2011 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

Working closely with some of the top vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands’ appellation, Testarossa has produced this limited release Chardonnay. The Highlands is one of the state’s best known regions for world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The area’s close proximity to Monterey Bay makes for a very cool climate, with one of California’s longest growing seasons. The resulting slow, gentle ripening allows for full flavor development on the vine. Testarossa’s partnership with the best estates in the SLH ensure only the highest quality fruit makes it to the winery. For this vintage, proprietors Rob and Diana Jensen and Director of Winemaking, Bill Brosseau drew primarily upon well-known properties Lone Oak and Fogstone vineyards.

The 2011 growing season in the Highlands 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. A very small but focused Chardonnay crop was picked in late October at optimal Brix and acid numbers.

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-nine percent of the barrels were new. A partial, secondary malolactic conversion occurred naturally. The wine was allowed eleven months of sur-lie barrel aging prior to bottling. 2845 cases were produced.

“Medium yellow color. Aromas of citrus, ripe fig, honey, butterscotch, and caramel jump readily out of the glass. Upon taste, the aroma profile leads seamlessly into flavors of the same character. The acidity is finely paired with a silky texture, leading to a hedonistic experience. This Chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands shows how well each vineyard can compliment and enhance a blend. Drink now through 2015."

~Bill Brosseau