Testarossa Pinot Noirs From the 2015 Vintage

This is the second part of our review of Testarossa’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir  releases from the 2015 vintage.  The first part focused on the estate’s excellent Chardonnays; this one focuses exclusively on Pinot Noir and one Meritage.   The Pinot Noirs are mainly sourced from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA;  others are from the Sta. Rita Hills, Arroyo Grande,  and the Russian River.  Bill Brosseau makes the wines and works closely with Testarossa’s growers.  As with Chardonnay,  Testarossa makes single vineyard Pinot Noirs, single appellation wines blended across vineyards, and California reserve wines that are blended across the state’s best vineyards.

The 2015 Pinot Noirs are first-rate and ready to drink.  We highly recommend them to our readers who appreciate high quality and refined Central Coast California Pinot Noir bottlings. Continue reading

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The Wines of Steindorfer: First Class Blaufrankisch and Pinot Gris from Burgenland

Steindorfer is a family estate  located in Austria on the eastern shore of Lake Neusidel between the towns of Illmitz and Apetlon.  This location is ideally suited for the production of sweet wines and Ernst Steindorder and son Roland craft some of the finest in the area.  Located in the northern part of the Burgenland, they also produce first class Blaufrankisch from old vineyards and a very fine Pinot Gris reviewed here. Continue reading

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The Crios Wines of Argentina’s Susana Balbo

Over the years we’ve had the privilege to taste wines with Susana Balbo both in Buenos Aires and at her winery outside Mendoza. Susana makes super-premium wines under her Susana Balbo, Nosotros, and Ben Marco labels at her Dominio del Plata winery. She also makes excellent entry level wines under the Crios label, and those are the wines we review in this article. For more on Susana Balbo’s wines and on Argentine wines in general, please consult our Report #26 The Diverse Wines of Argentina. Continue reading

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Failla and Day : Exciting 2015 Releases

Once again Ehren Jordan and Anne-Marie Failla (FAY-la) have crafted an exciting collection of 2015 releases of both their flagship Failla brand of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah and  Day, a relatively a new Zinfandel label. Continue reading

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Testarossa Chardonnays from the 2015 Vintage

The Testarossa Winery, in Los Gatos, sources Chardonnay fruit from California’s best vineyards with special focus on Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Bill Brosseau makes the wines and works closely with Testarossa’s growers. While these wines express the sites they come from, the firm hand of the winemaker is also present in the balance and texture of these outstanding 2015 Chardonnays. Testarossa is owned by Rob and Diana Jensen, who started their winery in a garage in 1993. We tasted wines with Rob and Diana at the winery while preparing our report on the Santa Lucia Highlands over seven years ago, and since that time we’ve reviewed new releases on a regular basis.  Our assessment of this estate has been consistently highly positive over the years. Continue reading

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Friuli Wines from the Collio DOCG: Borgo del Tiglio

Nicola Manferrari is one of Italy’s great white winemakers. We recently visited Nicola at his winery in the small village of Brazzano located just outside Cormòns. Brazzano is the location of his special, old vine vineyards that produce the fruit for his stellar Ronco della Chiesa Friulano and Malvasia wines. We review all his current releases that we tasted at the winery with Nicola and his son Mattia. Continue reading

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McLaren Vale’s Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard: 2014 Releases

We recently had the opportunity to taste the 2014 releases of the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in McLaren Vale.   The four wines reviewed here showed very well  just as they did in the 2013 vintage, which we also tasted.   The wines characteristically offer rich and concentrated aromas and flavors, good texture and mouth feel, with firm but  silky tannins,  They are wines of overall power and elegance, outstanding balance and good length.  Drinking well today, despite their big tannins, they should  provide drinking pleasure for a decade or longer. Continue reading

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Stadt Krems: New Releases of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling

Grillenparz Vineyard on the Danube

Stadt Krems is one of Europe’s oldest wineries. We first tasted its wines for our Report # 25 The Wines of Austria. We recently met with Franz-Josef “Goose” Gansberger, who manages both Stadt Krems and Weingut Stift Göttweig, and eagerly accepted his offer to again taste his wines. The wines are from the very good 2015 and very challenging 2016 vintages. Continue reading

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Pellegrini Wine Company: Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

This is our first acquaintance with the wines of Pellegrini, a family owned and operated wine company which began operations in Sonoma County after Prohibition.  In 1973 the family purchased a 70 acre plum and apple orchard on West Olivet Road in Russian River Valley that became the estate’s Olivet Lane Vineyard.  Olivet Lane has been the source of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for some of Russian River Valley’s finest wineries and for its own label. Continue reading

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75th Anniversary of La Rioja Alta’s Viña Ardanza: 1989-2008 Vertical

Original 1890 Oak Vats

In 1942, Leandro Ardanza Angulo, President of La Rioja Alta, released the first vintage of the iconic wine, Viña Ardanza. His goal was to make a Rioja wine in the style of Burgundy and for that reason chose a Burgundy-style bottle. This year, Viña Ardanza celebrates its 75th anniversary with winemaker Julio Sáenz at the helm. We recently sat down with Julio and with Guillermo de Aranzabal, President of La Rioja Alta, to celebrate this anniversary by tasting a vertical of Viña Ardanza from 1989 to 2008.  Continue reading

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