2009 Varner "Amphitheater Block" Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay

SKU #1072172

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Chardonnay Amphitheater Block emerges from the glass with layers of fruit. It shows gorgeous up-front richness, then finds its center of minerality on the mid-palate. It is a large-scaled, beautifully balanced wine loaded with personality. Smoke, minerals and citrus linger on the multi-dimensional, saline finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." (08/11) The Varner "Amphitheater Block" is the third bottling in the Varner brothers wonderful line-up of Chardonnays from their Spring Ridge Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The fruit here comes from a 2-acre, south-facing block of ungrafted 29-year-old vines planted in sedimentary rock. The vineyard is dry-farmed, hand-hoed and the Varners use no insecticides. Aged in 30% new French oak and allowed to undergo complete malolactic fermentation, the wine balances California style with Santa Cruz Mountains freshness. Mineral-driven with orange blossom and citrus aromas and flavors.

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Price: $43.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/21/2011 | Send Email
If you receive our emails and/or newsletter and you haven’t yet heard of the wines from Varner, you really have not been paying attention. We’ve championed their numerous brands (Varner, Spring Ridge, Neely and Foxglove) for years and have made many a friend with their wines along the way. Over the past few years even Robert Parker himself has gotten on the bandwagon, giving the Varner wines consistently high scores. Don't miss out on the release of the 2009 single block Chardonnays, they won’t last long. The 2009 Amphitheater Block is the most Chablis-like of the three this year, with lovely earthen streaks over the top of a wealth of flavors like marzipan, apple skin, nutmeg and brown butter. Building flesh and weight as it goes, this is one for a myriad of seafood or a simple roast chicken.

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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.8