Tony Coturri is a 3rd generation California winemaker, a Jazz aficionado, a motorcycle enthusiast & an outspoken advocate of natural winemaking. The Coturri winery has never & will never use grapes treated with pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. The story of this dynamic winery began when Enrico Coturri immigrated to America with $10 in his pocket. Upon arriving in SF he worked as a barrel cooper & helped rebuild the city after the devastating earthquake in 1906. Enrico taught his son Harry “Red” Coturri the Italian winemaking methods that he brought with him from the village of Farneta, Italy. Red founded the Coturri winery in ’79 with his sons Tony & Phil. Tony has been making wine since ’64, he runs the winery & is in the process of teaching his son Nic the craft.

Saveur talks about new California wines, including Tony Coturri.

Certification: Certified Organic CCOF


Cabernet Sauvignon Testa: — Back to the top

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Age of Vines: 8 years old.

Yields: 550 cases produced on 6 acres, dry farmed by Rusty & Maria Testa, 4th generation.

Soil: Red clay soil.

Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Note: The 2005 Testa Cab is made from very small berries & exhibits silky skin tannins that carry its remarkable fruit. A dense, dark wine that is brooding & appealing. This wine has excellent cellaring potential & can be consumed now.

Chardonnay: — Back to the top

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Yields: 80 Cases Produced.

Varietals: Chardonnay.

Vinification Method: The wine was barrel fermented in reconditioned French oak barrels; the natural yeast of Nick’s vineyard transformed the grape juice into this beautiful full-bodied Chardonnay.

Tasting Note: This fuill-bodied Chardonnay is golden in color, and carries yeasty and fruity aromas, a finely textured middle and finishes with very food friendly acidity.

Pairing: Serve with salmon, omelets with truffles, cheese dishes and spicy gazpacho.

This Chardonnay was grown on the floor of Sonoma Valley in a vineyard owned and maintained by a great friend of the Coturri’s, Nick Grebben. The vineyard is certified organic and Nick is firmly committed to the Coturri philosophy.

Carignane Testa: — Back to the top

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Age of Vines: 8 years old.

Yields: 550 cases produced.

Soil: Red clay soil. 6 acres at 1,700 feet. Dry farmed by Testa, 4th generation growers.

Vinification Method: No SO2-no inoculation with sul?tes, yeast cultures, no use of concentrates to boost sweetness, no added water, acids, or other manipulation. A stemmer-crusher that delicately crushes the grapes. Gravity transfers the “must” goes into classic fermentation tanks which are covered w/ white sheets. Caps are pushed periodically by hand. The 1 ton straight-sided redwood tanks ferment 7-10 days. Two fermentation tanks of “must” are bucketed out into a basket press & the new wine runs freely to the barrel. The remaining “must” is then lightly pressed out, producing ~150 gal. of wine. The “pomace” is used as compost. The wines age in reconditioned 60 gal. French Oak for 12-24 mths. During this time, the wines are racketed. Hand bottling, corking & labeling. No ?ning or ?ltering.

Tasting Note: The 2005 Cab is made from small berries & exhibits silky tannins that carry its remarkable fruit. A dense, dark wine that is brooding & appealing.

Pairing: This is a classic Cabernet of yesteryear, that wants to be paired with an aged steak, grilled eggplant brushed with olive oil, or a decadent chocolate dessert.

Lost Creek Pinot Noir: — Back to the top

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Yields: 511 cases produced.

Soil: Heavy clay, low in Calcium & high in magnesium.

Varietals: 100% young vines Pinot Noir. Martini & Dijon Clones.

Tasting Note: Light ruby in the glass with a very full-bodied palate. It has the classic structure of Pinot, the proverbial “iron fist in the velvet glove.” Mushroom & barnyard aromatics on the nose. While bright Bing Cherry dominates the palate. The wine finishes with vibrant fruit & zesty acidity.

Pairing: White meats in creamy sauces, veal chops, light pasta dishes & grilled shelfish.

Petit Sirah: — Back to the top

Age of Vines: The vines were planted in 2001.

Pruning Method: Head pruning, no trellis, no irrigation

Soil: Testa Ranch in Capella Mendocino

Varietals: 100% Petit Sirah

Vinification Method: Open top redwood fermentors, caps pushed down by hang 3 to 4 times a day.

Tasting Note: The dry farmed 2008 Petit Sirah is grown on the Testa Ranch in Capella Mendocino. The vines were planted in 2001. While being young vines they have adapted quite well to the soil and climate conditions and show tremendous terrior and balance. The vineyard drains well both rain water and also air. 2008 was the year of terrible fires in Mendocino and there is no influence in this wine from the smoke. Mainly because the air moves so well through the Petit Sirah. An interesting note about Petit Sirah in general. We all love Zinfandel and the story that it’s California’s own grape. Where ever Zin came from it has adapted quite well to our soils and climates to become in a sense a native variety. Petit Sirah is the same. The origin of the grape is some what unknown. It too has adapted quite will to California and is unique to here. There isn’t any international Zinfandel tasting as well as there isn’t any for Petit either. The Testa Vineyards are certified organic and were established in 1906.

Pairing: The dark fruit and balanced tannin make this a perfect companion for grilled duck in a cherry sauce, roasted pork, or dark chocolate.

Sandocino: NV — Back to the top

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Yields: 800 cases produced.

Varietals: 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Zinfandel .

Tasting Note: Is a non-vintage blend of 32% 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County, 32% 2006 Syrah Napa Valley, 32% 2006 Merlot Sonoma Valley & 4% 2004 Zinfandel Sonoma Valley. It’s harmonious blend of varietals & vintages that result in a wine that drinks well by its self & with food. The wine has a good acidity that could allow further aging.

Zinfandel Estate: — Back to the top

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Age of Vines: 31 years old.

Yields: 150 Cases produced.

Pruning Method:

Soil: Dry farmed red clay & volcanic soils. 750 feet above sea level.

Varietals: Zinfandel—Martini Monte Rosso, Zinfandel Clones- St. George rootstock.

Tasting Note: Blue black in the glass with loads of ripe plum, black cherry juice, sweet herbs, brambles, & a note of strawberry jam. The palate is a concentrated & delectable expression of ripe California fruit with loads of ripe red & black berry on the attack. The mid-palate carries more ripe cherry flavors followed by a note of bramble that lingers on the zesty ?nish. This is an elegant & powerful red.

Pairing: Leg of lamb, roast duck, venison stew, roast pork, & soft veined cheeses.

Young Carignan: — Back to the topCoturri_Young_Carignan

The Young Carignan is a special, nouveau style wine Tony made, and we think his words describe it best:

The grapes for the Young Carignan were grown in an certified organic vineyard east of Hopland in Mendocino County. The vines are dry farmed from the planting. The initial root stock was never irrigated. This is a monumental endeavor. The ground can’t be too wet or the root stock will rot or too dry then they’ll wither. The knowledge to do this is very rare. Also the grape-growers did their own field budding. As old school as you can get. No bench grafts! The soils are full of clay at this vineyard. All the vines are head pruned. The vineyards are laid out in diamonds rather than squares so the area around the vines can be disced three ways thereby eliminating hoeing around the vines. The working weeds in the vine row is one of the most expensive operations in the vineyards. Hence the reliance of conventional growers on the despicable Round up.

While the continuing drought of 2015 was very scary and damaging, the fruit from the dry conditions was phenomenal. The fruit was picked ripe but at lower sugars. The Carignan in this wine came in at 23.5 Brix, fully ripe in both sugar and acidity. I have not make a Nouveau style wine the 36 years we have been in business. Nor the 20 odd years making wine before being bonded. The conditions were never right. I truly see this vintage as a gift from God. 

The 2015 Young Carignan was bottled 3 months after it fermented. It’s a blend of 91% Carignane, 5% Syrah and 4% Zinfandel. Fruity, purple and very drinkable this wine has been a hit for us. We choose clear bottles and not putting a capsule on the neck to tell the consumer drink me now don’t forget me in the cellar.

Kaye Syrah: — Back to the toppublicViewAttachment

The Kaye Syrah was a special one-time winemaking project between ours and Tony’s friend Andy Besch. Andy was visiting Tony when a parcel of Syrah grapes became available and Andy jumped on the opportunity to make his first wine. The results are spectacular, and we hope Andy will continue to follow this passion!

Varietals: Syrah

Vinification Method: Grapes were manually harvested and destemmed, and fermented in used barrels. The wine aged in barrel for about 9 months during which time gentle manual punchdowns were performed. The wine was bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero addition of sulfur.