From Bill Brosseau,
Testarossa Director of Winemaking
It was an eerie start to the year with no rain in the month of January and very minimal in subsequent months. Then mid-February, we had a cold snap for a few days where frost burned some of the developing buds in some of our vineyards, with Brosseau and Tondre being impacted the most. The spring continued to be cool to mild, teasing us to think it was going to be an average to late harvest start. As summer flowed in, the days were steadily warm, especially in the Salinas Valley and onset of ripeness seemed to pick up speed.
Once early August landed, the warm days continued and pushed the lower yielding sites to being ready mid to late August, a few weeks earlier than average. Then Labor Day weekend ended up being a hot one across the state. Instead of a couple day spike, it was a week plus long hot spell that sped up ripeness very quickly. Given the already dry ground from lack of winter rains plus the heat, crop size seemed to shrink by the day, and the onslaught of harvesting started for us at the tail end of the heatwave in early September.
Surprisingly, no rain showed up right after the hot spell, but things would change a week later which led to a mad-sprint to harvest all the fruit that was very close to being ready. Then after the rains came, the vines seemed to drown themselves in pleasure and soaked up water back into the fruit more than I have seen in a long time. This led to somewhat of a delay to allow for the ground to dry and the vines to lose some moisture. Then it was another mad-dash to harvest before the after-effects of the rain event lead to botrytis. As of September 30th, we concluded our harvest when our last batch of Chardonnay from Lone Oak and Fogstone Vineyards arrived.
In tasting the initial wines we put to barrel from Brosseau and Tondre, the concentration and intensity is so incredible, they are easily the best versions we have produced to date. The other wines that are almost to barrel are very promising and stunning despite the ‘sprint’ type harvest we endured this year. We are very fortunate to work with such excellent vineyards that truly weather the weather year in and year out, producing classic wines of immense enjoyment.
Read Bill’s reflections on the 2021 vintage growing season here.