Testarossa has been successfully making a wide range of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines for well over two decades, quite a feat in the ever changing and trendy world of fine wine.They work with some of the most renowned vineyards in the Central Coast of California, primarily in the Santa Lucia Highlands, but also from Arroyo Grande, the Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria and their winemaker Bill Brosseau’s family vineyard in the Chalone appellation. Brosseau has been director of winemaking at Testarossa since 2003, and his intimate knowledge of the Central Coast is reflected in his approach and ability to elicit the subtle nuances of so many single vineyard bottlings. He also makes blended appellation wines from Santa Lucia and Santa Rita for both varietals.
In this article we take a look at the most recent releases of Pinot Noir from the winery – both appellation wines and several single vineyard wines from the 2019 vintage. The appellation wines are made in a more forward, fruit driven, early drinking style, while all the wines show balance, refinement and sophistication. Brousseau has a deft touch that allows the terroir of these wines to express themselves in an unmanipulated manner.
Testarossa 2019 Cuvee Los Gatos Pinot Noir Monterey ($31) 90 Coaxing aromas of sweet, dark cherry and cola spice. On the palate, there’s an appealing silky texture with rich (but not overripe) fruit and good length. A solid, well crafted Pinot Noir, especially for the price. And a good food wine, too. Aged 11 months in stainless steel. TA 6.36 g/L, pH 3.45, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ($53) 91 Pure red cherry nose. Vibrant scents of raspberry, blackberry, and hints of pomegranate and earthy spice jump out from the glass. An attractive, rather showy appellation blend with lively, just fresh picked fruit and a touch of brambles on a palate of medium depth. A very pretty wine with a nice clean finish. Matured 11 months in 36% new French oak; pH 3.43, TA 6.47, 14.1% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Santa Barbara ($54) 93 Opening with deep, juicy fruit aromas complemented by an attractive hint of spearmint like spice. Impressive, keenly concentrated palate with significant flavor authority, vibrant and fresh. 14 months in 43% new French oak; pH 3.31, TA 6.57
Single Vineyard Wines
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Brosseau Vineyard Chalone ($74) 95 The Brosseau Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Chalone AVA is youthful and still tight but reveals its terroir with its structure and complex savoriness. Herbs, spice and underlying fruit are revealed in the bouquet, leading to a complex, layered, savory and refined palate. There’s also a subtle expression of lush fruit. A complete Pinot Noir that in time will show still more complexity and nuance. 21 months in 73% new French oak; 3.55 pH, 5.96 TA 384 cs
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Cortada Alta Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($74) 91 Medium ruby red. The Cortada Alta Pinot Noir is earthy and herbal with underlying dark red fruit aromas that are mirrored on the palate along with a hint of tobacco. Mouthfilling with good balance and a long, spicy finish. 14 months in 73% new French oak; pH 3.72, TA 5.72, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($76) 94 High toned and lively, the Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir offers floral, darker cherry and spice notes on the nose. On the palate, it’s light on its feet and impressively clean and pure with a silky texture. Finishes with excellent persistence and rich extract. 18 months in 57% new French oak; pH 3.19, TA 7.52, 14.3% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Graham Family Vineyard Russian River Valley ($74) 92 Opens somewhat reticent with hints of dark red fruit and spice that grow over time. Soft on the attack with good fruit intensity and hints of minerals with a silky mouthfeel. Balanced with soft round tannins on the finish but doesn’t have the depth of some other Testarossa Pinots. 21 months in 59% new French oak; TA 5.22 g/L, 3.69 pH, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($74) 95 The La Rinconada Pinot Noir is high toned with a floral/fruity nose of dark rose petals and perfumed cherry and exotic spice nuances. On the palate, it’s refined and silky but also racy with excellent freshness and vibrancy and significant intensity. Vibrant and long on the finish with well-knit tannins. 17 months in 57% new French oak; pH 3.21, TA 7.08 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($90) 93 Ripe dark cherry on the nose with hints of wood spice. Finely textured and full fruited with vibrant ripe cherry flavors and refreshing acidity on a dense, toasty palate. Well balanced, racy, and ripe in character. 18 months in 66% new French oak; pH 3.5, TA 6.09, 14.3% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($74) 94 A beautifully crafted, elegant and nuanced wine revealing high toned fruit along with rose petal floral and spice notes on the nose. Gorgeous silky mouth feel and excellent balance with savory notes on the palate and finishing long with good grip. Matured 19.5 months in 77% new French oak. TA 6.03 g/L, pH 3.6, 14.1% alc. 312 cs
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($74) 94 The Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is a lively, opulent, fruit driven wine that begins with a subtle floral-like perfume of cherry complicated by a vanilla nuance. That’s followed by fresh, ripe cherry flavors on a silky textured palate. Finishes on a mouthwatering note, fresh, lively and pure. 14 months in 57% new French oak; pH 3.32, TA 6.99, 14.2% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley ($74) 94 Begins on a savory note with cooking and oak spice and earthy herbal scents on the nose, but beautiful, sweet dark red fruit erupts on the palate producing a finesse-styled, harmonious combination. Excellent persistence with tangy, dark cherry lingering forever. All 667 clone; matured 17 months in 63% new French oak. pH 3.4, TA 6.63, 14.3% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills ($74) 95 Exotic, pure perfume of violets and roses interwoven with raspberry and cherry that carries over to a lithe, finely honed and intensely concentrated palate with fine grained tannins that lend just enough spine. Finishes with a vibrant, long aftertaste. 15 months in 54% new French oak; pH 3.25, TA 6.79, 14.3% alc.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($74) 93 The Soberanes Pinot Noir is bold and bursting with fresh, ripe red fruit from the brambly nose to the long aftertaste. It explodes in the mouth with an assertive core of cherry, raspberry and dark red plum energized by crisp acidity and supported by a firm structure. Well integrated finish. 19.5 months in 53% new French oak. TA 7.09 g/L, 3.27 pH, 14.3% alc. 360 cs.
Testarossa 2019 Pinot Noir Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($74) 93 Voluptuous nose of sweet dark red cherry interwoven with red raspberry. Dense and hedonistic, keenly concentrated palate with touches of earthiness and toasted oak on the finish. A bold, fruit driven Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands. 20 months in 60% new French oak; 3.27 pH, 7.09 TA 480 cs
Testarossa 2019 Niclaire Pinot Noir California ($100) 95 Opening with deep fruit aromas complicated by a woodsy perfume, the Niclaire is supple and juicy with opulent flavors. It’s vibrant and pure with abundant quantities of ripe California fruit with sweet tannins and a mouthwatering finish. A blend of the best barrels from the Testarossa’s outstanding vineyards. 16 months in 62% new French oak; pH 3.36, TA 6.68; 14.3% alc.