Rosella’s Vineyard is one of the most renowned estates in the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is owned by Gary and Rosella Franscioni. Originally planted in 1996, Rosella’s has ten acres of Chardonnay, split between Dijon clones 76 and 96. Two acres are annually allocated to Testarossa. The estate’s close proximity to Monterey Bay makes for a very cool, true Region I climate. The growing season here is one of the longest in California, allowing for full flavor development on the vine.
Testarossa has been making Chardonnay from this vineyard since 1999 - the 2011 vintage marks our thirteenth release of Rosella’s.
The growing season in the Highlands in 2011 was one of the coolest and wettest on record. Happily, most of the fall rains bypassed the SLH. The fruit was able to hang as long as necessary to achieve phenolic ripeness - flavor and acidity matched to the necessary sugar levels. The Chardonnay blocks at Rosella’s were picked in mid-October.
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. Twenty-five percent of the barrels were new. Full secondary malolactic conversion occurred naturally. The wine was allowed twelve months of sur-lie barrel aging prior to bottling. Only fourteen barrels were produced.