Summertime with Kendall-Jackson and La Crema Wines from California

Summertime is a time we should be spending outside on our patios bbqing or maybe out at the beach or a park picnicking. White wines and Rose wines are typically good choices when the weather is hot and sunny. A plate of cheese appetizers, roasted chicken or grilled fish are a few pairings that you could try.

I have two wines for you from California that you may want to try this summer. Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020 and the La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2019. Let me tell you about them.

My Wine Tasting Notes

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 (BC $28.98)

100% fermented in stainless steel.

Appearance: A lighter bright orange-salmon colour in the glass.
Nose: Medium-minus intensity nose with some matchstick (the winery notes flintiness), strawberries and a mix of red fruits. There is also some grape stem aroma. The wine still has a bit of matchstick or flintiness after decanting.  The aromas of red fruits and strawberries persist.
Palate: Dry, round, and soft with a thicker mouthfeel. Light acidity. Mainly red fruit flavours with a touch of grape stem. With decanting the wine tastes off-dry to start then gets dry on the mid-palate.  Some flintiness and tart red cherry flavours as well.  Medium acidity.  The wine feels more structured with decanting.
Finish: A medium length with light pepperiness, tart red fruits, strawberries and a touch of oak and tannins. Same finish and flavours with decanting.

I think the decanted version is better as the flintiness on the nose diminishes and the wine takes on a bit more structure on the palate.

Rating: 4 stars with decanting.  A lighter, clear orange-salmon colour. Dry, medium-plus body, soft with a thicker mouthfeel.  Medium acidity with decanting.  Mainly red fruit flavours with a touch of grape stem.  Medium length with light pepperiness, tart red fruit and strawberries, along with a touch of tannins.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2020 and La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rose 2019 with wines in glasses
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020 and La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 with wines in glasses

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020 (BC $21.49 on sale till July 30)

I read that this wine is America’s #1 selling Chardonnay for 29 years and counting.  Winemaking notes from the winery, “Crafted in small vineyard lots throughout the entire winemaking process. Whole cluster pressed to retain the fresh fruit qualities without the bitterness from stems and seeds. Fermented and aged in French and American oak barrels for richness, toastiness and complexity. Sur lie aging with monthly battonage (lees stirring) for our signature velvety texture and creamy flavor…Aged 7 months in French (5% new) and American oak (7% new). Barrel fermented and sur lie: 92%

Appearance: A deeper, bright lemon-gold mix colour.
Nose: Medium intensity nose with rich ripe pineapple aroma plus butterscotch and toast. You get more oakiness plus you now get roasted lemon and nutmeg added to the ripe pineapple and butterscotch aromas with decanting.
Palate: Dryish, light body with a light, soft, round mouthfeel. The wine does open up and gets fuller and rounder with swirling. Light acidity. Rich ripe tropical fruit, pineapple, plus butterscotch and touches of oak and peach. Buttery mouthfeel. Fuller body with decanting, with additional flavours of citrus and nutmeg.
Finish: Medium-plus length finishing with tropical fruit and butterscotch flavours and a touch of tannins. Same finish with decanting.

The Chardonnay is lightly oaked giving it a bit more body and can handle stronger flavoured and textured foods.  I don’t like heavily oaked wines, but this wine has the right amount to give the wine more texture, flavour, and complexity.  I prefer the decanted version of this wine as you get a wider range of aromas and flavours.

Rating: 4 stars4.5 stars A deeper lemon-gold colour.  Medium intensity nose of rich, ripe pineapple plus butterscotch and a touch of toast.  Medium body, dryish, soft and round mouthfeel.  Light acidity.  Rich ripe pineapple and butterscotch flavours.  Medium-plus length finishing with tropical fruit, butterscotch and a touch of tannins.

Wine and Food Pairings

Cheddar cheese and Columbian empanadas pairing with Rose and Chardonnay wines
Cheddar cheese and Columbian empanadas paired with Rosé and Chardonnay wines

I tasted these two wines with a mild cheddar cheese, Columbian empanadas, and bbq pork ribs.  An empanada is a baked bun, shaped in a half-moon (like a perogy), that can have a variety of fillings.  The Columbian empanada was made with a cornmeal flour dough with a filling of shredded beef, mashed potatoes, and bits of tomatoes and onions. 

The cheddar cheese was very creamy and has a light sharpness to it.  The creaminess of the cheese was complementary to the Rosé wine plus you get some of the red fruit flavours in the wine. The Chardonnay’s stronger fruit and butterscotch flavours predominated in the cheese pairing, with the cheese just adding a smooth texture to the pairing.  The empanada texture, flavour and oiliness toned down the pineapple and butterscotch flavour of the Chardonnay but it was still present and made a complementary pairing, while the acidity in the Rose wine and the red fruit flavours did not mesh with the empanada’s flavours or textures. The bbq pork ribs were covered with a sweet hickory sauce.  The nutmeg flavour in the Chardonnay paired with the sweetness of the bbq sauce. The Chardonnay felt smooth in my mouth and the pineapple flavour stayed strong.  It was a complementary pairing, but I think the Rosé pairing was better.  The sweet and smoky sauce paired with the red fruit flavours of the wine and the acidity in the wine livened up the pairing.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

The La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé 2019 is available at Everything Wine stores.  The Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020 is available at BC Liquor Stores.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.