Since 1993, La Crema has been part of Jackson Family Wines, a collection of premium wineries along California's cool coastal ridges, owned privately by Barbara Banke and the Jackson family. Originally founded in 1979 in the Russian River Valley before the region had become renowned for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, La Crema expanded its vineyards to include other esteemed Californian sites, including Sonoma and Monterey. In addition to these two Burgundian varietals, the winery also grows Pinot Gris, producing an acclaimed wine from this fashionable grape.
The original name of the vineyard was La Crema Vinera, meaning 'best of the vine'.
Monterey, as a wine region, was rediscovered in the 1960s (it was originally planted over 200 years ago by Franciscan friars, but the vines withered). It is now one of the largest premium grape growing regions in California with over 16,000 hectares of vineyards. La Crema's vineyards are located in cool climate, windy sites with well-drained, marine-based soils and are all harvested by hand. The Monterey site, where the Pinot Noir for this wine is grown, benefits from the cold winds that blow in from the Pacific Ocean across the 90-mile long valley. This mitigates temperatures and extends the growing season, resulting in one of the coolest wine areas of California. Winemaking techniques such as picking the grapes at night or during the cool early morning hours, cold-soaking for three days at 48°F and punching down three times a day during fermentation, allow La Crema's wines to express their pure, terroir-based varietal character.
In early 2016, warm winter temperatures led to early budbreak, while slightly cooler weather through late spring and early summer slowed grape maturity. Cooling winds in the afternoon and cool nights helped flavour development and acid retention. A mid-summer warming trend promoted berry ripeness and the resultant fruit concentration is evident in this delightful 100% Pinot Noir.
The wine is aged for nine months in 100% French oak barrels, 21% of which is new. Aromas of forest berries and plums with touches of rhubarb compote, earth, sandalwood and vanilla lead to a palate full of concentrated fruit flavours. The sweet berry fruit and blood orange core is lifted by touches of vanilla and woody spice, underpinned by savoury/umami notes. Bright acidity, gentle tannins and a long finish make this a wine to enjoy with a variety of food, including lamb cutlets and light game dishes.
La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 is available from Slurp for £17.95.