Testarossa Winery: New Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Releases

logobuildingnobackgroundThese new releases confirm once again that Testarossa Winery  is among California’s finest producers of premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.   As in previous years, it has released a bevy of outstanding handcrafted terroir-based wines from some of the top growers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Sta Rita Hills, Chalone and neighboring AVAs.

 

rick-and-diana-jensen1Started in a garage in 1993 by Rob and Diana Jensen, Testarossa is a Los Gatos-based family winery that has grown rapidly and today produces more than 30,000 cases.  Its long-time Director of Winemaking is Bill Brosseau,  a viticulturist and winemaker par excellence. Bill works closely with Testarossa’s partner-growers and also directly manages his own vineyard in the  Chalone AVA.

Testarossa is located in the old Novitiate Winery that was constructed by Jesuits from Santa Clara University in the 19th century.  As a means to financially support the former seminary college they built on the winery property in 1888, seminary students volunteered their labor in the vineyards and winery.  Rob and Diana met while studying at Santa Clara University, where their children were also students.

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We have enjoyed Testarossa wines over the years, having first tasted them with Rob and Diana in 2009 while preparing our report The Wines of Santa Lucia Highlands.   We recommend them highly to our readers.

 Tasting Notes

 Chardonnay

 Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highland ($48) 93  The Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard offers lovely perfumy aromas of stone fruit with a hint of oak on the nose. On the palate it reveals purity of fruit,  a soft texture with good balance and acidity and a persistent finish.  Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands California ($38) 89  This Chardonnay reveals restrained aromas of orchard fruit with a hint of anise. It has good acidity and crispiness on the palate, good balance and a moderately persistent finish.  Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Dos Rubios Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 91+   The Chardonnay Dos Rubios Vineyard offers attractive tropical fruit aromas on the nose. On the palate it displays a creamy mouth filling with good intensity of flavor,, excellent acidity and a long finish. The Dos Rubios Vineyard is a highly successful collaboration between Testarossa’s Rob Jensen and vineyard owner, Kirk Williams.   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills ($48) 91  The Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard offers steely mineral-like aromas with notes of herbs. It has good intensity of flavors and in soft and round on the palate and crisp on the finish.   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 91  The Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard offers aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruit. It displays a creamy mouth feel with good acidity and is bright and crisp on a persistent palate. It is nicely balanced and easy drinking.   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Rincon Vineyard California ($48) 91  The Chardonnay Rincon Vineyard offers perfumy aromas of stone fruit and hints of anise. It is soft and round on the plate with touches of light oak, good texture and balance and an excellent finish..   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 93   The Chardonnay Rosella’s Vineyard is a delicious wine offering aromas and flavors of tropical and stone fruits with a hint of toasted oak. It is perfectly balanced with good acidity and lively freshness and has a long finish.  Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 92  Light straw. This Chardonnay offers fragrant aromas of stone fruit on the nose. On the palate it beautifully focused with concentrated fruit flavors, little oak, excellent balance, crisp acidity and a persistent finish.   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Tondre Grapefield Samta Lucia Highlands ($48) 90+  The Chardonnay Tondre Grapefield offers aromas of orchard and stone fruit. It has good intensity of flavor on the palate with medium weight, good balance and acidity, and a dry finish.  Testarossa 2014 Diana’s Chardonnay California ($70) 91  Diana’s Chardonnay displays a medium lemon hue and offers aromas of citrus, herbs and toasted oak. Although a selection of the winery’s best barrels from different vineyards, the wine is rather modest in flavor  with prominent oak. A traditional California Chardonnay in a style which will please those who like oak.  Excellent but not as strong as the 2013 vintage.  Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($48) 92  A terrific Chardonnay, qualitatively in the same league as the Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard. Rich in orchard fruit with a hint of toast, it is ripe and crisp on the palate with good intensity of flavor, excellent balance and a persistent finish. Only 6 barrels made.   Testarossa 2014 Chardonnay Cuvee Los Gatos Santa Lucia Highlands ($24) 89  The youthful Chardonnay Cuvee Los Gatos offers ripe aromas of stone fruit with hints of butterscotch. It is nicely balanced with good intensity of mouth filling flavor and a pleasant finish.

Pinot Noir

 Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills ($48) 89+  The Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills has a dark ruby color and offers bright cherry aromas and flavors. It is light on the mid-palate with moderate flavors, dry tannins, and a modest crisp finish. Not up to the quality of the 2013 vintage.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Doctor’s Vineyard California ($66) 92  The Pinot Noir Doctor’s Vineyard offers ripe black cherry, plum and spicy aromas and flavors. It is mouth filling with big fruit and earthy flavors that are typical of this vineyard. On the continuum of Pinot Noir styles, this one is probably at the extreme end of those with the dark, bold, and concentrated flavor profiles. Well done.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Dos Rubios Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 92  The Pinot Noir Dos Rubios offers lovely red fruit aromas and flavors. It is mouth filling with a a rich soft silky texture and good density of flavor. Medium-bodied, it is nicely balanced with spice notes, round tannins and a persistent finish.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Graham Family Vineyard Russian River Valley ($64) 93  The Pinot Noir Graham Family Vineyard offers attractive aromas of ripe cherry fruit and a soft and elegant palate, It is rich with flavor and has good concentration and balance. A lovely wine with a soft texture, silky mouth feel and a persistence finish. We think it tastes better than last year’s Pinot Noir which was also very good.  Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($64) 91  The Pinot Noir Rosemary’s Vineyard offers ripe soft red berry fruit and a touch of loam on the nose. It has a soft texture with nicely concentrated dark berry fruit, excellent balance, round tannins and a persistent finish. Easy drinking. Might be even better with a crisp finish. 100% clone 667. Testarossa 2014 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ($66) 92  Garys’ Vineyard is one of the legendary vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands. This Pinot Noir from Garys’ offers aromas of red and black cherry with hints of spice and earth. It is bold on the palate with dense red berry flavors, excellent balance, firm tannins, and has a persistent finish.  Testarossa 2014 Niclaire Pinot Noir California ($80) 93   The Pinot Noir Niclaire is a blend of the finest barrels in Testarossa’s cellars.Named after the children of Testarossa founders, Rob and Diana Jensen, it conveys lovely purity of medium cherry flavor with a hint of toast. Aged 11 months in 58% new French oak, it reveals a soft texture, excellent balance and a beautiful and persistent finish. A lovely wine that is better than the 2013 vintage.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($64) 92  The Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard is sourced from heavy limestone soils. Medium ruby in color, it displays aromas of ripe and spicy dark red berry fruit and sauvage.. It reveals intense flavors of mulberry and pomegranate on the palate with excellent balance, round tannins and a persistent finish. The Brousseau Vineyard is owned by Testarossa’s winemaker’s parents, Jon Brosseau and wife Jan.  Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 92  The Pinot Noir Fogstone Vineyard offers intriguing aromas of plum, cranberry and spice. These are mirrored on the palate with good intensity of flavor, excellent acidity, and good persistence.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Guidotti Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 90  The Pinot Noir Guidotti Vineyard offers steely aromas of dark red berry fruit and spice. On the palate it displays fruit flavors of moderate intensity, good balance and acidity, firm dry tannins and a short finish.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($64) 91+ This Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard from the Sta Rita Hills enjoys big bold flavors, including pomegranate fruit, earth and spice. It reveals good acidity on the mid-palate, round tannins and a moderate finish. Not typical of the Sta Rita Hills refined red berry fruit flavors.  Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard California ($75) 93+  The Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard offers lovely fresh aromas of pure red cherry and raspberry fruit. On the palate it exhibits a soft and silky texture, delicious red berry fruit flavors, round tannins and a long and luscious finish. The Pisoni Vineyard is among the finest low yielding vineyards in the SLH if not all of California for growing Pinot Noir. Meticulously managed too.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($64) 91 Dark ruby color, the Pinot Noir Rincon Vineyard offers attractive aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry and raspberry with a touch of vanilla. It is soft and lush on the palate with a full mouth feel, good depth of flavor, excellent acidity, and a long finish.  Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($64) 94   Sanford & Beneduct Vineyard is one of California’s finest historic vineyards. The Pinot Noir grapes from the vineyard are very pretty with aromas of dark red cherry perfume. This wine is soft and elegant on the palate, beautifully balanced, silky smooth with persistent bright acidity on the finish.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley ($48) 92  The Pinot Noir Sierra Madre Vineyard is sourced from grapes grown on gravelly soils near the Pacific Ocean. It is silky smooth on the palate and offers pure ripe berry fruit on the nose and the palate. Nicely balanced with crisp acidity and freshness, it is a elegant wine with good intensity of flavor and a persistent finish. The Sierra Madre Vineyard is owned by Doug and Jan Circle.   Testarossa 2014 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 91  This vineyard belongs to famed SLH growers and winemakers Gary Pisoni and Gary Francioni. Medium ruby in color, this Pinot offers aromas of dark cherry, minerals and earth. On the palate it has good density of flavor, a soft texture, and a tart finish.  Testarossa 2014 Pinto Noir Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 89+  The Pinot Noir Tondre Grapefield offers aromas of plum, dark cherry and minerals. It is densely flavored on the palate with notes of dark cherry fruit and spice. It is mouth filling with firm tannins and a medium finish.
Testarossa 2014 Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 91  Rosella Vineyard is one of the finest vineyards in the SLH. Owned by Gary and Rosella Francioni it is diligently managed and low yielding, providing outstanding grapes in most vintages. This Pinot Noir displays purity of dark spicy red fruit, a soft texture, and firm round tannins. It is well balanced and long on the finish.

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