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This Saturday we are treating ourselves to the excellent wines of La Crema Winery. To set the palate, we will begin with the new Monterey series of Chardonnay, to be followed by the Pinot Noir, Monterey. At that point, we will launch into the Appellation series of Pinot Noirs that have helped establish La Crema as a “player” in the Pinot Noir sweepstakes, thanks to the winemaking skills of Melissa Stackhouse. Joining us will be Mark Sullivan of Regal Wines, distributor of the La Crema line of wines. For those of you looking for a most elegant wine to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner consider the following:
2009 LA CREMA CHARDONNAY, MONTEREY
List price 18.00; our price 15.99
The inaugural vintage of La Crema’s Monterey Chardonnay shows exotic floral and tropical fruit on the nose, punctuated by appealing butterscotch, lemon peel and spice notes. The palate expands into bright peach, grilled pineapple and honeysuckle with subtle toast and caramel adding richness and beautiful texture on the finish.
2009 LA CREMA PINOT NOIR, MONTEREY
List price 22.00; our price 18.99
The Pinot Noir harvest in Monterey lasted a full 8 weeks, beginning in September and lasting all the way into October. Happily, by all accounts, 2009 appears to be an outstanding vintage. In the glass, brooding, earthy aromas meld with juicy ripe plum, punctuated by lovely notes of black tea. The palate echoes the plum-filled nose, joined by black licorice and cocoa powder. A subtle earthiness leads to a generous, fleshy mid-palate and a smooth, mineral-laced finish. This wine reveals the berry fruit side of Pinot Noir, with additional texture and depth. It should drink nicely for 2-3 years.
2007 LA CREMA PINOT NOIR, LOS CARNEROS
List price 33.00; our price 29.99
Los Carneros is the most southern of the Appellation Series Pinot regions. Straddling the Napa-Sonoma County line, the Los Carneros hills roll up from the San Pablo Bay. The unique factor here is wind–a relentless cooling force that charges up the rolling hillsides. The vineyards for this wine are just three miles from the bay, so the constant cooling influence of wind and fog allow the fruit ample time on the vine to develop full, concentrated flavors and velvety texture. The 2007 offers brooding, earthy aromas of dark cherry with a touch of spice. Flavors continue with ripe, black plum, hints of coffee and cocoa surrounded by a soft, velvety texture that ends in a fleshy, long finish.
The wine won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2008 LA CREMA PINOT NOIR, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
List price 33.00; our price 29.99
Pinot Noir has a temperamental and fragile nature making it a challenge to produce from vine to bottle. A notorious failure in many places, Pinot only reveals its brilliance in tiny, specific cool-climate pockets of the world. The Russian River Valley is one of them. Cool coastal fog rolls over the vineyards each day and the Pinot Noir ripens at a leisurely pace in the moderate climate. Concentrated, small berries literally burst with flavor, wrapped up in heady spice and plush, round texture. The aromas and flavors of this bottling are textbook Russian River Valley: the nose of rich black cherry and subtle rose petal is highlighted by hints of sassafras and orange peel. The palate is rich and round, with brooding black cherry, cocoa and spice over a noticeably plush texture of broad tannins on a lingering, juicy fruit finish.
2007 LA CREMA PINOT NOIR, ANDERSON VALLEY
List price 43.00; today only 39.99
Located in Mendocino County, north of Sonoma County, Anderson Valley is known for distinctive Pinot Noir and considered one of the coolest wine regions in the state. Vineyards lie 10-15 miles from the rugged Mendocino coast, and vines struggle on steep slopes, developing complex, small berries. This fruit is unusually graceful, developing elegant blueberry and bright red cherry flavors overlaid with delicate tea and layered floral notes. Marine breezes and fog funnel down from the Navarro River, encouraging late ripening and promoting concentrated flavors and firm structure. Anderson Valley Pinot is hugely expressive. The 2007 offers delicate aromas of blueberry and cocoa, with underlying notes of tea leaves and flowers. Juicy flavors of dark bramble and plum, with a hint of spice and coffee, lead to a broad, sturdy finish.
Ratings for this wine are: 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, and 90 points from Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine.