Bill Brosseau is the talented winemaker at Testarossa Winery. He has a degree from the vaunted UC Davis viticulture program and he has made a string of highly rated wines. We were excited to get the chance to ask him some questions.
Bill shared his thoughts on wine and winemaking. We particularly enjoy his take on the wine rating system!
California Winery Advisor - What interests you about wine?
Bill Brosseau - It connects art, science, nature, and society like no other matter. It is enjoyable as liquid architecture. It is a metaphor for life, as it is always changing, and never capable of replication.
CWA - What can you tell us about your winemaking style?
BB - Crafting and blending wine is akin to finding the apex of the bell curve. Too many components and too little components yield a simple wine. Finding the right amount of complexity is difficult and much like managing an equalizer in the music world. I strive to put our wines in tune as well as in harmony, regardless of their innate shape or size.
CWA – What is the most important factor in making a great wine?
BB - Quality fruit.
CWA - Is there any advice you wish you got before you started making wine?
BB - Do not allow the work to consume your hobbies, past-times, family and friendship time.
CWA - Which wine law/regulation would you change if it were up to you?
BB - I believe that beer and wine are unfairly grouped with hard alcohol. I believe that beer and wine should be legal to consume at an earlier age. Age 16 until 18 under adult supervision. 18-21 can only purchase beer and wine. 21 is all alcoholic beverages. I believe this would diffuse the binge drinking at age 21 and let’s be honest, teenagers find a way to work around the rules.
CWA - Do you have any favorite wine publications/websites/social media sites you follow?
BB - Wineberserkers wine talk can be entertaining but I rarely watch (and only from afar). People are just too quick to pounce on anything.
CWA - How do you feel about the current wine rating system? Do you feel it helps consumers with their wine buying decisions?
BB - I think there are benefits to getting the public to have a discussion about scores. Unfortunately, brute force, size, extraction, intensity capture higher scores. Many winemakers live and die by the scores. I wish scores could be segregated by region (for example, a Santa Barbara Pinot Noir is judged by other regional Pinot Noirs and scored as top expressions of that region versus being scored against another region such as Russian River.
Every region has different chemistries, wine kinetics, innate attributes and unfortunately, winemakers have to chase some amorphous super-model wine, which in effect, is saying authentic is no longer worthy of high scores. I also wished there were more retrospectives on wines as many wines that score very high nowadays do not age very well. This would be educational to the public as I have been blown away by aged wines more than some of the highest scoring wines that taste like cough syrup. I wish the public would be provided better guidance on proper aging and how wines will really blow your mind if you wait a few years to consume.
CWA – How do you introduce your wine to new people? What’s the most effective way to get the word out?
BB - I try to express the same excitement that got me into the wine business. I find people are very interested in trying if you present a positive presence.
CWA - What were the last two truly memorable wines (that weren’t your own) you tasted?
BB - Comte Lafon Chardonnay Les Perriers and Blair Fox Tierra Alta Syrah
CWA – Which of your current wines are you the most excited about?
BB - Brosseau Pinot Noir
CWA - Is there a winemaker that you
modeled yourself after or just appreciate their skill?
BB - Richard Graff
CWA - Where can people taste your wine? What’s fun about a visit to your tasting room?
BB - Los Gatos and Carmel Valley tasting rooms. Great energy and vibe. Consistently high-quality wines.
CWA - Where can people buy your wine?
BB - Los Gatos and Carmel Valley tasting rooms. www.Testarossa.com
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