For most wine enthusiasts, I’m guessing you’ve had the chance to try La Crema Wines over the years. It’s a well-known California wine brand that offers delicious high-quality wines at fabulous prices. What I mean by that is it’s quite unusual to find such tasty, balanced wines that range in price from $11 (the entry-level wine you may see in a grocery store) to $90 (the Nine Barrel Wines) with $30 being the average or sweet spot. My first visit to La Crema (as I have since returned for more delicious wines) was during an afternoon of Food & Wine. I started the day visiting Hartford Family Wines, followed by a delicious Wine & Food pairing at The Kendall Jackson Estate. By late afternoon when we concluded at La Crema I was ready to sit back and relax. Well, the fabulous team at La Crema, including Michael (my host who had invited me and planned the visit) and Amy helped make the experience just that. The tasting room proved to be a lovely experience relaxing and enjoying delicious wines with friends.
Some of my favorite wines I tasted are found in the Appalachian Series Collection. Specifically, the Chardonnays ($30) and the Pinot Noirs ($50). Within this collection is an extensive selection of Chardonnays, including their Los Carneros. I typically love Los Carneros Chardonnay’s because of their crisp flavor (a result of the cooler conditions these grapes endure being so close to the ocean’s fog). Any Los Carneros Chardonnay that also has seen French Oak I’m even more crazy about. So upon learning La Crema’s Carneros Chardonnay has both of those characteristics I was in heaven! Clearly, I know my Chardonnays and La Crema Chardonnays are perfect if you ask me!
What I love about La Crema’s wines is there is something for everyone. They make Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir & Rose. With the various AVA’s they offer each has a bit of a different taste to it so really you’ll find the perfect pair for any wine enthusiast. Continue reading for more information about their wine making process and their winemaker. 235 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA. (707) 431-9400.
La Crema History for more than 30 years, La Crema has explored California’s coastal appellations, a voyage of varietals that started at their estate in the foggy vineyards of the Russian River Valley. They have cool-climate vineyards north in the rugged hills of Mendocino, and south along the wind-swept slopes of Los Carneros. Most recently, their exploration has taken them to the wind-swept hillside vineyards of Monterey.
The tasting bar in the main area of the Tasting Room
Seating in the lounge portion of the Tasting Room where we enjoyed our tasting
More seating in the lounge portion of the tasting room. It has a very cool, relaxing vibe to it.
The Nine Barrel Chardonnay. My absolute favorite!
The Winemaking Team seeks to express the essence of the terroir in their wines, capturing the unique personality and flavor profile of the vineyards. I was especially thrilled during my visit to learn La Crema’s wine maker is a female! It’s always great to support other successful women, especially when they happen to make one of your favorite Wine’s to learning about Elizabeth was music to my ears! Winemaker Elizabeth Grant-Douglas infuses their winemaking regime with a highly personal touch that combines the best of traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques with a contemporary California style. Elizabeth employs time-intensive techniques to craft your favorite La Crema releases throughout the years. Some of the techniques include:
“HAND HARVESTING We harvest grapes in the cool early morning hours and treat it very gently from vine to press to ensure the delicate clusters arrive in prime condition.”
“CHARDONNAY FERMENTATION To best capture the fresh fruit character, a gentle whole-cluster press is used for Chardonnay to minimize bitter compounds from skins, seeds and stems. Our Chardonnays are fermented in French oak, with the lees (yeast deposit) hand stirred twice a month to create a round, rich texture on the palate.”
“PINOT NOIR FERMENTATION After the stems are removed, Pinot Noir is left to rest in a cold soak for five to eight days. This captures layers of complex aromatics and a gorgeous luminous color. Fermentation then takes place in small, open-top fermenters, with the cap of skins and seeds punched down through the juice three times each day to balance out tannin weight and structure. When fermentation is complete, the wine is pressed off the skins with a gentle basket press.”
“BARREL AGING Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are aged primarily in French oak. Barrels are carefully with specific grain and toast levels for each separate wine lot to ensure a balanced mingling of fruit and characteristics.” The wine was 100% barrel fermented, helping to integrate the vibrant Los Carneros character with smoother oak components. Additionally, 100% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, balancing the natural acidity of the Carneros fruit with smooth, round tones. The wine rested in barrel for 9 months before bottling, gently aging sur-lie, with the lees stirred every three weeks.
The tasting menu
Thanks again La Crema for hosting me. I really loved my visit and will be returning again soon!
DISCLOSURE: The JetSetting Fashionista and guests enjoyed complimentary tastings during this visit. However, The J.S.F. was not paid to write this post. The J.S.F. only write posts or features about food, hotels, products or destinations that she personally enjoys and proudly endorses and wants to share with her readers. All opinions expressed are her own.