Testarossa Winery is among the top producers of premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California. Owners Rob and Diana Jensen handcraft small lots of mostly vineyard designated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from top growers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Sta Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley, Chalone and other appellations. In 2013, as in previous years, they produced a bevy of outstanding wines reviewed here. Some of their new vineyard sources include two from the Sta. Rita Hills: the La Rinconada Vineyard for Chardonnay and the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard for Pinot Noir. Two new dessert wines are also in the lineup for the first time.
Started 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 30,000 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.
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.
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.
Wine Reviews & Ratings
Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Cuvee Los Gatos Monterey County Testarossa ($23) 89 Toasty oak, ripe peach and melon fruit, nicely integrated and pleasant with good acidity on the finish. A quintessential California Chardonnay. 2013 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands ($35) 90 Sourced from Fogstone and Lone Oak Vineyard, this Chardonnay is restrained aromatically, but is ripe and creamy on the palate with good melon flavors and hints of toast. Nice long finish. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Dos Rubios Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 91 This delicious Chardonnay exhibits a dark platinum gold color and a flinty, smoky nose. It is beautifully focused with good integration of orchard and stone fruit and oak. It has excellent balance, moderate intensity of flavor and a persistent finish. Testarossa Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 91 The Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard exhibits ripe orchard fruit and toasty oak on the attack. It is flavorful with good balance and acidity on the palate and has a long finish somehat steely in character. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 90 The Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard displays bright orchard fruit with a hint of herbs. It has a creamy mouth feel, good acidity and and long chalky finish. Very pleasant. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard Sta,Rita HIlls ($48) 92 The Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard offers a perfumed nose showing white flowers, violets and acacia. It has a nice silky attack that carries through to the palate with unusual notes of white stone fruit white pepper and a touch of earth and stones. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($48) 91+ Starbright and medium dark gold in color, this lovely Chardonnay offers loads of fruit in the nose. Rich and fruit forward, it reveals notes of lemon and green mango with a creamy texture and interesting flavors finishing with very good length. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Rosellas Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 92 A delicious California Chardonnay from a first-class vineyard, showing ripe fruit and rich oak. It is full-bodied with ripe melon flavors, buttery oak notes on the palate, good acidity and a persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley ($48) 93 This Chardonnay from the outstanding Sierra Madre Vineyard is very rich, pure and intensely flavored. Burgundian in character with richness of fruit and toasted oak, it is beautifully integrated and elegantly presented with perfect acidity and a crisp finale. A gorgeous wine. Testarossa 2013 Chardonnay Soberanes Santa Lucia Highlands ($48) 92 This lovely bottling offers aromas of honeysuckle and minerals on the nose. It is big and full in the mouth with perfect balance. It shows good acidity and structure and an excellent finish. Testarossa 2013 Diana’s Chardonnay California 93 Diana’s Chardonnay exhibits full and lush fruit-rich aromas and flavors with a hint of herbs. It has lovely balance and acidity, good ripe stone fruit flavors, and a long finish. Stylish.
Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ($45) 89+ A blend of grapes from several vineyards: Dos Rubios, Fogstone and Guidotti Vineyard. Pleasant ripe red berry fruit with rich spices. Nicely concentrated with persistent flavor and a long finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills ($45) 91 The Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is rich and perfumed with a creamy mouth feel, good acidity, and plum and dark cherry flavors. It is nicely balanced with good acidity and a crisp finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($64) 93 The Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard reveals fragrant red cherry fruit aromas. It is elegant and refined on the palate with good density of flavor, excellent balance and acidity and a persistent finish. Well done. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Cuvee Los Gatos Monterey County ($27) 89 A blend of Doctor’s, Dos Rubios and Guidotti Vineyard, the Pinot Noir Cuvee Los Gatos is fruit forward with aromas and flavors of plum, a fresh crisp attach, and a pleasant persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($66) 92+ The Pinot Noir Doctor’s Vineyard offers aromas of spicy dark cherry with a light cola note on the nose. It is bold and densely flavored with excellent dark cherry and plum highlights. Soft and round on the palate it displays good acidity and freshness with a hint of bitterness to offset the sweet fruit. The finish is rich and long. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Dos Rubios Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 93 The 2013 Pinot Noir Dos Rubios Vineyard is a delicious fruit forward wine. It offers ripe red berry fruit with a silky palate. It has good density of red fruit flavors, excellent balance and a long finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 92 This is a subtly fragrant wine but with an a bright red dark fruit note on the palate that sings. More powerful than elegant, it offers huge extract and a dry finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($66) 91 Garys’ Vineyard is one of the Santa Lucia Highland’s finest vineyards. The Pinot Noir sourced from this vineyard are among the favorites of knowledgeable consumers. The 2013 Pinot Noir exhibits good density of flavor with dark red berry fruit and spice. It is high in acidity, shows earthy complex notes, and has a persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Graham Family Vineyard Russian River Valley ($64) 92 The Pinot Noir Graham Family Vineyards displays sweet ripe cherry and plum fruit typical of the Russian River Valley. It has good flavor and acidity, and is nicely balanced with good concentration and flavor Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($64) 93 A superb wine with ripe cherry aromas and flavors but not sweet or a fruit bomb. It is well balanced, and earthy. Medium-bodied and elegant with good fruit flavors and a long persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($64) 93 The Pinot Noir La Rinconda has savory, slightly herbal nose with underlying dark red pomegranate fruit. silky mouth feel, intensely flavored with layers of red and black fruit. very dense, slightly earthy and dry on the palate. finishes long. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Niclaire California ($80) 92 A Pinot Noir named after the children of Testarossa founders, Rob and Diana Jensen. It is a young fruit forward wine with dark cherry aromas and flavors with hints of toasted oak, Fermented in stainless steel and aged 11 months in 58% new French oak, it is nicely concentrated on the palate with a little bitterness on the attack which wears off on the long finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia HIghlands ($75) 93 This Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is a delicious wine with elegance and refinement. It displays pure red berry fruit and concentrated dark fruit flavors. It is soft and elegant on the palate with purity of flavor and a long persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($64) 90 This is a very ripe and deeply flavored Pinot Noir offering dark cherry fruit with hints of earth and oak. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak 58% new for 9.5 months. The wine is full-bodied and mouth filling with dense flavors of dark red berry fruit. A quintessential California old-world style Pinot Noir. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Rosella Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 90 The Pinot Noir Rosella Vineyard is ripe and hot with high alcohol and candied fruit. It shows concentrated flavors, moderate acidity and firm tannins on the finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Sanford&Benedict Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($64) 94 This Pinot Noir from the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is elegant and refined with a pure and flavorful palate of red berry fruit and a hint of earth. It has a silky texture, excellent balance, and a long finish. Well done. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley ($64) 92 Delicious, elegant and flavorful. Dark cherry and plum. Soft and round on the palate, good concentrated flavors, spice, nicely balanced and persistent finish. Testarossa 2013 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 90 Soberanes exhibits red berry fruit with earthy notes. It is nicely concentrated with dried tannins and rich red berry flavor. Testarossa 2013 Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 90 Pleasant plum aromas and flavors, nicely balanced with good flavors on the palate. Nicely concentrated with spice and long finish.
Testarossa 2012 Novitiate Vin Dore Arroyo Seco ($25) 92 This dessert wine of Sauvignon Blanc reveals a rich golden color and is sweet with good density of flavor. It is suggestive of botrytis with its dense dry fruit. First made by Jesuits back in the 19th century, it has a rich and complex palate with good persistence and acidity on the finish. Sourced from the Zabala Vineyard. Testarossa 2013 Novitiate Villa Joseph Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($25) 88 This late harvest Syrah was also made by the Jesuits. It offers ripe dark berry fruit compote-like character. It is pleasant tasting with dessert cheeses and fruit, albeit not as rich and complex as the Novitiate Vin Dore late harvest Sauvignon Blanc.