2015, does it get any
better than this...?
Most winemakers in California seem to agree that 2015 could not get much better for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Central Coast. Yet if you were to talk with the growers, they would be biting their tongue as they experienced some of the lowest yields on record to achieve that exceptionall quality. While as winemaker, I enjoy low yields, but I too start to feel the pain of the grower when they deal with a high financial blow. Fortunately, the bountiful yields of the previous three years averages out these really low years.
What led to such low yields? Well, the largest factor was probably light rains during grape berry set and the cool weather thereafter. We had a relatively dry winter and spring beforehand which led us to believe another average year of fruit yield. It just goes to show we can never fully prepare for anything except the unexpected.
Sure enough after the completion of flowering for much of our vineyards, the weather remained dry and steady, while not exhibiting much heat until late September when most of the fruit had already been received. We did start two to three weeks earlier than normal, largely due to the low yields taking less time to ripen. With low yields and steady weather, there was no botrytis, leading to very pristine and clean fruit.
It was certainly a year we could have left the sorting table unplugged and covered (given the cleanliness of the fruit) but we just wanted to be extra careful with our fruit sorting.
Wine Chemistry results - On the wine chemistry front, we did not see any low or high levels of acidity and or flavors. While the yields were low, the calm and mild weather diurnal swings kept a steady and stable chemical balance in the fruit, both white and red grapes. The largest factor was for the phenolics or what I would refer to as tannin, astringency, bitterness, and color, was the size of the seeds. Due to the poor weather at set, the seed size becomes greatly diminished, even to the point of setting a seedless berry. What this does is lower the amount of some of the phenolics and led us to adjust a bit our winemaking techniques to adapt to this change in concentrations.
We ended up keeping our Pinot Noir on the skins longer post fermentation to build up some of the texture we were not going to be able to achieve if following our standard practices. This subtle step really balanced the palate and tasting them now, really glad we fermented on the skins longer to achieve consistency from year to year when it comes to texture and balance.
Overall, the concentration and silkiness of these wines from 2015 are classic and impressive. We will be definitely enjoying this for many years to come, or if you can hold out for that long.
From Bill Brosseau
Testarossa Director of Winemaking
The BIG news around Testarossa Winery this month is the opening of our second Tasting Room in Carmel Valley. Thanks to our current and former wine club members our new location had a banner opening weekend and is continuing to do well during this holiday season. It is located at 1 East Carmel Valley Road. The stunning complex was most recently home to Jan de Luz Antiques.
"We are incredibly excited to open our second Tasting Room in Carmel Valley," said Rob Jensen, proprietor of Testarossa Winery. "We have always thought about the possibility of a second location in the Carmel area and when we were approached by Russell Joyce and his family, we fell in love with the property right in the center of Carmel Village. The close proximity to the Santa Lucia Highlands where we have been buying grapes for almost 20 years allows us to bring our tasting experience closer to the vineyard and a connection to the land."
Learn more about our new tasting room in Carmel Valley.
The winery closes at 3 pm
The winery will be closed. Merry Christmas!
The winery closes at 3 pm
The winery will be closed. Happy New Year!
January 21 - 22
Single Vineyard Wine Release Weekend
Make a wish Wines & Wishes Gala (SF)
World of Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara)
March 16 - 19
Relais & Chateau Gourmetfest (Carmel)
Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation Gala (San Jose)
March 30 - April 2
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival (Anaheim)