Winemaker Bill Brosseau Works Magic at Testarossa Winery
Veteran winemaker Bill Brosseau must have secretly discovered an ancient tome on wine alchemy because he
is able to work magic with a geographically diverse range of California vineyards. Two wines stood out for me:
the 2019 Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir and the 2019 La Rinconada Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.
Over the years, I have tasted many Pinot Noir wines from these two disparate, established vineyards that were crafted by
multiple producers, but Bill’s 2019 versions are the best that I have ever experienced from these two sources. There
are several other 2019 Testarossa Pinot Noirs to highly recommend as well.
I am not alone in praising Testarossa wines and the winery has consistently received accolades from the
nation’s most well-known wine critics. The lineup of 2019 vintage Pinot Noir wines included in this issue was
the first that I have had the opportunity to review.
Bill is not some johnny-come-lately to winemaking, particularly at Testarossa. He is a second-generation
Monterey County winegrower who grew up farming grapes and received his technical training at UC Davis. Bill
was recruited by a former mentor, Ed Kurtzman, and joined Testarossa Winery as an enologist in 2000, quickly
rose to assistant winemaker and by February 2003 had become Director of Winemaking, a position he
continues to hold to this day.
Bill also has his own business, Brosseau Wines, since 2019, sourcing fruit from his family’s estate in the
Gabilan Mountain Range located in Monterey County’s Chalone AVA. He is much in demand as a viticultural
and winemaking consultant and oversees vineyard farming at both Eden Estate Wines in Saratoga and Black
Ridge Vineyards in Los Gatos.
Testarossa Winery was started by proprietors Rob and Diana Jensen in 1993. It was a true Silicon Valley startup
that began in the Jensen’s Silicon Valley garage. The winery name, Testarossa, is derived from the Italian
word meaning “red-head, a nickname Rob had while a university student in Italy. The turning point in the
winery’s history came in 1997 when Rob got a call from Gary Pisoni offering him some Pinot Noir grapes. The
rest is history, so to speak.
The winery is located at the historic Novitiate Winery in downtown Los Gatos, functioning as both a working
winery and a dramatic setting for visitors. Each year, the Testarossa Winery invests in repairing and improving
the old facility.
The focus is on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vineyards extending throughout California from the Russian
River Valley AVA in the North Coast to the Sta. Rita Hills in the Central Coast. Production is about 30,000 cases
annually. Vineyard-designated Pinot Noir wines not reviewed here include Brosseau Vineyard, Doctor’s
Vineyard, Dos Rubios Vineyard, Fogstone Vineyard, Graham Family Vineyard, Guidotti Vineyard, La
Encantada Vineyard, Pisoni Vineyard, Rincon Vineyard, Soberanes Vineyard, and Tondré Grapefield.
The most noteworthy finding on style is that all the Pinot Noir wines have excellent acidity infusing the wines
with juiciness and brightness as well as quenching finishes.
Read more about Testarossa Winery and tasting options at www.testarossa.com.
2019 Testarossa Cuvée Los Gatos Monterey Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.64, 2, 285 cases, $31,
screw cap. Released May 2021. Cellared and bottled by Testarossa Winery, Los Gatos, CA.
garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of cherry and oak spice. A straightforward easy drinking Pinot Noir
very adaptable to food in a mid-weight style offering flavors of cherry and strawberry. Silky in texture, with
minimal tannins and a modest finish.
2019 Testarossa Santa Rita Hills Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.66, 552 cases, $54.
Released April 2021. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 43% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
Very alluring nose featuring scents of black cherry, black raspberry, baking spices and wine cave. Fresh and
juicy with an arrow of acidity complimenting the mid-weight core of cherry, raspberry and exotic spice flavors.
Easygoing tannins and quite lengthy on the finish. An impressive expression of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA .
2019 Testarossa Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.25, TA 0.68, 576 cases, $74.
Released April 2021. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels,
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of
dark cherry and baking spice pick up intensity over time in the
glass. A very comforting, velvety mouthfeel creates a favorable
initial impression. Mid-weight flavors of cherry and raspberry are
accompanied by a thread of citrus in the background. Aciddriven
freshness and vibrancy add to the appeal. The finish is
persistent and quenching.
2019 Testarossa La Rinconada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.21, TA 0.71, 575
cases, $74. Released May 2021. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 57% new.
Moderate garnet color in
the glass. Soaring aromas of blackberry fruit, dark rose petal and wine cave. An exceptional wine with midweight
flavors of black cherry and blueberry-pomegranate accented with welcome spice. Quite forward and
giving with impressive purity of Pinot extract and gracious balance. There is a hint of earthiness that I find
common in Pinot Noir from this vineyard. Even better when tasted several hours later and the following day
from a previously opened bottle. The best La Rinconada Pinot Noir I have ever tasted.
2019 Testarossa Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.65, 2,544 cases, $53.
Released May 2021. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 46% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherry, vanilla cola and musk. Middleweight in concentration, with flavors
of dark cherry, ripe strawberry and raspberry backed by gentle tannins. Easygoing with a modest but satisfying
2019 Testarossa Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.70, 474
cases, $74. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 57% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved
aroma of dusty cherry leads to a middleweight styled wine with dark cherry and boysenberry fruit flavors that
stick to the palate. Elegant in manner with good harmony and noticeable persistence on the pleasing spiceendowed
2019 Testarossa Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.19, TA 0.75, 600
cases, $76. Release June 2021. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 57% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. Nicely composed perfume with scents of cherry, red grape, red rose petal and peppery herbs. Light to
mid-weight in style with a glorious charge of vivid, spicy black cherry fruit. Amazingly long in the mouth and on
the generous finish. Very polished with enviable harmony. At this stage, the palate far exceeds the nose in
2019 Testarossa Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.74, 192
cases, $74. Release June 2021. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 65% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. an immensely satisfying wine with aromas of cherry, rose petal, spice and clover. A delicious cherry core
attacks and soaks the mid palate and lingers what seems like an eternity on the finish. The deep Bing cherry
goodness is accented with flavors of strawberry, red raspberry and cardamom spice. Seamless in texture with
impeccable harmony. Even more striking when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle. The
best Sierra Mar Pinot Noir among many that I have tasted through the years. Flat out great.
2019 Testarossa Cortada Alta Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.57,
175 cases, $74. Released February 2021. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 73% new.
color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, tilled earth and roseate. Mid-weight plus in style, offering earth-kissed
flavors of cherry and berry framed by some unresolved tannin. There is a slight guaiacol (smoke) undertone.
2019 Testarossa Rosemary’s Vineyard, Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.40. TA 0.66,
400cases, $74. Released May 2021. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 63% new.
Dark garnet color in the
glass. Shy but pleasing aromas of black cherry, terra-cotta, underbrush and slight toasty oak. Extremely
engaging on the palate with a flourish of sappy dark cherry, black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors. Clearly
a special wine that is appealingly rich yet welcoming with complimentary tannins and a very long finish. This
wine hits all the bass notes typical of the Wädenswil 2A clone.
2019 Testrossa Niclaire California Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.36, TA .67, 619 cases, $100. Released May
2021. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 62% new. This wine is named after Testarossa founders Rob and
Diana’s children Nick and Claire. The beautiful appointed bottle represents the finest barrels in the cellar.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of dusty rose, Bing cherry, black raspberry coulis,
vanilla and toasty oak. Long on the palate and finish, offering middleweight flavors of blueberry and blackberry.
Very polished with modest tannins and a compliment of oak. This wine taps into all the pleasure centers now
but is still somewhat gruff and closed. Better when sampled the following day from a previously opened and recorked
bottle showing more sweet Pinot fruit and an explosive, very long finish. This wine reminded me of the
2019 Rosemary’s Vineyard bottling.
Besides his winemaking endeavors, Bill Brosseau has his own company, Brosseau Wine Design. He is a
liquid architect that can install a vineyard as part of a custom wine project. His twenty years of expertise as
both a viticulturist and winemaker along with his knowledge of organic winegrowing methods and his track
record of crafting award-winning wines guarantees a client’s new home vineyard and eventual vintages will be
truly exceptional. Bill’s services cover the Bay Area and Central Coast. For more information and testimonials,
contact Bill at email@example.com, or phone 800-537-9317.