Bien Nacido is one of the best known vineyards in California, supplying grapes to many great labels. Testarossa has a long relationship with Bien Nacido. Rob and Diana Jensen have been purchasing Chardonnay from the estate since 1995. Testarossa works closely with the Miller family who owns the vineyard and manager, Chris Hammel. Bien Nacido is located in the cool climate Santa Maria Valley appellation, about an hour north of Santa Barbara.
This 2011 vintage marks the seventeenth Testarossa Chardonnay vintage from Bien Nacido. One hundred forty acres were planted to Chardonnay in 1973. The three acres designated for Testarossa annually are Clone 4.
The 2011 growing season at Bien Nacido was one of the coolest and wettest on record. The Santa Maria Valley was spared much of the fall rains that hit other growng districts, allowing the Chardonnay fruit to fully ripen. The Chardonnay was picked on October14.
Upon arrival at the winery, the fruit was carefully hand sorted. A gentle gravity flow process is used throughout the winery. The whole clusters were gently pressed and the juice went through primary fermentation in French oak cooperage with native yeasts. Eighteen percent of the barrels were new. Secondary malolactic conversion occurred naturally. The wine was allowed ten months of sur-lie barrel aging prior to bottling. Nine barrels were produced.
"Rich yellow hue. Mango, kiwi, pineapple, butterscotch, and vanilla bean unite in this engaging Chardonnay. Bright and vibrant acidity pair well with the tropical flavor and barrel spice. The stoniness quality of the site really stands out with an enjoyable mineral undertone. There is great focus now while hinting at a long and graceful life ahead for this fine offering from Santa Maria Valley. Drink now through 2020. " ~ Bill Brosseau, Director of Winemaking