Testarossa Winery is among the finest producers of premium Chardonnay in California, and 2016 was an exceptionally good vintage throughout California. As a result, we are enthusiastic about the 2016 Testarossa Chardonnays. Testarossa handcrafts small lots of mostly vineyard designated wines from California’s top growers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley, Chalone and other appellations. In 2016 they produced a bevy of outstanding wines that are among the finest we have reviewed over the years. They exhibit outstanding flavor, complexity and overall balance, while revealing the unique character of the different vineyards from which they are sourced.
Started in a garage in 1993 by Rob and Diana Jensen, Testarossa is a Los Gatos-based winery that has grown rapidly and today produces over 15 thousand cases. Its long-time Director of Winemaking is Bill Brosseau, a viticulturist and winemaker par excellence. Bill works closely with Testarossa’s growers and also directly manages vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. He crafts consistently high quality terroir-based wines year after year from a wide variety of growers and vineyards.
The exceptionally good 2016 growing season and Bill’s talented winemaking are reflected in our very positive evaluations of these Testarossa Chardonnays. Because each of these wines are made in small lots, they sell out fast to Club Testarrosa members. For information visit www.testarossa.com
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands ($41) 91 Yellow gold. With a sumptuous nose that recalls fresh mango and peach with honeysuckle and Meyer lemon notes, this Santa Lucia Highlands blend reveals ripe yellow fruit framed by lemony acidity with a lingering hint of sweet lemon drop. Like the 2015 vintage of this wine, beautifully balanced and integrated.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains ($41) 90 The Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay offers ripe, mineral accented orchard fruit complemented by citrus peel and flint scents that are picked up and repeated on a fleshy palate along with notes of creamy oak and lemon-tangerine acidity. Good, easy drinking.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills ($41) 92 Revealing a lively bouquet of mango, butterscotch, and toasty oak, the Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay is anything but shy. It’s fat but juicy with concentrated fruit and complementary notes of mandarin and dulce de leche. There’s excellent underlying acidity and a lingering, pure finish.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($51) 93+ Sourced from one of California’s most unique high altitude (1600′) vineyards in the Gabilan Mountain range, the Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay offers a heady mix of stone and orchard fruit complemented by lively acidity and notes of honeycomb and toasted oak. Creamy with exhilarating acid-sweet fruit tension.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($51) 93 Year after year, Testarossa’s Fogstone Vineyard Chardonnay offers exceptional balance and purity. East facing and located at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands at 250-400′ Fogstone is an especially cool vineyard site, one of the first to be hit by the cool fog coming in from the Monterey Bay. The wine reflects its site with exhilarating sugar-acid balance and an elegantly textured palate. Always one of our favorites.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills ($51) 93 Refined and mineral like, the La Riconada is another of our favorite Testarossa Chardonnays. It offers a fruit basket of fresh, rich flavors on a lively, suave palate finishing with hints of brioche and citrus extract.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($51) 91 Sourced from the Hahn Estate’s Lone Oak Vineyard in the cool, breeze northern Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2016 vintage is more complex and generous than the 2015. It offers optimally ripened fruit with notes of buttered citrus and vibrant orchard fruit on a juicy, authoritative palate. Finishes with lingering honeyed lemon and roasted grain notes.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($51) 91 Ripe and generous, this Chardonnay comes from the Rincon Vineyard, which includes self-rooted vines planted by the Talley family in 1982. Its aromas recall pear and apple with flint and spice nuances. Round and full on the palate, light notes of spicy, honeyed oak complement the vibrant fruit.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley ($54) 92 Yellow gold in color, the Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay is richly endowed with fruit and toasted oak. The nose and the palate offer ripe orchard and tropical fruit flavors and prominent oak. It reveals good acidity and the overall richness of the Santa Maria Valley terroir.
Testarossa 2016 Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($54) 92 The 2015 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard offers lovely tropical fruit aromas and flavors with hints of medium toast. On the palate it is flavorful and refined with good acidity, round mouth feel and a long persistent finish with linger toasted notes.
Testarossa 2016 Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($54) 91+ Medium yellow gold in color, the 2017 Tondre Grapefield offers aromas and flavors of apple and pear with light toasted oak. It displays very good acidity and overall freshness with a pleasant persistent finish.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($51) 93 Sourced from the Santa Lucia Highlands vineyard owned by Gary and Rosella Franscioni, this Chardonnay offers notes of gun flint, orchard fruit, and citrus peel that appear on the nose and are repeated on a rich, expansive palate. Extract of orchard fruit and spice persist on the finish.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($51) 93 The coolest of the Talley familly’s San Luis Obispo County vineyards overlooking the Pacific, Rosemary’s Vineyard has original plantings dating back to 1987. The very high quality of its Chardonnay fruit is revealed in this sumptuous, generous rendering by Testarossa. Expansive aromas of lemon curd, honeysuckle, ripe pear and a hint of toasted nuts are mirrored on a rich, juicy palate with s lingering finish enlivened by lemony acidity.
Testarossa 2016 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills ($51) 94 Sanford & Benedict is one of the first Chardonnay vineyards in Santa Barbara, and its fruit is highly sought after by California winemakers. The authoritative, perfumed aromas and complex flavors of the Testarossa Chardonnay from this vineyard shows why. It reveals dense orchard and stone fruit framed by sound acidity. It’s rich and juicy, yet pure and long, finishing with a mineral edge.
Testarossa 2016 Cuvée Los Gatos Monterey ($25) 90+ Sourced from several Monterey vineyards, the Cuvée Los Gatos punches above its weight in terms of value. It offers aromas and flavors of orchard fruit complemented by light flinty-smoky notes and edgy acidity. A delicious, easy drinking wine.
Testarossa 2016 Diana’s Chardonnay California ($75) 94 This blend of fruit from California’s best vineyards offers vibrant aromas of orchard and stone fruit joined by suggestions of flint and minerals. Similar to the 2015 vintage in its depth and seamless integration of flavors and exciting interplay between fruit and acidity. Complex, long, and persistent aftertaste.