La Crema Winemaker, Elizabeth Grant-Douglas talks about how the climate and terroirs of Sonoma and Monterey influence the flavor characteristics of our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
What are some of the major differences between the micro climates and terroir of your Sonoma Pinot Noir plantings and your Monterey Pinot Noir Plantings, and how do you express and enhance these differences in your winemaking techniques?
Deeply affected by their proximity to the ocean, both the Sonoma Coast and Monterey appellations experience the cooling influences of wind and fog to differing degrees. These factors are crucial in slowing down ripening and keeping the grapes on the vine as long as possible to develop character while retaining natural acidity.
The Sonoma Coast is known for its large swings in temperature during the growing season with cool, often foggy mornings that give way to generally much warmer, sunny afternoons. The effect of this weather pattern combined with the well drained soils tends to create Chardonnays layered with aromas and flavors of juicy citrus and green apple. The pinots lean toward red fruit and spice, often with notes of cola and espresso on the palate.
Monterey, while also blessed with cool, foggy mornings is more moderate in temperature. The appellation is known for its characteristic brisk winds coming up each afternoon, keeping temperatures from exceeding 75 degrees most days. Monterey’s unique climate often results in chardonnays that exhibit more mineral driven and tropical fruit notes while the pinot noirs display earthier herbal aromas along with dark plum and blackberry flavors.
The terroir and climate in both of these regions are important for the style of wine that we are aiming for at La Crema: fruit aromas and flavors that are ripe but still fresh, bright natural acidity to compliment a variety of foods and silky, round textures.
In terms of winemaking techniques that we use to enhance the differences I can honestly say that we do not attempt to make these wines in different styles. Our goal is always to handle the grapes as gently as possible and let the terroirs express themselves.
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