Follow The Prince
twitter icon rss icon

La Crema Winery

Owner(s) Jennifer Jackson, Laura Jackson-Grion
Web site www.lacrema.com
 
Link to this site

La Crema Winery is a family-owned estate in the Russian River Valley that specializes in handcrafted, Burgundian style Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from cool climate vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Established in 1979, the winery has never allowed visitors, but the label quickly gained a reputation for quality and is a label you can always count on for consistently fine wines. The owners are Laura Jackson-Giron and her sister Jennifer Jackson.

Several winemakers developed the La Crema Winery style through the years, including Dan Goldfield (Dutton-Goldfield) and Jeff Stewart (Buena Vista). In 2004, La Crema hired Melissa Stackhouse to oversee all aspects of winemaking and the wines reached a level of remarkable high quality considering the relatively large production and value-pricing. In the 2008 Wine & Spirits Restaurant poll, La Crema was #12 in the Restaurant Top 50 of wines selling best at polled restaurants. Pinot Noir had become the biggest seller on many winery lists (even in Napa Valley) and La Crema Sonoma and Sonoma Coast bottlings were the most popular (#1) Pinot Noir poured at restaurants.

Stackhouse is a Michigan native who had intended to go into nursing after college. The call of winemaking led her to University California Davis and then stints at Robert Mondavi, Sterling, Joseph Phelps and Peter Michael. She joined La Crema in 2000 as Associate Winemaker. Prior to La Crema, she had worked at Peter Michael Winery, Hardy’s Tintara Winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia and Joseph Phelps Vineyards. She holds a BS degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California Davis. She has been able to focus on cool-climate vineyards and terroirs, creating finely-tuned wines of admirable elegance and balance. In 2011, she left La Crema to become the winemaker at J Winery & Vineyards in Healdsburg and was replaced by Canadian native Elizabeth Grant-Douglas who has previously been an assistant winemaker at La Crema.

At least one of the La Crema bottlings is usually available on your local supermarket or wine retailer shelves. When friends new to wine, and recently that included my son who was invited to dinner, want a suggestion of a Pinot Noir to bring, I often recommend La Crema. They usually thank me afterwards, but it is, in fact, no secret, and an easy recommendation to make. All of the Pinot Noirs are appellation blends. The winery is not open to the public but there is a tasting room open daily in the town of Healdsburg.

Articles About La Crema Winery

2012 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
2012 California Value Priced Pinot Noir First Team All-Americans (9.17 12/26/2012)
2012 California Value Priced Pinot Noirs Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
Along the Pinot Trail in California: Part I - Central Coast (9.8 6/24/2012)
Anderson Noir Valley Pinot (Pt II) (7.19 6/5/2009)
California Chardonnay (9.8 6/24/2012)
California Chardonnay Tasting (7.25 9/5/2009)
California Recession-Busting Pinots (7.6 11/17/2008)
Grocery Store Pinot (9.16 12/10/2012)
La Crema - A Label You Can Count On (6.57 4/7/2008)
La Crema: Pinot You Can Rely On (8.30 1/27/2011)
Mining for Good Pinot Noir in the Value-Priced Bin (9.5 4/4/2012)
Monterey County: Great Pinot Values (7.25 9/5/2009)
More Sips of California Pinot Noir (8.37 5/13/2011)
Part II: History of Fort Ross-Seaview Area (9.28 8/14/2013)
Pinot Briefs (9.21 3/23/2013)
Pinot Briefs (9.39 3/29/2014)
Pinot Noirs from Producers Outside the Anderson Valley that Source Grapes from within the Anderson Valley (6.60 6/9/2008)
Sips of 2006 California Pinot Noirs (7.21 7/9/2009)
Sips of California Pinot Noir: Recently Sampled Wines (9.23 4/13/2013)
Sips of Pinot: Wines Tasted Recently (9.24 5/5/2013)
Sips of Recently Tasted California Wines (9.39 3/29/2014)
Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Wines (9.39 3/29/2014)
Sips of Recently Tasted Pinot Noir (9.33 11/9/2013)
Sips of Recently Tasted Wines (9.37 2/4/2014)
Sips of Recently Tasted Wines (9.38 2/22/2014)
Tasting Pinot with Plenty of Noir (9.9 7/21/2012)
Tasting of Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs (6.28 6/3/2007)
Value-Price Pinots (9.18 1/19/2013)

Reviewed Wines

2012 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.54, >50,000 cases, $23. Aged 6 months 26% new, 96% French oak barrels. Racked once out of barrel before final blending. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. A diverse array of aromas are offered including red cherry and strawberry, plum, root beer and sandalwood. Easy to drink with modest weight flavors of red and black fruits accented with spice and oakdriven anise. Very elegant and supple, with well-integrated tannins and acidity. Widely available and a solid go-to wine for dinner. Score: 88. Reviewed February 4, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $23. · Moderate yellow color and clear in the glass. Scents of lemon zest, green apple, green herbs and oak lead to a light weight palate of lemon and pear flavors and well-integrated acidity. Delicate and nicely crafted, but nothing stands out. Score: 86. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.56, $25. Sourced from select vineyard sites in proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Clones 667, 777, 115, Pommard, 2A, Martini, Flowers, Calera, “828,” and 23. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 4-day cold soak, fermented in small, open-top tanks, minimal post-fermentation maceration, aged in 26% new (98% French) oak barrels for 6 months. Racked only once for blending just before bottling. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas soar from the glass including cherries, berries, purple grapes and earthy flora. Very tasty juice with excellent depth and length offering an arsenal of flavors including dark red strawberries and cherries, cola and gregarious spice with a dusting of oak enhancing the experience. Nicely crafted, with supple tannins and a long, caressing finish. As good or better than many Pinot Noirs in the marketplace costing twice as much. Score: 92. Reviewed November 9, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.55, 12,224 cases, $30. A blend of fruit from ten different vineyards including the sub-AVAs of McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills and Dundee Hills. 8 different clones (667, 777, 23, Pommard, 2A, 113, 114, 115) and a variety of climatic and soil profiles. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak. Aged 9 months in 25% new French oak barrels with medium to medium-plus toast. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Classy aromas of black cherry, forest floor, rose petal and spice hold up nicely over time in the glass. Generous and forward in character with a lip-smacking core of dark cherry, raspberry and pomegranate fruits accented with a hint of mocha and savory dried herbs. Very accommodating, with mild tannins and a juicy, fruity finish. I sampled this wine against several premium Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs and it held its own. A solid everyday Pinot that is in wide retail distribution at the right price. Score: 90. Reviewed March 29, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Panorama Vineyard Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.51, $40. Clones 667, 777, 23. A single estate vineyard bottling aged 9 months in 98% French oak, 28% new. · Aromas of dark berries, tea leaves, violets, and a hint of clove. Pleasing array of blackberry, ollaliberry and plum fruit with a note of oak that is beautifully integrated. A very harmonious wine that delivers pleasure now but has the balance to last another 6-7 years. Score: 91. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.54, $40. Clones are Martini, 667, 115, Pommard and 2A. 100% de-stemmed, 70% whole berries, 5-day cold soak, aged 9 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy blackberry fruit is accented by spice and smoky oak on the nose. Full-bodied, with deep flavors of black cherry, blackberry, black plum and cola. Atypical for the Russian River Valley in that it veers to the purple and black fruit spectrum. Well-managed firm tannins give the wine muscle and the finish is broad and generous. Seems a bit brooding at this stage and may blossom further with another year in bottle. Score: 88. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.52, 30,000 cases, $23. Aged 7 months in 23% new and 77% seasoned French oak barrels. Racked once out of barrel before final blending. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fragrant with aromas of confected cherries, ripe strawberries, Indian spices and a subtle saline note. Easy to cozy up to with forward flavors of black cherries, black raspberries, spice and toffee-laced oak. A subtle, confected (sweet) tone to the fruit is evident. Very smooth on the palate with gentle tannins. One of California’s best and most reliable, value-priced and widely available Pinot Noirs. Good. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, >50,000 cases, $25. 100% destemmed, 5-day cold soak, fermentation in open top tanks with daily punch downs. Aged 6+ months in 98% French oak barrels (23% new). Wines were racked once out of barrel before blending. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of earth-kissed dark red berries and cherries, dried rose petals and subtle oak, picking up intensity over time in the glass. Middleweight flavors of dark red cherries and cranberries with hint of cola, tar, spice and oak, offering caressing tannins, and finishing with a refreshing juiciness. A solid daily drinker. Surprisingly artisan in style considering the huge production. Good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.56, RS 0.08%, 4,900 cases, $40. Focus on Laughlin and Piner Estate vineyards but grapes are sourced from diverse regions of the Russian River Valley including Green Valley, the Santa Rosa bench and the hills of Occidental. Clones are Pommard, 23, 777, 115, 667, 828, 2A and Martini. 100% de-stemmed, 70% whole berries, aged 10 months in 31% new French oak barrels. Racked once at blending before bottling. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fragrant with an enticing perfume of black cherries, black berries and a hint of cardamom spice maintaining an intensity over time in the glass. Full-bodied and lush, with a delicious core of black cherry and cola flavor with a hint of toasty oak adding interest. Nicely balanced tannins, excellent acidity and some finishing length. One of the better Russian River Valley appellation wines tasted from this vintage. Very good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 La Crema Monterey Chardonnay

13.9% alc., $18. A variety of clones including 4, Dijon and Rued. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of baked pear, butter, toast and hazelnuts. Light and simple, with noticeable oak, citrus and mineral flavors. Goes down easy, but not distinguished. Decent. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.52, 51,000 cases, $20. Aged 7 months in 98% French (21% new) and 2% American (1% new). Racked once out of barrel just prior to final blending. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Very fragrant aromas of perfectly ripe berries include strawberries with hints of spice and vanilla. A charming wine that aims to please with a medium weighted core of luscious dark raspberries, strawberries and boysenberries accented with cola, cassis and oak. Nicely buttressed with soft tannins and offering good length on the finish. Great balance. All you can ask for in California Pinot Noir for the price of a Jackson. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.53, $25. From very cool vineyard sites in a cool vintage with delayed harvest. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, open top tank fermentation, gentle punch downs three times a day, aged 6.5 months in 23% new French oak. Lots kept separate throughout the winemaking process and blended at the end. A broad pallet of clones including 115, 667, 777, 828, Pommard, Martini, Calera, Mt. Eden, Swan, 2A and 23. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of fresh strawberries, cherries and oak spice, fading some over time in the glass. Crisp and juicy in the mouth with a lighter weight array of dark red cherry and ollaliberry flavors with complimentary oak-driven notes of spice and chocolate. Lacks a bit of finishing length, but overall a fine, reliable daily drinker. Easy to find as it is ubiquitous on grocery store top shelves. Good (+). Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.56, 5,800 cases, $40. A majority of the fruit comes from the estate Laughlin and Piner vineyards, focusing on Pommard, 23, 777,, 115 and 667 clones. The remainder of the fruit comes from long term growers that bring Martini, 828 and 2A clones to the blend. 100% de-stemmed, 70% whole berries in tank, 5-day cold soak, fermented in open-tops, aged in 30% new French oak for 9 months, racked only for blending before bottling. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Well-perfumed with aromas of black cherries, cola, spice, sandalwood and fennel. Moderately intense flavors of black cherries, cola and toasted oak. Ripe, bold and structured with firm, but giving tannins. A classic window into Russian River Valley terroir that is very approachable now. Good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.52, $24. Most fruit from a high-density planted estate vineyard in the Arroyo Seco appellation. Aged 7 months in 29% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherries, plum sauce, blackberry jam, spice and prickly pear. Well-structured and composed array of earth-kissed purple and black fruits with fine-grain tannins and bright acidity. A hint of oak-derived anise and dark chocolate add interest. Reminds me of Santa Lucia Highlands fruit. Soft and smooth in the mouth making the wine very inviting. A crazy good wine at this price. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.70, $24. Clones 115, 667, 777, 828, Pommard, Martini, 2A, 23, Calera, Mt. Eden and Swan. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. 100% de-stemmed, cold soaked, open-top container fermentation, aged 7.5 months in 26% new medium to heavy toast French oak barrels, racked once out of barrel before blending. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Subtle but attractive fruit-driven scent of an array of stone fruits and berries. Vivid and pure flavors of cherries and berries backed by sinewy tannins and offered with a softly textured mouth feel. The fruit is really quite charming and has that exotic edge often seen with Sonoma Coast bottlings. An exceptional value. Very good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $28. · Deeply colored. Highly perfumed with Bing cherries, strawberries and a touch of baking spice. Tasty strawberry and cherry fruit which is fully ripe and moderately dense. Soft and plush on the palate with supple dry tannins. Easy to drink and in character for the AVA. Good (+). Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.54, 5,800 cases, $40. Clones 667, 777, 115, Martini, 114, 23, 828 and Pommard. Aged 10 months in 51% new French oak barrels. · Moderately intense reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose with demure aromas of black cherries, forest floor, and oak. Moderately rich and weighty black cherry, raspberry, licorice and cola flavors with unbridled tannins. Slightly hot on the finish. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Plenty of fruit, but no finesse or nuance. Decent. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

StmlImage: invalid literal for int() with base 10: '08_37-31_fb_thumb.jpg'
[[image ]]

2009 La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.52, 2,700 cases, $50. Sourced primarily from the Maggy Hawk Vineyard (close to Navarro) in the deep end of the Anderson Valley. Clones 667, 777, 115, 2A, 23, Pommard and 828. Aged 9 months in 36% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Intensely fruity nose initially displaying aromas of fruit bin and mixed berries including strawberries with a hint of vanilla fading over time in the glass. An array of tasty ripe berries is accented by a note of dark chocolate with a grip of citrus peel on the finish. Welcoming fruit intensity coats the palate and persists on the finish, but offers no nuance or intrigue. Smooth and harmonious. Over time, the wine becomes less interesting in the glass. The flavors trump the nose at this point. Worth revisiting in 6 months. Good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $24. · The aromas explode from the glass over time with heavenly scents of dark Pinot fruits, cardamon spice and a whiff of smoky oak. Perfectly composed with an array of flavors including plum, blackberry, raspberry, tea and smoke. A fruit-driven wine with a generosity that fills the mouth. Perfect harmony. Clearly, the best wine in this lineup. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,800 cases, $30. Released January 2009. Clones 115, 667, 777 and 23. Grapes are de-stemmed, cold soaked 4 days, aged 9 months in 48% new French oak (medium and medium plus toast levels). · Moderate garnet color. Lovely perfume of cherries and berries with sage. Powerfully flavored ripe berry fruit with a base of minerals and earth. Very friendly in the mouth with a creamy, sexy quality and plenty of vim on the tangy finish. A high-collared and impressive wine. Reviewed June 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $16. · Moderately light reddish-purple color. A cherrydriven wine that is medium-weighted offering tangy fruit flavors enhanced by a touch of spice. The oak is well integrated, the texture is silky and the finish is dry and refreshing. Noticeably less tannic than typical Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs and more akin to Russian River Valley Pinot Noir bottlings. Reviewed November 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 2,000 cases, $34. Just released. Clones are Pommard, 115, 667 and 777. · Very heavy bottle, don’t try lifting this with one arm. A black cherry delight from start to finish. Notes of spearmint and smoke add interest to the nose and black raspberry chimes in on the finish. Plush and healthy ripe fruit with velveteen mouth feel. Impeccable balance and thoroughly satisfying. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 La Crema Nine Barrel Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14,5% alc., 225 cases, $70. Nine best barrels in the cellar. · Very fruity nose with an array of interesting aromas including roasted pear, tutti-fruity, vanilla and toasted meringue. Full-bodied poached pear and apple tart flavors cascade through the palate. A hedonistic wine for contemplation. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 La Crema 9 Barrels Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 225 cases, $90. The most exceptional nine barrels in the cellar. Clones are 115, 667, 777, 23 and Pommard. All free-run juice and aged for 9 months in 45% new French oak. The Nine Barrel blend is layered and then racked to one-year-old French oak barrels for an additional 5 months of aging. · Deep ruby color. Ever changing aromas of Bing cherries, cherry cola, Asian spice, and oak vanillin. Rich dark blackberry fruit that is intense but not jammy. Oak plays a light supporting role. Plenty of lively acid and ripe tannins to balance the prodigious fruit. Beautifully crafted with perfect harmony. A very good wine but doesn’t yet quite deliver the emotion one expects from such an expensive wine. Cellar for at least a year or two. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $22. Gold Medal Sonoma County Harvest Fair. · Complex aromatics of wet leaf, mown hay, char and dark fruit. Some appealing minerality and notable herbs and dirt enhance the slightly muted dark Pinot fruits. Velvety mouth feel and a lingering tang, even high strung, finish. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.., $25. · This has to be one of the best Pinot Noirs crafted at this price level. The nose is pure fruit - crushed cherries, raspberries, strawberries. The red fruit flavors linger an eternity on the finish. This is a wine that feels like velvet and revels in its finesse. Reviewed June 3, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 La Crema Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $34. Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777. 33% new barrels. · Fairly dark ruby color. Rather flamboyant scents of dusty cherries. Soft in the mouth, the dark red cherries are highlighted by herbs and spice and a touch of earth, ending with a refreshing acid lift. Delivers more on the nose than in the mouth. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 La Crema Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $34. Pommard, 115, 667 and 777 clones. · Deeper, darker and denser than the other wines in the lineup. This one really pumps out the aromas of rich black cherry and boysenberries. The black fruits carry the theme to a slightly dry and tannic finish. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $34. 47% new barrels. Dijon and Pommard clones. · This is the most showy wine and has the most appealing velvety texture in the lineup. Starts off with black cherry, honey and green herb scents leading to flavors of Bing cherry with herbs, and woodsy accents. Clean finish and very drinkable. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »