Testarossa’s 2021 Pinot Noirs and the 2020 Niclaire

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 (shown here).  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.

Appellation Wines

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands ($55) 91  Big bold nose of red berries with spice notes. Bright and fresh on the attack with cola nut and tea notes complementing dark red berry/cherry fruit. A young, fruit driven wine that still needs to settle down, but it should age well with all that fruit. Matured 10 months in 39% new French oak; pH 3.58, 14.1% alc.

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills ($57) 93 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; pH 3.19, 14.1% alc.

Santa Lucia Highlands Single Vineyard Wines

Rosella’s Vineyard

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($76) 94 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.  pH 3.36

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Tondré Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands ($76) 92 The Tondré Grapefield Pinot Noir is lively and spirited beginning with a very fresh nose of pomegranate and spicy dark red fruit.  More linear and less complex than the Rosella but well made.  There’s lots of delicious, slightly tart fruit with hints of tobacco and underbrush on the palate.  Finishes with good length. From 12-year-old vines grown on sandy, gravel loam at 400? with an East/Northeast orientation. Aged 11 months in 70% new French oak. pH 3.18, 14.2% alc.

Sta Rita Hills Single Vineyard Wines

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($76) 95 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; pH 3.25, 14.3% alc.

Testarossa 2021 Pinot Noir Rancho La Viña Vineyard Sta Rita Hills ($76) 94 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. pH 3.25, 14.4% alc.

Tête de Cuvée

Testarossa 2020 Niclaire Pinot Noir California ($100) 95  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; pH 3.4, 14.3% alc.

Source : https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2023/02/19/testarossas-2021-pinot-noirs-and-the-2020-niclaire/

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