It seems like ages since we tasted with Diana and Rob Jensen at their winery in Los Gatos, but then almost everything pre-Covid seems to have happened a long time ago. We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to again taste their new releases, made by long-time, very talented director of winemaking, Bill Brosseau. In this article we review the 2019 Testarossa Chardonnays, both appellation blends and single vineyard wines from some of the very best vineyards in Central California. We also taste Diana’s Chardonnay, which is a blend of selected barrels from multiple vineyards and appellations. These are well crafted wines harvested at optimal ripeness and made to balance rich flavors with fresh acidity and moderate alcohol levels. We’ll be reviewing the current releases of Testarossa Pinot Noirs next.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Cuvée Los Gatos Monterey ($27) 89 The aromas on the Cuvée Los Gatos recall freshly squeezed lemons and fresh stone fruit. This is an easy drinking Chardonnay; it has pleasant flavors and medium depth and concentration on a softly textured palate that could use a bit more uplifting acidity. Sourced from diverse vineyards in Monterey County and aged 11 months in stainless steel. TA 5.77, pH 3.35, 14.1% alc. 2,420 cs.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands ($43) 91 Medium yellow gold. Showing notes of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, and smoky minerals on the nose, this wine has a beautiful, chamois-like mouth feel. Flavor wise, it reveals nuances of stone fruit, hazelnuts, and spice, finishing with soft, lingering notes of ripe fruit married to honeyed oak. A lovely wine for roast chicken or loin of heritage pork. Matured in 21% new French oak. pH 3.08, TA 6.08, 14.2% alc. 2544 cs.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills Santa Barbara ($44) 93 Showing lots of sunny California fruit, the Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay evokes tangerine citrus, Meyer lemon, and touches of tropical mango and pineapple. It’s well balanced with good freshness and depth and a pleasing, suave mouth feel. Finishes long and flavorful. Outstanding for the price. Aged 14 months in 17% new French oak. 3.33 pH, 7.54 TA 408 cs.
Single Vineyard Wines
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($53) 94 Cured lemon, beeswax and spice show on the nose. This is a complex and savory Chardonnay with good phenolics and a hint of salinity. The flavors evoke dried fruit, prairie flowers and herbs. Finishing with a chalky, grippy mouth feel and lingering earth and mineral notes. 14.1% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Cortada Alta Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 92 Complex bouquet with aromas of orchard and citrus fruit accompanied by a light resin-like fragrance. Lush and flavorful on the palate with well-integrated oak and a very appealing, silky mouth feel. Aged 10 months in 66% new French oak. 3.59 pH, 5.36 TA 75 cs
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 94 With a citrus and orchard fruit character similar to the Cortada Alta Chardonnay, the Fogstone Vineyard is infused with minerals from the nose to the precise, lingering finish of stony extract. The palate is dry but dense and beautifully balanced. Spends 18.5 months in 53% new French oak. 3.12 pH, 7.12 TA 456 cs.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($53) 93 Sourced from one of the great vineyards of the Sta. Rita Hills, this is a relatively reserved, balanced Chardonnay. It begins with notes of citrus blossom and chalky minerals on the nose and proceeds with Asian pear and citrus on a balanced, somewhat grippy, long-lasting palate. A delicious wine, subdued and well-made. Harvested Oct 17 from La Rinconada Vineyard, a 130 acre vineyard planted in 1997 on sandy loam soil derived from deposits of the Santa Ynez River; it’s adjacent to the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. TA 6.33, pH 3.31, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 93 Begins with pure aromas of lemon, clementine, thyme and just a hint of buttery apple. Concentrated California fruit flavors on the palate with excellent balance and good firmness. Lovely mouth feel, almost creamy, with a clean, focused finish. Sees 18.5 months in 45% new French oak 3.12 pH, 7.12 TA 384 cs
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($53) 93 Fresh on the nose with subtle notes of ripe orchard fruit and lemon with hints of toastiness. Soft and round in the mouth with medium weight and concentration and a sense of overall elegance. Not a showy wine but confident and solid, finishing on a refreshing note. Harvested Oct 18 from the Rincon Vineyard located 7 miles northeast of the Pacific and first planted by the Talley Family in 1982. Aged 18.5 months in 29% new French oak; TA 6.33 g/L, pH 3.53, 14.1% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($51) 94 The Rosella’s Vineyard Chardonnay begins with a perfumed bouquet of citrus and pear with orange blossom and mineral accents. The perfume persists in the mouth with optimally ripened fruit and toasty oak notes. Seamless and with good depth, this is one of the best Chardonnays we’ve had from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Sourced from Gary and Rosella Franscioni’s 50 acre Rosella’s Vineyard planted in 1996 with Dijon clones 76, 95 and 96. It lies just north of Garys’ Vineyard and is just about in the center of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA with a southeast aspect. Matured 14 months in 29% new French oak; TA 7.23 g/L, pH 3.24, 14.3% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($53) 94 Showing aromas of yellow pit fruit, tangerine, honeysuckle, and toasted grain, the Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnay shows an energetic tension between rich fruit and tangy acidity on a tightly focused palate. Finishes long, fresh and succulent with bright, mouthwatering acidity. Harvested Oct 9 and matured 17 months in 47% new French oak. TA 6.93 g/L, pH 3.15 14.1% alc. Planted beginning in 1987 and located 7 miles to the east of the Pacific, the 29 acre (12 of Chardonnay) Rosemary’s Vineyard is a cool climate growing site. 14.1% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($53) 95 Our favorite of the Testarossa Chardonnays, the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is a standout with its depth and precision. Lemon citrus and stone fruit notes are accompanied by a floral, honeysuckle-like component on an admirably concentrated, deeply flavored, silky palate. Showing refinement and balance, the wine reveals deft winemaking as well as exceptional terroir. Sourced from the historic, northern facing Sanford & Benedict Vineyard at 400′ elevation. This historic vineyard was planted by Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict in 1971 in siliceous gravel covering deep, well-drained soils and a relatively high water table fed by springs located in the hills behind the vineyards and winery, thus permitting dry farming. Matured 15 months in 46% new French oak. TA 7.23 g/L, pH 3.24, 14.1% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 93 Beginning with toasty hints of vanilla, apple, pear and nectarine, this is an especially fresh and lively Chardonnay from Testarossa. There’s good intensity of flavor, integrated oak, and a creamy palate with nice grip, finishing long and flavorful. But it’s the freshness that sets this wine apart. From the 1000′ high Sierra Mar Vineyard, the highest in the Santa Lucia Highlands, owned by the Franscioni family. Harvested Sept 20; matured 18 months in 36% new French oak. TA 5.81 g/L, pH 3.49, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 93 Somewhat reticent on the nose with whiffs of lemon verbena and cooking spice. Dense and rich in the mouth with some firmness but also with a leesy note. Super long and rich, chalky mineral like finish. Matured 19 months in 43% new French oak 3.29 pH, 7.06 TA 336 cs
Testarossa 2019 Chardonnay Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 93 Offering a perfume of pear, white stone fruit and lemon-like citrus, this is one of the more fruit-driven Testarossa Chardonnays. The attack is crisp, and there’s a firm backbone and good richness on a texturally rich and tactile palate. Clean, fruity and vibrant finish. Harvested Sept 20 from the Tondre Grapefield Vineyard at 174-400′ elevation originally planted in 1997 by Tondre and Joe Alarid and located just south of Garys’ Vineyard. It has soils of decomposed granite, gravel and sandy loam. Matured 11 months in 38% new French oak. TA 5.68, pH 3.39, 14.3% alc.
Tête de Cuvée
Testarossa 2019 Diana’s Chardonnay California ($81) 94 This California blend is one of Testarossa’s top wines and most significant for its opulent, suave mouth feel. The bouquet is especially marked by citrus with an orange blossom floral note and a scent that evokes wet river stones. It’s exceptionally creamy and hedonistic, mouth filling with subtle, rich flavors that mirror the bouquet. Although well oaked, its perfectly integrated. It has moderate acidity but good firmness on the finish. A blended barrel selection of the single vineyard Chardonnays made by Testarossa. Matured 16 months in 61% new French oak; TA 5.6 g/L, pH 3.44, 14.2% alc.