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La Crema 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay for the Holiday Table

Now comes the time when wine writers trot out their under-appreciated little darlings and attempt to plop them down on your Thanksgiving table. Sancerre, anyone?

With all that mashed yam and gravy, you’ll need your teeth chemically cleaned with acidity now and then. Hey, check out Charbono, it’s listed on Slow Food USA’s “Ark of Taste,” along with heritage turkeys, wink, wink!

Many of these alternative suggestions are just fine, and I’ve made many of them myself. But the reality is that if you’re tasked with supplying the wine, and your family and relations enjoy wine with their holiday meal, but aren’t super-adventurous connoisseurs, the best choice may be a well-recognized “Miss Popularity” brand like La Crema — Sonoma County grown and made, and a good value.

The 2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($23), served cool, displays notes of Meyer lemon-infused butter, lanolin, and a little new oak, not too toasty. For a riper vintage, the fruit is lean: lemon-drizzled fresh cut apples, but with a sweet, long butterscotch candy finish. This should please most of the white wine drinkers at the table; just pass me the dry rosé of Mourvedre.


Recipe: Crab Risotto with Fine Herbs

From La Crema Winery

La Crema Monterey Chardonnay offers an elegant contrast to the flavors in this dish. Crisp and cool as it cuts through the richness of the risotto, while building off the herb and mineral notes found in this dish. There could not be an easier recipe for success. Look for very fresh crab to enhance the seafood flavor, while also accentuating the lemon peel aromas of this Central Coast wine.


  •     1 Tbsp oil
  •     ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  •     2 cups arborio rice
  •     ¾ cup La Crema Monterey Chardonnay
  •     3 cups light chicken stock, at a simmer
  •     6 oz. shelled crab meat
  •     2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  •     2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
  •     1 Tbsp fresh chervil, minced
  •     1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
  •     2 Tbsp whole butter
  •     Freshly ground black pepper
  •     1 lemon, juiced
  •     Salt to taste


Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir frequently. Sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 2 minutes.

Add rice and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and cook until evaporated. Begin adding simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir constantly until the broth has been absorbed.

Total cooking time is approximately 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Add the crab and remove from the heat. Stir in the herbs, butter and lemon juice. Season to taste and serve immediately.


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