Grilled Coffee Marinated Pork Tenderloin with 2010 Kanzler

About a week ago, Landmark released it’s 2010 Kanzler Pinot Noir in our Tasting Room and online for purchase. Now that the weather is getting nice, you are probably wondering what type of dish you should pair with this delicious wine. Our suggestion is the Grilled Coffee Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Cantaloupe! Enjoy and let us know how it turns out!







Grilled Coffee Marinated Pork Tenderloin

1/2 cup freshly ground coffee beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce (tabasco brand)
1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper
2 pork tenderloins (about 3 pounds total)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients except the pork.

2. Process until almost smooth. Transfer to a plastic resealable bag.

3. Trim excess fat from the tenderloins and remove the silver skin. Add them to the marinade and reseal bag.

4. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

5. Heat a barbeque grill. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Spray them with Pam. When the grill is hot lay the tenderloins on it spray side down. Cook turning often until the meat reaches 130 to 135 degrees with a meat thermometer. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a salsa of sweet corn, sugar snaps and chopped tomatoes.

Grilled Cantaloupe
1. Grill cantaloupes on 1 side until showing frill marks, about 3 minutes. Remove and brush with honey and dust with just a little cayenne. Serve with the pork.

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Seasonal Pairings: Grilling Recipes

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Americans Enjoy More Wine Than Any Other Country in 2011

Wine Institute, a leading source of U.S. wine information released their latest statistics indicating that Americans are drinking the most wine out of any other country. In 2011 U.S. sales topped 347 million cases – some 4 billion bottles, more than a case of wine for every person in America!! The estimated retail value in 2011 was $ 32.5 billion. Now that’s A LOT of wine! So what are most people drinking? Chardonnay of course! Chardonnay accounted for 21% of the total volume of wine that was purchased in 2011. We always knew our Overlook Chardonnay here at Landmark Vineyards was a hit! ;-)

Here’s the top rankings according to the report -

21% Chardonnay
12% Cabernet Sauvignon
10% Merlot
8% Pinot Grigio/Gri
7% White Zinfandel

Any guesses how this might change in 2012 and if America will remain at #1 again? Which varietals do you think will become more or less popular?


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Learning to Taste Wine

Most serious wine drinkers tell you that they can tell the difference between varietals or what region the grapes came from. These wine drinkers may very well be able to taste and tell what type of a wine they are drinking (believe me, I’ve seen it myself!). However, the big question remains – Can anyone learn how to taste wine or are some people just born with a  naturally good palate? 

In my my opinion, anyone can learn to taste wine and most people that do taste wine well, are the same people who have had years of practice. The best thing anyone can do in order to taste better is to push yourself into finding as many ingredients as possible when you eat or drink. For example, you are eating a pasta dish and it tastes spicy, ask yourself what kind of spice it is that you taste. Is it black pepper or is it chili flakes? Try and get as detailed as you possibly can with your descriptors. Additionally, keep trying different kinds of wines and reach out of your own comfort zone. If you normally drink mostly Pinot Noir, start drinking Merlot and Zinfandel alongside Pinot Noir. Find ways to differentiate the two wines by asking questions like the following:

  • Which wine do I taste more fruit?
  • Do I taste minerality in either of these wines? (i.e. grass, dirt, wet stones etc.)
  • Which wine do I get more heat from? Be aware that the more heat felt on your tongue, the higher the alcohol content.

The more anyone practices these techniques, the sooner patterns will occur. For example, you might find that every time you drink Zinfandel, your strongest taste is strawberry whereas when you drink Pinot Noir the strongest taste is tobacco.

Tell us – Is there anything you do that has helped you increase your ability to taste wine?? We’d love to hear about it!

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Sonoma Coast Library Pinot Tasting

The Sonoma Coast is an AVA (American Viticultural Area) that is unfortunately large and sometimes has difficulty finding a “sense of place” due to its vast size, varied soil types, and differing climates. However in recent years the Sonoma Coast has become well known for its specialty, Pinot Noir. Landmark has known about the potential of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for many years and in this library tasting blog post we’re going to focus on some of our well known Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs from various vintages.

2002 Grand Detour Pinot Noir: This 10 year old multi-vineyard Pinot Noir is light in body with aromas of wild berry fruit and tobacco. The remaining structured tannins lead over red fruits flavors on the palate. This wine is probably at its peak and should be consumed in the next 6 months.

2004 Grand Detour Pinot Noir: The 2004 harvest was early due to warmer conditions with high quality fruit shown in all the vineyards in the Grand Detour blend. This wine showed old world pinot aromas of soil and leather on the nose however on the palate this is definitely a California pinot. Ripe red fruit dominate while balanced acidity and tannins bring it together for an excellent food wine. This wine is probably at its peak and should be consumed in the next 6-12 months.

2005 Grand Detour Pinot Noir: Four Sonoma Coast vineyards (Kanzler, Keller Estate, Flocchini, and Armagh) made up the 2005 blend. The cooler 2005 vintage Grand Detour displays light red fruit and fresh turned soil aromas while on the palate the wine is lighter in body with sleek cherry and red fruit flavors. Pleasant acidity and a dry finish make it a great food pinot for richer dishes. This wine is probably nearing its peak and should be consumed in the next 12 months.

2006 Grand Detour Pinot Noir: For the 2006 vintage Gap’s Crown vineyard was included in the blend for a total of five vineyards from the Southern Sonoma Coast. Another cooler vintage however it’s still drinking exceptionally well. Non-fruit and earth aromas lead on the nose followed by plenty of strawberry, raspberry, and baking spice on the palate. This wine can be enjoyed now or held for another 12-18 months.

2005 Kanzler Pinot Noir: The Kanzler Vineyard is planted with three different Pinot Noir clones and the 2005 Landmark Kanzler Pinot Noir featured 50% Pommard clone, 37.5% 115 clone, and 12.5% 667 clone. It smelled and tasted much more “old world” in style with aromas of damp earth, Herbs du Provance, and wet tea leaves. On the palate red fruit and herbs dominate in this medium light bodied pinot noir. This wine is probably nearing its peak and should be enjoyed now or held for another 12-18 months.

2006 Kanzler Pinot Noir: The third vintage of our vineyard designate Kanzler Pinot Noir featured only free-run juice. The cooler 2006 vintage has aromas of damp forest floor and minerals while on the palate it showed unripe red cherry and black tea flavors in this balanced medium light bodied Sonoma Coast pinot noir. This wine can be enjoyed now or held for another 24 months.

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Library Tasting with Sommelier Brendan

Today I am focusing on our single vineyard Lorenzo Chardonnay.  In general California chardonnay doesn’t have a reputation for ageablity; however, I am prepared to change that misconception with this vertical tasting of Lorenzo Chardonnay.  These older vintage Lorenzo Chardonnays are from stellar vintages which have helped their longevity.

2002 Lorenzo Chardonnay: This 10 year old California chardonnay can hold its head up high; from the “sensational” 2002 Sonoma vintage it still shows nice citrus, almond, mineral, and crushed stone flavors while slight sherry and petrol notes are present on the nose with one taster also getting a  “popcorn” aroma. This wine is probably at its peak and should be consumed in the next 6 months.

2003 Lorenzo Chardonnay: Shows bruised apple and petrol on the nose with lemongrass flavors and strong mineral notes on the finish that also shows oak. This wine is probably at its peak and should be consumed in the next 9-12 months

2004 Lorenzo Chardonnay: Aromas of oyster shell and walnuts with plenty of bright citrus and kiwi flavors. Slight oak notes on the finish with almost some tannin as well; this wine is probably in its closed stage and could be decanted prior to drinking or kept for another 18 months.

2005 Lorenzo Chardonnay: This was the star of the Lorenzo flight with aromas of buttered popcorn and dairy products along with fresh orchard fruit. This medium plus bodied Chardonnay features fresh citrus and ripe apricot flavors along with pleasant oak notes on the finish. This wine is probably nearing its peak and can be consumed now or in the next 12-18 months.

2006 Lorenzo Chardonnay: Dairy product, citrus, ginger, ripe apple, and cinnamon aromas with poached pear, lemon zest, and mineral flavors. This wine is drinking nicely now but could be kept for another 18-24 months.

Brendan Tiernery received his Level Two Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2010.  Currently, he is study for his Level Three Exam.   The course of study is quite rigorous.  Part of his final examination will be to blindly taste six wines and properly identify their vintage, region, and varietal.  To prepare for this, Brendan attends a weekly Study Group where he and other Level Two Sommelier challenge their palates.

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Steel Plow Estate Vineyard

Here at the estate winery, we have planted our 11 acres to  Rhone varietals – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier.  This decision was richly researched.  Winemaker Greg Stach knew our vineyard needed to be replanted.   He was considering replant ingto Rhone varietals since our climate and geography is very similar to that region in France. Then in spring 2006, he took a research trip to the Rhone region in France.  This trip sealed the deal.  He loved the Grenche, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier and knew it was a great fit with our terroir.  We started the replanting of our estate chardonnay shortly thereafter.

Greg chose to partner with the Nursery at Tablas Creek Vineyard.  They import cuttings of Rhone varietals from the well-known Chateau Beaucastel.  Landmark purchased both the rootstock and budwood from Tablas Creek.  At the estate, we planted the rootstock in the spring of 2007.  Once the rootstock began growing vigorously in the fall, we grafted the varietals to the rootstock.  Our first vintage from the estate vineyard was 2009.  We created an ultra-premium blend for some of our biggest fans, our Friends of the Vineyard members.

The name of the estate vineyard, Steel Plow Estate Vineyard, embraces Landmark’s John Deere heritage.  Founder Damaris Deere Ford was the great-great granddaughter of John Deere, the inventor of the steel plow which revolutionized farming.   With such a deep connection to excellence in agriculture, we choose to organically farm the vineyard.

I am committed to organic farming because it is best for the grapes.  For me, it’s all about creating the highest quality fruit to create the phenomenal wines.  -Greg Stach, Winemaker

One organic farming practice we implement is the use of sheep in the vineyard.  After pruning in the winter, we bring in a flock of sheep to help “mow” down the cover crop between the vine rows.  They also aerate and fertilize the soil.  It’s win-win!  The commitment to organic farming is a rigorous course, but also a testament to winemaker Greg Stach’s unstinting determination to creating the ultimate Rhone style blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah from the vineyard.

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