If you are familiar with this label, La Crema makes good Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. While it was hard to romanticize their tasting room because it is located in downtown Healdsburg, their Pinots more than make up for it. I am a fan of Pinot Noirs and I was happy to finally taste some of their select Pinots not available in the stores.
A year ago when Mijo and I stayed in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County for a weekend, we planned to go to La Crema Winery. According to our map, it was close to where we were staying. We got there from our hotel for a little over 10 minutes. Their winery is huge but there were only three cars parked on the lot and there were no signs pointing the way to their Tasting Room. To make the story short, we later found out that their tasting room is located in Healdsburg, which is the next town north of Santa Rosa. We got moted.
A few months later after that incident, we finally made it to the tasting room of La Crema. Their tasting room is what I'll call urban because it is not located in the wineries. No vineyards and no rolling hills as backdrops. This is very much like the Santra Cruz Mountain wineries which have set up tasting rooms in Santa Cruz downtown. The tasting room is cute, urban, clean and spacious. I can see that there are more foot traffic and more convenient this way but then it loses that romantic winery feel.. I hope they rethink this.
Anyway, I am happy to report that their tasting room's location has nothing to do with their wines. They make very good Pinot Noirs. I first tasted a La Crema Pinot Noir during an event at work years ago and I remember making a note of this label. I again tasted another Pinot Noir at a party in the city where I decided to bring the same bottle for dinner at my mom's in Novaliches during one of my visits to the Philippines.
Betty was our pourer that day and she did a good job explaining each wine and the vineyards where they came from. She also explained how some of their wines have limited production. She gave us two options for the tasting. One is a Signature Tasting which consists of two chardonnays and two pinots. The other one is their Pinot Noir Appelation tasting. Am I that predictable? :)
I chose the Pinot Noir Appelation tasting which consisted of four pinot noirs - 2009 Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir, and 2010 Bennett Valley Pinot Noir. I am biased on this but I liked all their Pinots. It was a burst of flavors and the nose is an explosion of aromas. I tasted hints of freshly baked cakes, some cinnamon and banana.
I decided to get the Arroyo Seco and the Bennett Valley. I was told that there were only 450 cases of 2010 Bennett Valley Pinot Noirs have been produced and that is considered small. The tasting fee is waived with a wine purchase.
If you enjoy Pinot Noirs, you will look beyond La Crema's tasting room location because they have really good Pinots Noirs.
They are located in downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County, California.