Today The 12 Days of Pinot Noir stops in Los Gatos California. Testarossa Winery was started in the Santa Cruz Mountains by husband and wife team Rob and Diana Jensen. For several vintages in the 1990’s they made wine at Cinnabar Winery. When they eventually outgrew that space they moved to Los Gatos. Currently they produce about 15,000 cases of wine per year. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay make up the core of their offerings; they additionally make Syrah. Today I’ll look at two of their current releases of Pinot Noir. The 2007 Testarossa Palazzio Pinot Noir is produced from fruit sourced at a number of vineyards in several appellations. Oak aging was accomplished over 10 months; 54% of the barrels were new. 4,731 cases of this release were produced in 2007. The suggested retail price is $37.
Cherry and vanilla highlight the expressive nose of this 2007 Pinot Noir. It’s inviting and the aromas grab hold and demand that you take a sip. Sweet wild blackberry and dusty cocoa notes are prominent throughout the palate along with cherry pie crust spice. White pepper, nutmeg and a host of lingering spice characteristics are the story of the lengthy finish along with emerging mineral notes. This Pinot has excellent acidity.
What I like most about the Palazzio Pinot Noir is its balance. This is a rich and full flavored wine that shows off lots of fruit and acidity while allowing oak to play the supporting role it’s meant for, adding but never detracting. This wine while particularly suited for drinking on its own to my taste, will also pair well an eclectic array of foods. I would drink this selection over the next few years.
The 2007 Testarossa Sleepy Hollow Vineyards Pinot Noir is made from fruit sourced exclusively at this single vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County. The vines at Sleepy Hollow were planted in 1973. Barrel aging was accomplished over 13 months in oak; 44% of the barrels were new. 625 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $59.
An explosive burst of cherry and plum with underlying cedar and fruitcake spice notes make up the nose of this single vineyard Pinot Noir. Continued cherry, along with strawberry and ever increasing mineral notes emerge throughout the palate. There’s a nice savory edge to the fruit which leads to sour black cherry in the finish along with flint, graphite and a host of other mineral flourishes. This wine has excellent structure and is framed with terrific acidity. The finish is quite lengthy and lingering. Drink this Pinot over the next 4-7 years
In comparison to the Palazzio, the Sleepy Hollow wants to be paired with food more so. Both are fine examples of Pinot Noir. What stood out most to me about these wines is how incredibly distinct they are from one another. That said they do share the important qualities of being proportionate, well made and most importantly true to their varietal.
Tasting these two Pinots was my first experience with Testarossa Winery, it certainly won’t be my last. I was impressed with each of these wines and look forward to seeing what they produce going forward.