Started in 2005, The International Wine Review is an industry leading publication oriented around wine education for wine consumers and wine trade professionals. Thoughtful reviews are enhanced by bi-monthly comprehensive regional reports.
Left to right: Don Winkler, Editor and Mike Potashnik, Publisher
We’ve regularly tasted the Testarossa Pinot Noirs since the 2007 vintage when we visited this Santa Clara winery and tasted with Rob and Diana Jensen. Also, over the years we’ve visited and written about most of the vineyards that provide the fruit for Testarossa’s single vineyard Pinots. Bill Brousseau has been director of winemaking at Testarossa since 2003, and his intimate knowledge of the Central Coast is reflected in his approach and ability to elicit the subtle nuances of so many single vineyard bottlings. He also makes blended Pinot Noir appellation wines from Santa Lucia and Santa Rita. In this article we take a look at the most recent releases of Pinot Noir from the winery – both appellation wines and several single vineyard wines from the 2021 vintage as well as the elegant Niclaire Pinot Noir, a California blend of the best barrels from the 2020 vintage.
Bill Brosseau (also) crafts very flavorful Chardonnays sourced from some of the best vineyards along California’s Central Coast, especially the Santa Lucia Highlands. As with the 2019 Chardonnays we wrote about last year, these are well crafted wines harvested at optimal ripeness and made to balance rich flavors with fresh acidity and moderate alcohol levels.
“Dark garnet red. A very special Pinot Noir blend, more refined than bold in character and with impeccable balance. A complex bouquet of sweet dark red fruit is followed by a silky, elegant, lush and superbly integrated palate revealing bright red fruit notes overlaying darker fruit. A barrel selection sourced from vineyards in several coastal AVAs (50% from the Sta. Rita Hills) and matured 17 months in 65% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Similar to the 2019 vintage of Diana’s with its opulent texture but with fruit a little more reserved. Silky, round and full palate of dried mango, apple and hazelnut with citrus like acidity. Beautifully integrated and luxurious. Sourced from sustainable and organic vineyards in the Chalone, Arroyo Grande Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, and Santa Lucia Highlands AVAs, fermented and aged 17 months in 62% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Testarossa’s most refined single vineyard Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County’s most famous, historic vineyard. A fragrant red berry/cherry nose is followed by a silky palate of dense dark red cherry. Beautifully balanced with deep fruit intensity and firm acidity and super persistent finish. Very well-made wine. Matured 11 months in 50% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“The hedonistic Fogstone Vineyard Chardonnay has always been one of our favorites, and the 2020 vintage doesn’t disappoint. It’s elegant with a lush, silky texture. Orchard fruit with hints of ripe mango and well-integrated oak are complemented by a sense of stony minerality. Finishes long and seamless. From 27-year-old vines of several different clones (mostly Hudson, 95, 76); matured 21 months in 50% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“The Lone Oak Chardonnay is mineral driven and dense. Firmly structured, there’s superb integration of fruit and oak. Sourced from 46-year-old, all Wente clone vines grown on alluvial loam at 250-400′ with an east orientation; matured 21 months in 34% new French oak. pH 3.16, 14.2% alc. More minerals on this one. Less overt fruit and oak. Nice firm backbone. Dense on palate, thick extract, good depth. Very rich long finish. Superb integration. Nothing sticks out superb integration. Outstanding. 94. Acidity more apparent. Some tartness on finish. Little hazel nut character. Lots of oak but not apparent….great winemaking.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Dark ruby. Pure scents of black raspberry and candied dark cherry on an expressive, rich bouquet. Lovely purity and focus along with dense flavors in the mouth. Firm tannins and a very long, tart cherry finish. The oak is completely integrated. From 15 year old vines (all clone 115) grown with a north orientation and matured 11 months in 53% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Rosella’s is one of the most special vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands, as we noted after our visit to Rosella’s with owner Gary Franscioni while preparing our Santa Lucia Highlands report. This wine captures the essence of Rosella’s. It offers a ripe fruited nose with floral and mineral notes. On the palate, there’s a deep intensity of ripe dark red fruit accompanied by a good grip of acidity. It’s a delightful wine, youthful but delightful, with delicious layers of fruit and spice and perfectly integrated oak. Outstanding. Fermented in stainless steel with no whole clusters. Sees 11 months in 50% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Starbright medium yellow. Toasty nose with lemon meringue and cling peach aromas. Silky, refined mouth feel with fine, firm structure, and pure ripe yellow fruit flavors. Noticeable oak on a medium weight palate; seamlessly integrated with pure fresh yellow fruit, finishing long with lingering freshness. All Clone 4 sourced from 35-year-old vines in shallow calcareous clay soils at 400′ altitude; whole cluster pressed and fermented in French oak. Matured in 50% new French oak for 19 months. pH 3.41 Rincon is the first vineyard planted (self-rooted) in 1984 by the Talley family.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
“Perfumed, almost floral, nose of pomegranate and black raspberries. Excellent intensity and purity of fruit with bright, lively acidity; firmly structured and focused with well-integrated oak and a dry finish. Like the Santa Lucia Highlands blend, this wine is youthful and will benefit from more time in bottle. Should last a long time. Matured 11 months in 66% new French oak.” Don Winkler, International Wine Review
By Paul Martino|2023-02-27T20:09:48+00:00February 27th, 2023|