News & Reviews

Connoisseurs' Guide Reports Great Scores for Our 2012 Vintage

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine awarded 8 of our 2012 Chardonnays and 6 of our 2012 Pinot Noir's scores ranging from 90-95. 

Our 2012 Dos Rubios Vineyard Chardonnay netted 95 points and was said to, “hit[s] all the right marks from its deep, beautifully focused fruit to its layered richness, but its striking sense of balance and composure is what propels it to the top.” 

Our much-heralded Diana’s Chardonnay consistently brings in high scores and the 2012 is no exception brining in 94 points.  “One of the leading stars of the team. It is full-bodied and yet always light on its feet with a striking sense of vitality, balance and length, and, like the best of its breed, it is a Chardonnay that will continue to evolve and become more expressive with age.”

Our top rated Pinot Noir, the 2012 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir, pulled in a score of 94 points. "It is still a touch tight, yet its deep, very well-extracted flavors are keenly focused and show outstanding length, and it teases here and there with hints of real polish to come."

95 Points          2012 Dos Rubios Vineyard Chardonnay
94 Points          2012 Diana's Chardonnay
94 Points          2012 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir
93 Points          2012 Soberanes Vineyard Chardonnay
92 Points          2012 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay
92 Points          2012 Dos Rubios Vineyard Pinot Noir
91 Points          2012 Niclaire California Pinot Noir
91 Points          2012 Fogstone Vineyard Chardonnay
91 Points          2012 Doctor's Vineyard Pinot Noir
91 Points          2012 Graham Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
90 Points          2012 La Rinconada Vineyard Chardonnay
90 Points          2012 Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay
90 Points          2012 Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay
90 Points          2012 Sierra Madre Vineyard Pinot Noir

Full Reviews

95 Points          2012 Dos Rubios Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands. Picking a favorite from Testarossa's roster of collectively stunning 2012 Chardonnays is a close-to-impossible task, but this outstanding wine wins a place at the very head of the class. It hits all the right marks from its deep, beautifully focused fruit to its layered richness, but its striking sense of balance and composure is what propels it to the top. It has the uncommon virtue of being wholly delicious right now and yet promising so much more if allowed to rest for a few years, so whether it is poured early on or stashed away, it is a wine sure to dazzle now and for years to come.

94 Points          2012 Diana's Chardonnay
California. Do not be misled by its simple "California" designation here. This best-barrel selection is one of the leading stars of the team. It is rich and wonderfully layered and it seamlessly marries its creamy oak and very deep, keenly defined fruit and is replete with complex touches of minerals, freshly baked bread and notes of pie-crust sweetness.  It is full-bodied and yet always light on its feet with a striking sense of vitality, balance and length, and, like the best of its breed, it is a Chardonnay that will continue to evolve and become more impressive with age.

94 Points          2012 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands. A bit less outgoing and emphatic in ripeness than this district’s Pinots are wont to be, Testarossa’s version from Garys’ Vineyard exhibits plenty of solidity, very fine fruity depth and the kind of structure that speaks to excellent potential. It is still a touch tight, yet its deep, very well-extracted flavors are keenly focused and show outstanding length, and it teases here and there with hints of real polish to come. Please do not be in a hurry here, because this one will have so much more to say if its many temptations can be resisted for another three to five years.

93 Points          2012 Soberanes Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands.  Fairly intense and generously fruited with a fine sense of volume right from the first, this deep and very complete Chardonnay matches ripe apples with accents of sweet hardwoods and wild flowers and is as invitingly juicy as it is impeccably balanced.  There are temptations aplenty for hasty drinking, not the least of which are its richness and downright delicious fruit, but its abiding vitality is the mark of a wine sure to pay real dividends if allowed to rest for a while in cellar, and we encourage even a brief wait.

92 Points          2012 Bien Nacido Vinyard Chardonnay
Santa Maria Valley. Long on juicy, young fruit with a very fine interplay of apples and mildly sweet oak, this energetic young wine manages to be accessible and vital at one and the same time with plenty of fruity stamina and great length. Although it shows quite well now, and we cannot argue against pouring it soon, it has the kind of balance, depth and sense of reserve to convince us that a few years of keeping will make a very good thing better.

92 Points          2012 Dos Rubios Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands. Back in our May issue, Testarossa’s Dos Rubios Chardonnay earned very high recommendation, and the same combination of vintner and vineyard has made for an outstanding Pinot Noir as well. Leading with a deep and well-defined nose of very pure, ripe-cherry fruit gracefully enriched with handsome oak spice and a wisp of dusty soil, this precise and carefully crafted wine follows with nicely filled, somewhat succulent flavors that are as balanced as they are wonderfully rich. Its impressions of polish are sure to invite early drinking, but it has all of the right pieces in place to develop for a half-decade or more.

91 Points          2012 Niclaire Pinot Noir
California. “Niclaire” is the name of Testarossa’s limited best-barrel selection, and the role of pretty oak is plain to see here, but, while layered and relatively complex right now, this wine wants time for all of its pieces to fully knit. It owes much to oak, but it has plenty of fruity reserve, and it is both fleshy and firm with the structure, the substance and the fine balance to make us believe that it will expand and compound in interest in each of the next half-dozen or so years.

91 Points          2012 Fogstone Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands. Very solidly built and exceptionally well-balanced and long on precise, youthfully taut, Chardonnay fruit, this one teases with suggestions of fresh apples, sweet lemons and trim, hardwood-like spice yet is still somewhat nascent and not near to showing all that it has. It is a wine that not only can take some age, but it is one that demands a year or two before fully hitting its stride, and we would not be surprised, if on the strength of its structure, it continued to grow and improve for another half-decade or more.

91 Points          2012 Doctor's Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands. There is plenty of solid varietal fruit at its heart, but this well-structured effort is not especially outgoing at the moment, and its aromas of strawberries, black cherries and sweet oak take a moment to unfold. Its nicely proportioned flavors are of a similar mind both in character and in their slight initial reluctance, and, if ever so slightly firmed up by tannin, the wine is long and impeccably balanced with the promise of real grace to come.

91 Points          2012 Graham Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley. Showing a bit more of the refinement and brightness that its more northerly provenance predicts, this nicely filled and well-focused Pinot takes a bit of time to get up to speed. Its youth is obvious, and it is quite firm in balance with a palpable bit of tannin apparent in the latter going, yet it hints at signs of suppleness to come, and its confident fruit lasts and lasts. All that stands between it and real charm are a few years of patient rest in the cellar.

90 Points          2012 La Rinconada Vineyard Chardonnay
Sta. Rita Hills. As a group, the 2012 collection from Testarossa impresses on a good many levels, not the least of which is the wines' very distinct and individual voices. This one from the Sta. Rita Hills is among the tighter, more structured of the clan, but its sense of restraint should not be mistaken for a lack of fruity substance, and it evolves very well on the palate. Bright, slightly stony and keyed on a mix of green apple and citrus, it takes on a nice note of richness from its judiciously placed oak and hangs on and on at the finish. Its high recommendation comes with the proviso that it is cellared, and we would urge at least two or three years of patience.

90 Points          2012 Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Lucia Highlands. Sweet and well-ripened with a slightly tropical bent to its effusive ripe-apple fruit and a fair degree of creamy oak in support, this deep, multi-faceted effort wins high marks for its ample richness and its sheer fruity drive. If so lively, well-balanced and irresistibly juicy that it is thoroughly enjoyable right now, it teases with glimpses of layering that bode well for the future and strikes us as being a sure bet to improve if a bit of patience prevails.

90 Points          2012 Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay
Santa Maria Valley. Joining those in the new Testarossa lot of Chardonnays that are a bit tighter in structure, this one shows a good measure of vigorous, fairly compact, lemon-tinged fruit fit with a keen streak of rich oak and is very much buoyed by its youth. It strains just a bit against hard-to-ignore acidity on the back palate, yet it never wants for substance or fruity depth, and, if in clear need of a few years' aging in which to relax, it has all the right pieces in place to ensure increased reach and range over the next few years.

90 Points          2012 Sierra Madre Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley. If on the one hand showing a nice sense of refinement and slightly lighter hand overall, this well-measured wine wants for nothing in the way richness and ripe fruit. It fixes on cherry-like fruit right from the start with accents of charred oak running its length, and it is sufficiently open to please now, even if its slight back-end tightness suggests that it should have more to show later on.