La Crema and Cambria

This week we're focusing on great value Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from two of California's most popular wine estates, La Crema and Cambria... plus we have added more tasting cases to our Wednesday Deal Tasting Case selection.. including rare, highly acclaimed Chardonnays and Zinfandels from leading California estate Hartford Court.

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.

The Cambria Estate rests on the Santa Maria Bench, a majestic plateau of land three miles southeast of Tepusquet Peak and the Los Padres National Forest. The region features one of the only east-west running mountain ranges in America, a topographical rarity that has a dramatic effect on both the climate and the style of the wines produced here.Cambria was originally part of the Tepusquet Vineyard. Planted between 1970 and 1971, this ambitious venture helped establish Santa Barbara County as a world-class wine producing region. The Cambria portion of property was purchased in 1986 by Barbara Banke who has since updated the vineyard with new clones, rootstocks and farming practices. Today, Cambria is still 100% family owned and the wines are 100% estate-grown.Cambria's 1,600 acres feature 14 different soil types delineated into four distinct vineyards. Each individual vineyard has been mapped and sub-divided into dozens of smaller blocks based on geology and topography. With the Pacific Ocean just 15 miles away and no mountains or hills to impede the coastal winds and fog, this cold-climate site enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in the world.The emphasis at Cambria is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery also produces limited amounts of Syrah, Pinot Gris and Viognier. Denise Shurtleff, a Santa Maria native who joined the winery in 1999, is in charge of winemaking.

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