La Crema 2018 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Tasting notes
Lemony, apply with gentle oak. Ideal with crustaceans, roast chicken and subtle risottos.

Why we recommend this wine
During our trip to Napa and Sonoma we really enjoyed the cool climate Chardonnays – some old style heavily wooded and some more restrained (see our trip notes here). This is a good example of the restrained side that we tasted. 

The wine
Head Winemaker Craig McAllister samples grapes from every block of every vineyard, tasting each lot to craft the best wines possible. According to McAllister, the process is high-touch but low-intervention, something that’s a rarity for wineries at La Crema’s scale.
“There’s an authenticity to our wines—we allow the grapes to fully express themselves without manipulation in the winery and they’re made in traditional ways,” he says. “We barrel-ferment Chardonnay and punch it down by hand, as it was done in La Crema’s early years.”
For McAllister, quality and consistency are key. McAllister says this consistency can be attributed directly to the fruit and by way of using micro tanks and small French oak barrels. He adds that the winery’s track record also is reflective of the kind of continuity that comes from being family-owned with access to estate vineyards, farmed to the specifications of the winemaker, to achieve the optimal harvest each year.

The wine estate
From the website: "La Crema began at a time during which few wineries in California were making Pinot Noir, and even fewer were doing so with a single-vineyard focus. A group of wine lovers ran the show back then using old-world techniques such as whole-cluster pressing and open-top fermentation. This was a great foundation for winemaking, but with stellar fruit from exceptional vineyard sites, there was always the opportunity for more.
"Initially, La Crema focused efforts on developing wines from the Sonoma Coast, deemed the next great appellation for Pinot Noir, using artisan, boutique-style production techniques, like gentle handling, precision sorting, and crushing grapes in small batches. The winery then set its sights on bringing in the best talent available at the time, an all-star lineup of winemaking greats and experts in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay."
To this day they remain family-run, and dedicated to making great wine that doesn’t come at the expense of the environment.

Food and wine
Classics include crab, lobster, prawns and scallops prepared in a buttery, creamy sauce. A simple roast chicken. Butternut squash risotto is a brilliant choice. A bottle of Chardonnay will even last into the dessert course. Try it with Key lime pie for a taste sensation. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
A cool climate means grapes spend more time on the vine. That allows a deeper, more dramatic spectrum of flavors and aromas to develop. And that creates decidedly rich and layered wines.