This wine is made from a specific Chardonnay clone called "Old Wente," which is known for low yields of small clusters with intense, complex fruit flavors. These grapes, from a select block in the Sangiacomo family's Vella Ranch and Green Acres-Hill vineyards in Carneros, have delivered on the promise. The Test Chardonnay's rich nose reveals lemon balm, tarragon, vanilla and butterscotch with wafts of green figs and honeysuckle. There's more lemon on the palate with orange zest, guava, pineapple and caramel. The Test is intricately layered with a long, long aftertaste, and its bracing acidity is characteristic of white Burgundy from Chablis in France. The richness, however, is decidedly Californian, and the wine brings together the best of both worlds.
Heather, tarragon, vanilla, green figs, fresh orange, honeysuckle, brioche, guava and cloves.
After 25 years of making wine in both Sonoma and Napa for distinguished wineries like Stonestreet and Merryvale, Stephen Test decided to go out on his own. With the help of his wife of thirty years, he now makes small quantities of handcrafted wine from outstanding sites in Sonoma like the Sangiacomo family's vineyards. He looks to traditional, old-world wines for techniques and inspiration, and works throughout the year with his grape growers to get the fruit fully ripe. The combination of ripe grapes and traditional techniques makes possible the round, rich texture and the complexity and depth of flavor in his wines. He says every wine has to be true to the greatest tradition of its type in the world. Then, at every step, he crafts the wine so that it tastes good to him and hopefully to an appreciative audience.
This wonderful Stephen Test wine calls out for something from the sea. You should try my preparation for Famous Roast Garlic Crab. The unctuous crab will work fantastically with this California Chardonnay's citrus, which is full and present in both the aromatics and on the palate. Alternatively, make a simple roast sea bass or halibut with lemon and fennel.
Under Stephen Test, the Stonestreet and Merryvale wineries were both recognized as Wineries of the Year multiple times by Wine and Spirits magazine. The next test will be to take Test wines to the same heights...we expect he will pass with flying colors.
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