When you hit the road and visit a good number of wineries in just a day or two palate fatigue can be an issue. In other words, some wines aren’t as good back home as you remembered them – or vice versa.

I toured Mendocino County in California for a couple of days in January with a group of wine journalists and we kept a pretty hectic pace and tasted a lot of wine.

One of the most charming stops was at Testa Vineyards. Here is a link to the blog entry I wrote that day after visiting Jeriko Vineyard, Testa, and Frey winery.

The photo above is essentially Testa’s tasting room. It’s a great old working barn where we enjoyed Testa’s Black and White wine and had a crazy good lunch. Maria, the wine maker, is in the white blouse and black vest. Her husband sits to her right while I’m seated to her left.

I brought back two bottles of her Black wine. Black is how her ancestors described their red wine. The current Black blend is 89 percent Cabernet, 8 percent Carignane, and 3 percent Petit Verdot.

I opened the wine up Thursday night, it was just as good if not better than I remembered. It’s unique in that it’s big and bold as you would expect with the Cab and Petit Verdot. Perhaps its the Carignane that gives the wine a big shot of fruit. You get a hint of vanilla on the nose from the oak but beautiful balance throughout.

It’s just beautiful wine. It sells for $20 but its nearly impossible to find outside of California. But Maria, husband, and teenage sons intend on growing the little winery started by her ancestors. I have little doubt after meeting them that one day Black could be on a shelf near you.

In the meantime, remember our consistent advice – try new things and seek out those small wine producers for some of the best juice you’ll ever drink!

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