One of seven wines we tasted from this renowned vineyard, and one of six from veteran Chard-meister Jed Steele. This one’s a beauty—the top scoring wine from both the winemaker and the site. A floral, orange, vanilla custard and almost mustardy-spice nose opens to a full orange, mineral and vanilla-spice palate. It’s rich and creamy yet spicy, and even shows some…
A amazing wine from this new Santa Barbara appellation. Shows fully ripened blackberry and cherry compote combined with grilled meat, crushed herbs and a hint of tomato. The tannins are as soft as a feather’s touch. With delicacy of body matched with full-impact fruit, this wine is a winner. Editors’ Choice. —S.H.
The former TV star gets Viognier exactly right. Bursting with powerful citrus, peach, lees, oak, chocolate and buttercup aromas. Pretty and rich on the palate, with complex fruit and spice. Very dry and steely, an impeccable wine. This is what Viognier should be and too often is not.
Testarossa’s basic Chard is more sumptuous than many other wineries’ best. It’s notably oaky, in the house style, with explosive smoke, toast, vanilla and char notes. The fruit was allowed to hang for a long time, and developed intensely ripe flavors of tropical fruits. It’s a bit flat, especially considering the sweetness, but delicious.
The winemaker did not let the grapes hang long and get superripe. He picked when the citrusy, appley notes were just beginning to veer into white peach, and so preserved intense acidity. Lees is notable, oak less so, but both are seamless. The result is interesting and balanced—you might even call it Chablisian.
Dark, dry and rich, this Syrah is tough and astringent now, but it may develop in time. The thick tannins, supporting acidity, and heart of cherry liqueur, blackberry jam, chocolate and sweetly smoked leather strongly suggests aging. Hold until 2008.
This big-bodied wine is full of smoke, toast and custard in the nose, sure signs of barrel fermentation or aging. The mouth is packed with thick, custardy citrus fruit, which renders it a bit like orange-tinged flan. Fortunately, it retains its acids, which keeps it well balanced despite the heavy oaking it went through.