We were greeted by Sam Lando, founder, owner, and winemaker at Lando Wines. These folks only make Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley pinot noirs. Our bliss point!
Sam was pouring three pinots: 2019 Sonoma Coast ($69), 2019 Russian River Valley ($57), and the 2018 Truth & Valor Sonoma Coast. (Prices are from wine-searcher.com) Joining a growing crowd of wineries, Lando offers allocations to those on their mailing list twice a year, spring and fall.
The Sonoma Coast blend opens with red raspberry and cherries on the nose. On the palate, blueberry, chocolate, and savory spice. Smooth, long finish. We liked it!
Truth & Valor is more complex as you’d expect. This is lighter, with noticeable tannins. Lay it down for a few years. Features an unusual delicate mouthfeel. The palate is red raspberries, black cherries, leather, land black pepper. Delicious!
The Russian River Valley blend was bigger with more dense flavor than the Sonoma Coast. Bright red and black cherries on the nose continue to the palate. As the flavor develops, minerals, earth and light herb notes emerge. The finish features some tannins, good acidity and good balance. Wait a year or two for the tannins to integrate and this will be even better.
The Lando Story
Sam was working for an unnamed winery where he fell in love with pinot noir. We’ll let him tell the story.
After working for five years with one of the most sought after Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producers, he departed at the end of 2012.
In the middle of the 2012 vintage, Sam and his wife Jennifer decided to take the leap and take the winemaking hobby to the next level. They borrowed against their savings and began building the foundation to develop a small Pinot Noir focused winery. The goal is to make intense, yet elegant and balanced wines from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. They push themselves to make great wines they enjoy drinking and take great pride in sharing with their dear friends.
Sam and Jennifer headed to Sebastopol with their kids Henry and Emma. They’ve been producing 1,500 cases a year until 2021 when output fell to 700 cases. Blame COVID.
Lando uses a custom crush facility in Healdsburg, leaving him free to track down good fruit. Sam told us that his biggest problem is that they “can’t make wine fast enough.” He also bemoaned the recent hikes in costs. Despite producing about half the 2020 production in 2021, the total cost of labels increased by 255%. Bottles were hard to find. Apparently supply chain issues even affect high-end wineries.
Get on their mailing list and buy some wine. You will not regret it.