Visiting Testarossa

Quick stop into Testarossa, on a whim, en route to dinner at Manresa …

  • 2007 Testarossa Chardonnay Castello - USA, California, Central Coast (4/14/2010)
    Tasted at the winery. Lovely, light Chardonnay nose of apple, minerals, and a touch of creamy oak. In the mouth, racy and lively, with good acidic structure adding backbone to the relatively simple but tasty fruit flavors. B+
  • 2007 Testarossa Chardonnay Diana’s Reserve - USA, California (4/14/2010)
    Tasted at the winery. Bigger and more oak than the Castello. The oak is quite pronounced on the nose, but the ripe apple and fig notes can handle it. Smoother and finer grained, with terrific purity of fruit. The oak muddles the center palate a touch, and there is a bit too much oak influence overall. But the fruit is lovely. B+
  • 2007 Testarossa Pinot Noir La Cruz Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (4/14/2010)
    This is very much my speed. Lovely red cherry color. Gorgeous nose of black cherry, blackberry, earth, and minerals. In the mouth, linear and refined, with terrific concentration and very tasty fruit structure, complemented by ample complexity. Long finish. A-
  • 2007 Testarossa Syrah Garys’ Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands (4/14/2010)
    Very young and brawny. The color of blueberries and a nose that is pure blueberry, along with some smokey meat notes. In the mouth, an interesting comparison to, say, Copain Garys’ 2007, which shows more whole cluster influence. Pure and delicious fruit, with huge structure on the back end. Needs time. B+/A-
  • 2008 Testarossa Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/14/2010)
    Light red color. Aromatic nose of strawberry, minerals, and a touch of wood spice. In the mouth, linear and racy, with a really terrific streak of strawberry fruit but a somewhat odd tomato-like note that I notice sometimes in Bien Nacido. Bright acidity. Terrific except for that one note I find odd. B+

Posted from CellarTracker


A question for you. You have, in the past, ranked Copain Garys’ Syrahs a bit higher than the Testarossa - all of which if fine. My question is more theoretical. If you can identify the winemaking technique used (whole cluster, oak, acid addition) is that a positive? Normally, I would think that a wine that is “seemless” is a wine where no technique stands out.

Do you get my drift?

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines

That’s a good question, Adam. I think that the Testarossa ended up showing a touch more primary and grapey than, say, the Copain with whole cluster would. I’d like to (and plan to) see both wines again in about five years. I’m curious to see how they develop over time since they’re both excellent wines that have a distinctive sign post to differentiate them by (in one respect, i.e., whole cluster vs. destemmed). At this stage in their development, I prefer the Copain a shade because I am a sucker for that whole cluster character, even in young wines. I’ve never given much thought or comparison to whole cluster vs. destemmed in wines after a few years, and it’s something that I’d be interested in checking out more.

So short answer … the Testarossa was a pretty wine that was seamless and impressive, with a bit of a more grapey, primary edge that I think the stem character in a whole cluster wine undercuts just a touch. And, like I said (and as you know), I’m a sucker for whole cluster generally.

Really interesting question, though … and, honestly, from a genuine consistency point of view, it probably would be a fun and good idea to sit down with both wines and compare them.

I love how you get me thinking!

And I realize that I completely didn’t answer your question. I answered a question of my own making. If you can identify the technique … honestly, off the cuff and as a general rule, I’d say I don’t care what is done to a wine to make it taste good to my personal taste … of course, I don’t think I can back that up in any way other than anecdotally (or perhaps hopefully) that I would be consistent about that.

More than in any other arena, I think I’ve thought about this with acid addition … and decided I really don’t care if acid is added to a wine. Watering back doesn’t bother me, either, though I’ve wondered if it’s possible with further aging to detect that the fruit might have been riper originally.

This is actually a general area of topic I’ve thought about quite recently … and instead of writing it, I think I’ll just come over and chat with you about it right now :slight_smile: