75cl * 13.5% ABV * California, USA
The original name, 'La Crema Vinera', means “best of the vine,” and this really is the cream of the crop. Cool, morning fogs billow in off the Pacific Ocean to provide California's near-perfect and long, steady growing season. Extended 'hang time' on the vines results in small, high concentrated berries balanced by crisp acidity. Once picked the fruit is gently pressed before being racked to French and American oak barrels for fermentation. The lees in each barrel are stirred once or twice a month to provide additional texture. The finished wine is aged on lees for 7 months before final blending and bottling.
La Crema's Chardonnay is relatively restrained in Californian terms, but is nonetheless richly layered with stone fruit, vanilla spice and ripe citrus notes. It has been described as having "notes of Meyer lemon and sweet spice on the nose, plus dairy/cream and toasted marshmallow on the palate." in a round up of the best wines for Christmas, but we prefer to drink it in the sunshine. Broad and juicy, it has an affinity with barbecued shrimp but will pair equally deftly with cracked crab, lobster, and scallops prepared in a buttery, creamy sauce. A simple roast chicken or butternut squash risotto is a brilliant choice. A bottle of Chardonnay will even last into the dessert course. Try it with Key lime pie for a taste sensation.
Drinking now until 2028 (if you can hold out that long).