Wine of the Day: La Crema Chardonnay


La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2011, $20

(Image courtesy of La Crema)

(Image courtesy of La Crema)

La Crema is restaurant wine at your very own home table. Stylish, dry, sophisticated. Swirl and inhale the essence of honeydew melon, pineapple, green apple, lime and honeysuckle. In the mouth, you immediately pick up the brown cooking spice and smoke off the barrels — the puckery tart fruit is laced with good oak. Flavors are white peach, tart apple and sweet pear, pineapple and Ruby Red grapefruit. It finishes with a tropical flourish and minerality. Wine like this comes from a cool region, so you can thank the breezes and fog off the ocean that bathe the benchlands of Monterey. It’s 100 percent barrel-fermented and goes through 100 percent malolactic fermentation to enhance the fullness of the flavors and mouthfeel.


La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2011, $23

This dark monster is still closed in, the fruit and full potential still needing time to develop — yet it offers a clear snapshot of its future: bold flavors, dusty tannins, acidity for backbone and alcohol. Think rich blackberry, cherry, cola, dark plum, dark chocolate, vanilla.


Langetwins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg 2011, $15

Randy and Brad Lange — yes, they are twins — make oceans of wine in Lodi for various growers, and they make smaller quantities of sustainably grown wines off their estate vineyards such as this remarkable Chardonnay. It’s one of those “must see TV wines” — you can practically drink the aromas: apple, pear, citrus, smoke and spice off barrels. It’s produced from fruit in the Sacramento Valley and is fermented in barrels and stainless steel to give structure to the wine and emphasize the fruit. It has a lovely subtle creaminess on the palate. It is certified sustainably grown. If you are partial to Chardonnay, you must try this one. You can find it around Metro Detroit.

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Lucente Toscana 2010, $30

Lucente, at $30, is the baby brother of Luce della Vite, the super-premium blend of Sangiovese and Merlot first concocted in 1995 by a special partnership of Robert Mondavi and Vittorio Frescobaldi. Lucente’s back label explains this 2010 vintage is produced off the same vineyards as the Luce. It’s a bold, lush wine brimming with raspberry, blackberry, espresso and dark plum notes. It has supple, glossy tannins, and the intensity will coat your teeth in a purple sheen. Zombie teeth! All signs that this is a bold, elegant wine to reckon with. Pour it with hearty red pasta sauces, roasted beef and steaks.


In honor of April being Michigan Wine Month, Merchant’s Fine Wine in Dearborn will take 20 percent off the purchase of six bottles or more of Michigan wine through April 15.

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