From Bill Brosseau,
Testarossa Director of Winemaking
2019 vintage offered a very generous winter with above average rain, and even snow in some of our high altitude sites. This led to a slight delay in budbreak, of which is a good thing for avoiding spring freezes and ensuring the vines got enough ‘sleep.’
As spring had sprung, there was an abundance of nice weather along with loads of wildflowers, making for very majestic vistas when visiting vineyards. As one would expect, the abundance of winter rain led to increased vigor in the vegetation and vine growth. Once flowering was near, the weather forecasts were quite ominous with weather forecasts for rain. The one time I wished the weather forecasters were wrong, when rains dumped inches of rain in the central coast.
Many of us expected to have little to no yields following the rains during flowering. Fortunately, with the cool weather, the flowering period was elongated so even though we had intense rains, it did not wipe out all fruit set possibilities. We did however see variance in berry set, berry sizing within clusters and across different vineyards.
As summer marched on, we did not experience extreme heat which is of course is welcome to us farmers and winemakers. Given these moderate conditions though, I knew that physiological ripeness, or that of the future skin, pulp, and seed ripeness would lag relative to chemical ripeness (sugar / acidity).
Sure enough as veraison passed, sugars were marching faster than the vine was ‘seasoning’ its canes, leaves, etc. As many winemakers were gearing up to pick, getting excited at approaching sugars, we sat back and waited to be rewarded with ripe tannins and ripe flavors. Sure enough, we were glad to be patient as the physiological ripeness in our cellar is quite impressive with beautiful polish and modest ripeness. We even backed off punchdowns late in the ferment such that we did not over-extract any lingering elements of under-ripeness.
Overall we are pleased with the vintage and did not get rained out before the end of harvest. Fruit was relatively clean despite the high moisture season. And most importantly our vineyard and winery crew are getting much needed rest to guide the next steps towards that of pruning season or safely tucking away the wine in barrel, respectively speaking.