. In early June, when vines were pollinating, a storm hit, stunting the size of the crop — an event that would pay handsome dividends in September.

The summer then turned cool. In Landmark's vineyards, temperatures barely touched 85 degrees. By early September, the vines were still 10-14 days behind. But in the second week of the month, the valley temperatures climbed into the mid-90s. In rigorously farmed vineyards like Landmark's, sugars spiked, allowing Stach's crew to pick well before the rain began to fall in early October. At harvest, clusters were irregular, strewn with prized millerandages. The naturally high sugars would tantalize the Parker camp, while the stinging small-berry acidity would leave the Tanzer-ites smiling ear to ear.

Brilliant pale gold to the rim, infused with luscious aromas of ripe pear and apple compote, still high-toned and vibrant. Big, rich and plush on the attack, the exquisite 2011 Landmark Vineyards Chardonnay Damaris Reserve Sonoma Coast offers a juicy mix of apricot, honeysuckle and ginger. Yet the finish remains bracing, perfectly buttressing the tremendous concentration of the vintage.

92 points from Wine Enthusiast, with Parker and Tanzer set to pile on.

Tasting Notes

2011 Landmark Vineyards Chardonnay Damaris Reserve Sonoma Coast
"The Damaris Chardonnay has varied in grape sourcing over the years, ranging from Santa Maria Valley to Sonoma Valley. But with this new Sonoma Coast bottling, the wine has hit new heights. It's dry, brisk in acidity and tantalizing, with citrus and tropical fruit notes."
92 points -- Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast

"Brilliant pale gold to the rim, infused with luscious aromas of ripe pear and apple compote, still high-toned and vibrant. Big, rich and plush on the attack, the exquisite 2011 Damaris Reserve offers a juicy mix of apricot, honeysuckle and ginger. Yet the finish remains bracing, perfectly buttressing the tremendous concentration of the vintage. Drink now-2018."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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