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LOS GATOS, Calif., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- "Yields normal to a bit above; quality very high" was the verdict at Testarossa Winery, following this year's wine grape harvest. Testarossa specializes in small lot, vineyard-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of California's best-known winegrowers. After twelve vintages at the winery, winemaker Bill Brosseau is well qualified to discuss the "state of the crush" in the fifteen vineyards and five separate appellations (Santa Lucia Highlands, Sta. Rita Hills, Russian River, Arroyo Grande Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Chalone) that the winery partners with.Bill Brosseau Winemaker at Testarossa PicmonkeyBill Brosseau

Bill comments, "Following the challenges of the 2011 growing season, many of us in the industry were overly prepared for weather events that might catch us off-guard, as they did last year. The forecast for a wet winter and wet spring never materialized. Spring frosts, late summer heat waves, or fall rains were pretty much non-existent. The 'weather pinball machine' was off this year and we had spectacular conditions throughout the coastal appellations. The weather stayed relatively consistent through September and October. We were able to pick, process, ferment, and barrel-down with a smooth cadence, which tends to lend itself to very high quality wines."

A case in point would be the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, whose vineyards supply about 80% of the grapes for Testarossa's vintages. The Los Gatos winery was one of the early "adopters" of the SLH; their first vintage from the AVA was in 1997. Testarossa has long-term partnerships with twelve vineyards in the appellation and produces single-vineyard releases from the Fogstone, Rosella's, Garys', Lone Oak, Doctor's, Dos Rubios, and Pisoni estates.

Bill Brosseau continues, "We started the harvest in the Highlands in southern end at Pisoni, where the farming and attention to detail is second to none. By the time we got to the heart of the SLH appellation and the cooler, northern end, we had honed in picking parameters. Overall, we found ourselves picking on the later side of other labels working with the same vineyards. With the extended hang-time, we did see the potential acidity balance to near perfect levels. As an added bonus, we saw an increase in silky tannins, resulting in a fuller mouthfeel for our Pinot Noir.  For our Chardonnays, we pressed to lower yields per ton to minimize phenolic extraction of tannins, thus allowing the natural acidity to be more apparent in the palate structure.

Dos Rubios Vnyd PicmonkeyDos Rubios Vineyard in picturesque Santa Lucia Highlands"We were also very pleased with the third vintage fruit coming off our new Dos Rubios Vineyard project in the Highlands. Here we have complete "dirt to bottle" quality control as we personally oversee every aspect of this estate's winegrowing operations. Overall, 2012 may prove to be the greatest vintage ever from the Santa Lucia Highlands. And the young wines from our other ranches and appellations are looking equally promising."

About Testarossa…

Testarossa (Italian for "red head") was the nickname given Rob Jensen as a young university student in Italy. Rob and Diana Jensen left their high-tech careers and started their brand in their garage in 1993 with just twenty-five cases of wine. Today, the winery works closely with top winegrowers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Rita Hills, Arroyo Grande Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Russian River Valley, and Chalone appellations. The label has grown to national prominence among collectors and reviewers by cultivating long-term partnerships with passionate winegrowers and vineyards such as Garys', Pisoni, Rosella's, Bien Nacido, and Rincon.

The Jensens' winery occupies of site of the old Novitiate Winery in downtown Los Gatos. The tasting room is open daily, as is “107,” their patio wine bar.


Editor's note: Visiting the Los Gatos area or planning a trip south to the Santa Lucia Highlands? You'll find links to the website of hundreds of Lodging and Dining opportunities in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.


Master-Vinters Lake County PicmonkeyL-R: Pablo Zellman, Jaime Rosas, Amador Villalobos, Federico Gonzalez, Tacho Corona,  Gabriel Martinez, Gerardo Mendoza, Antonio Batres, Felix Aguilar, Alonso Raygoza, Geronimo Rico, Randy Krag                                                    Photo By: Casey Carney


by Susan Stout


Ten individuals representing Lake County’s professional vineyard work force received accolades when the Lake County Winegrape Commission presented its first graduating class of the Commission’s Master Vigneron Academy. The graduation and celebration took place in the Lakeport Yacht Club in November..

The 2012 graduates of the yearlong course are Felix Aguilar and Gabriel Martinez of Bella Vista Farming; Antonio Batres and Alonso Raygoza, Beckstoffer-Red Hills; Tarcisio Corona, Stokes Vineyards; Federico Gonzalez, L & L Vineyards; Gerardo Mendoza, Red Hills Vineyard; Jeronimo Rico, Dorn Vineyards; Jaime Rosas, Lyon Vineyards; and Amador Villalobos, Nissen Vineyard Services.

“You guys are tops,” said Randy Krag to the group of vineyard foremen and supervisors. Offering congratulations to the class, Krag said the men had each earned the title of “Master Vigneron” by completing the course and pursuing a career path.

In a video presented prior to the introduction of the graduates, Krag said, “It’s the people who make our business work.” While praising the class’ work over the past year, he reiterated the comment to the approximately 50 people attending the graduation.

“People are the strength of what we do. (Lake County) is in good shape if our industry is in such capable hands,” Krag said. Krag, research/education chair for the Lake County Winegrape Commission, has been credited with the concept of the Master Vigneron program.

He explained Thursday that he proposed a program to help develop the professional workforce of vineyard managers. The experience workers and managers involved in the industry are at the core of the program goals, he said.

Krag and Paul Zellman, director of the Master Vigneron Program, presented each of the graduates with certificates of completion in English and Spanish and a hat sporting the “MV” logo on its band.

Zellman coordinated the monthly meetings of the Master Vigneron Academy and led the group on its visits to wineries and vineyards in Lake County and outlying counties.

Commission Chair Peter Molnar acknowledged the group, noting that the first year of any type of program is usually the hardest but that from what he observed “there is every indication that it was successful.”

Molnar said the Master Vigneron Program is “very important” to the commission and he thanked Krag for the idea.

The program contributes to professional development and recognition of the workforce leaders while allowing the individuals to stay in Lake County, have their families with them and build their careers, Molnar said.

The graduates were congratulated by Molnar and commission President Shannon Gunier who called the completion of the yearlong program “an amazing accomplishment,” Gunier said the individuals' recognition was well-deserved.

Honorees, their families and guests of the commission enjoyed lunch and dessert prepared by Chic Le Chef. A selection of Lake County wines was served at lunch.


Sexy outdoor cafes in Southern California, ultra-fresh ingredients in Northern California, just-caught seafood along the coast—virtually every corner of the state has extraordinary restaurants, bistros, and cafes. You can sample California’s incredible variety of dining experiences year-round, but in January, there is even more reason to try them out. Welcome to California Restaurant Month, a month-long statewide celebration of special offerings and events. Treat yourself to that urban hotspot you’ve always wanted to try, or plan a quick getaway (and a great meal) in gorgeous wine country, along the dramatic coast, or at a cozy mountain retreat. Look for special deals on a host of experiences, including:

• celebrity chef dinners• wine-pairing specials• gourmet prix-fixe events

  Northern California

Berkeley - Berkeley Restaurant WeekRumbo night 8486 PicmonkeyOakland's Rumbo al Sur has January specialsJan 13 - 20, 2013

El Dorado County - El Dorado EpicureanJan 20 - 27, 2013

Marin County - Marin County Restaurant Month Jan 1 - 31, 2013

Napa Valley - Napa Valley Restaurant MonthJan 1 - 31, 2013

Oakland - Oakland Restaurant WeekJan 18 - 27, 2013

Redding - Redding Dining DaysJan 13 - 26, 2013

Sacramento - Dine Downtown Restaurant WeekJan 9 - 18, 2013

San Francisco - Dine About TownJan 15 - 31, 2013

San Mateo County / Silicon Valley - Share the BountyJan 15 - 31, 2013

Shasta Cascade - Shasta Cascade Restaurant MonthJan 1 - 31, 2013

Tri-Valley - Eat Tri-ValleyJan 1 - Feb 3, 2013

Vacaville - Vacaville Restaurant WeekJan 18 - 27, 2013

 Sardine Factory Wine Cellar PicmonkeyMonterey's famed Sardine Factory will also have Janaury specials. Central California

Manteca - Manteca Restaurant Week Jan 14 - 20, 2013

Monterey County - Monterey County Culinary MonthJan 1 - 31, 2013

San Luis Obispo County - San Luis Obispo County Restaurant MonthJan 1 - 31, 2013

Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara Film FeastJan 24 - Feb 3, 2013

Santa Ynez Valley - Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week Jan 20-26, 2013

Tuolumne County - Tuolumne County Restaurant WeekJan 20 - 26, 2013

  Southern California

Beverly Hills - Around the World in Beverly HillsJan 7 - 13, 2013

Costa Mesa - California Restaurant MonthJan 1 - 31, 2013

Irvine - Irvine Restaurant WeekRite Spot in Pasadena PicmonkeyThe Rite Spot in west Pasadena circa 1924. It was here that Lionel Sturnberger was the first man to put cheese atop a burger. In his honor, the city of Pasadena now celebrates Cheeseburger Week each January.Jan 11 - 17, 2013

Downtown Long Beach - Downtown Long Beach Cheese WeekJan 21 - 27, 2013

Los Angeles - dineLA Restaurant Week Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2013

Moorpark - Moorpark Restaurant WeekJan 21 - 27, 2013

Newport Beach - Newport Beach Restaurant WeekJan 18 - 27, 2013

Oxnard - Oxnard International Restaurant WeekJan 21 - 31, 2013

Pasadena - Cheeseburger WeekJan 13 - 18, 2013

San Diego - San Diego Restaurant WeekJan 13 - 18, 2013

Santa Maria Valley - Dine Out Santa Maria StyleJan 13 - 20, 2013

Santa Monica - Santa Monica Eat Well WeekJan 6 - 12, 2013

Simi Valley - Simi Valley Restaurant WeekJan 28 - Feb 3, 2013

Temecula Valley - Temecula Valley Restaurant MonthJanuary 1-31, 2013


Editor's note: To find out more about restaurants participating in these special January programs you can contact the visitors bureaus in specific areas or try www.visitcalifornia.com/restaurantmonth.

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