La Crema Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: Artisan winemaking

LA CREMA has worked at getting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir right for close to 40 years. You could say it was an “artisan” winery before anybody ever applied that word to winemaking. La Crema was founded in 1979 and purchased by Jess Jackson in 1993, and remains one of Jackson Family Wines’ treasured properties. The grapes are all from prized cool-climate vineyards in California and Oregon. In January, New Zealand native Craig McAllister replaced Elizabeth Grant-Douglas as head winemaker. Here’s a taste of the latest vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the cool, wind-swept Sonoma Coast appellation that stretches from San Pablo Bay to the border of Mendocino County. Prices are full markup.

La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2015, $23: Bone-dry and crisp, with wonderfully integrated oak and minerality streaming through the palate. Aromas of white flowers, lemon, green apple and white stone fruit are followed by richly textured flavors and sturdy acidity.

La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2015, $25: Intense aromas, creamy tannins, cherry-pomegranate flavors, great balance, lots of vanilla and spice. It has good weight in the mouth with brown baking spice and toasty oak integrated with the dark cherry-pomegranate flavors. It’s graceful and delicious.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.