Winemaker Bill Brosseau Works Magic at Testarossa Winery: Part II
In a recent issue of the PinotFile (Volume 22 Issue 19), I reviewed part of the exceptional lineup of 2019
Testarossa Pinot Noir wines. This issue is devoted to the remainder of the 2019 Pinot Noir releases from
winemaker Bill Brosseau.
Testarossa Winery although possessing no estate vineyards, has an unrivaled lineup of superb partner
vineyards in California, extending from the Russian River Valley to the Sta. Rita Hills. The single-vineyard Pinot
Noir and Chardonnay wines from these sources are the featured winery offerings. Nineteen single-vineyard
small-lot Pinot Noirs and 14 single vineyard small-lot Chardonnays are produced.
Despite the excellence of the wines and their limited production, most are available at the winery’s website
store. The winery and tasting patio in Los Gatos is open by reservation and proper COVID protocols are in
place. Visit www.testarossa.com.
Winemaker Bill Brousseau has been integral in Testarossa’s 25+ years of consistently outstanding reviews by
the nation’s most well-known critics. You can now add my name to that list.
2019 Testarossa Brousseau Vineyard Chalone AVA Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.596, 384 cases,
$74. Release January 2022. The Brosseau family owns
and farms this vineyard with heavy limestone soils
situated at 1660-1700 feet elevation. Planted clones are
Dijon 113 and115, Mt. Eden, and Pommard 4 planted in
1980 are naturally low-yielding. The first Testarossa
vintage from this vineyard was 2002. Aged 21 months in
French oak barrels, 73% new.
Moderately dark garnet
color in the glass. The heady aromas are what draw me
to Pinot Noir and are rarely captured in such an alluring
fashion. Scents of dark cherry, pomegranate, spice and
antique furniture never lose their intoxicating purpose
over time in the glass. Mid-weight black cherry and black
raspberry flavors have appealing spice and earth tones,
Highly unique, with supportive tannins, a shadow of oak,
impeccable harmony and a crazy long finish. When
tasting this wine I wanted to swallow instead of spit. Even
better when sampled the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2019 Testarossa Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.694,
1,296 cases, $76. Released October 2021. This vineyard, owned by the Hahn Family, has sandy loam soils
and is located at 350-540 feet elevation with southeast exposure. Clones are Dijon 113, 115, 667 and 777,
Pommard 5, Swan, Jackson 9, Martini 13, Calera and Wädenswil 2A planted in 1991. Testarossa’s first vintage
of Pinot Noir from this vineyard was 2008. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 54% new.
garnet color in the glass. The nose features aromas of earthy flora, cherry compote and petrol. An easygoing
wine in a middleweight style with earth-toned flavors of dark cherry and purple berry with a good dose of spice.,
Well-crafted in a dusty, rustic tone with a modestly long finish.
2019 Testarossa Fogstone Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.687, 552
cases, $74. Released September 2021. 35 acres of Pinot Noir planted in rocky, well-draining loam soils.
Clones planted include Dijon 113, 115, and 667, Pommard 4, and Jardini, planted in 1993. Testarossa’s first
vintage of Pinot Noir from this vineyard was 2010. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 52% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of black cherry, raspberry and wet
earth. Sleek in texture and comforting on entry, with a discreet core of black cherry and purple berry fruit flavors
shadowing with a bit of nutty oak. Nicely balanced and giving upon opening with some finishing power and
persistence. My first experience with this vineyard.
2019 Testarossa Graham Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.522,
312 cases, $74. Released September 2021. This small vineyard is owned by Howard and Linda Graham. Dijon
clones 667, 777, and faux 828 planted in Goldridge sandy loam soil in 2001. Testarossa’s first vintage Pinot
Noir from this vintage was 2004. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 59% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. The perfume of ripest black cherry, baking spices, vanilla and woodland gather allure over time in the
glass. Mid-weight plus in style and richly endowed with black cherry, cola and baking spice flavors. A solid,
harmonious, and fruit-driven wine, but not enough to get too excited about.
2019 Testarossa Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.609, 288
cases, $90. Released August 2021. The Pisoni family farms this iconic vineyard planted with an unspecified
selection known as the “Pisoni clone” in decomposed granite and clay soils. Testarossa sources fruit planted in
1992 and the first Pinot Noir vintage was 1997. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 66% new.
garnet color in the glass. The moody nose offers aromas of dark cherry, tilled earth and dark rose petal. Quite
an extraordinary black cherry bombast on the palate. The impression is one of black tie refinement. The velvety
mouthfeel makes it easy to find comfort in this wine. The remarkable finish stands out for is exceptional length
of over thirty seconds.
2019 Testarossa Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.603, 312
cases, $74. Released August 2021. This well-known vineyard is owned and managed by the Talley family.
Clone 115 planted in 1985 in shallow local and calcareous clay. Testarossa’s first vintage of Pinot Noir from this
vineyard was 2012. Aged 19.5 months in French oak barrels, 77% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the
glass. This wine captures your attention from the get-go. Beguiling aromas of blackberry, ripest strawberry,
earthy flora and pumpkin spice. Mid-weight plus in structural power, with fruit that really pops on entry and
persists in generosity through a very long and quenching finish. Excellent balance and soft in the mouth with an
array of vivid purple and black fruit and spice flavors supported by ingratiating tannins. Sinfully delicious even
when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle.
2019 Testarossa Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.27, TA 0.709,
360 cases, $74. Released August 2021. This vineyard is owned and managed by the Pisoni and Franscioni
families. Soils are rocky, sandy loam. Testarossa sources Pisoni clone planted in 2008. Testarossa’s first Pinot
Noir from this vineyard was 2011. Aged 19.5 months in French oak barrels, 53% new.
Dark garnet color in the
glass. Aromas of black cherry, bramble and earth lead to a discreetly concentrated wine featuring flavors of
earthbound black cherry, blueberry and boysenberry framed by modest tannins. The finish is generous and
long-lasting. For whatever reason, I have had many very good Pinot Noirs from this vineyard from multiple
producers but never an exceptional one.
2019 Testarossa Tondré Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.27, TA 0.709, 480
cases, $74. Released December 2021. The Alarid family farms this vineyard with sandy, gravelly loam soils.
Testarossa sources Dijon 777 and Pommard 4 planted in 2009. Testarossa’s first vintage Pinot Noir from this
vineyard was 2012. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 60% new.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Initially
reserved but opening with time, revealing aromas of blackberry, cardamom and ash. There is no shortage of
purple and black berry fruits in this mid-weight plus offering showing a slight smoky imprint not experienced in
the other Testarossa 2019 lineup. The robust, fruit-packed finish makes quite a departing impression.