2010 Varner "Home Block" Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay

SKU #1109407 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 94+ points. Varner’s 2010 Chardonnay Home Block is considerably fresher than the Amphitheater. Lemon, white peaches, ash and crushed rocks are all layered into this energetic, vibrant Chardonnay. This too, is a large-scaled wine, but the Home Block seems to have handled the challenges of the year a bit more gracefully than the Amphitheater. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. Brothers Jim and Bob Varner describe 2010 as a cold year with two heat spikes that were shorter and less dramatic than in other parts of California. It was a long growing season, and the fruit came in 2-3 weeks later than normal. As always, the Varner and Neely wines were fermented in barrel, with native yeasts, natural fermentation and minimal handling. These broad-shouldered Chardonnays and deep, resonant Pinots remain some of the most compelling wines being made in California.  (8/2012)

K&L Notes

San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Wines of 2012: "The Varner brothers' 30-year-old, own-rooted block near Portola Valley found a tension-filled side in 2010, with mineral crunch and a savory side: wheat berry, chervil, lemon confit and Anjou pear. Cellar it for best effect." At K&L, we are always HUGE fans of the Varner brothers' wines, especially from this, their flagship label. These are carefully crafted, terroir-driven wines that drink well on release and age well too. This comes from the two-acre Home Block at the Varners' Spring Ridge Vineyard, an east-facing slope planted with 30-year-old, own-rooted vines. K&L Domestic buyer Bryan Brick describes the 2010 has having a pretty, tropical citrus nose, with almond paste, peach pit and rosewater scents. The most feminine of the three wines, it has a bright, minerraly entry, then unfolding tangerine fruit, crushed stone laced with oak, and a soft, earthy finish that lingers. A very nice wine that's sure to sell out. Act fast.

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Price: $41.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/24/2012 | Send Email
If you receive our e-mails and/or newsletter and you haven’t yet heard of the wines from Varner you probably 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. I stand by my assessment that they may be the best Chardonnay producer in California over the last 5 years, heck, even Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has gotten on the bandwagon giving the Varner wines consistently high scores over that same amount of time. Don’t miss out on the release of these 2010 single block Chardonnays, they won’t last long. The 2010 Home Block bottling is certainly the most delicate and feminine of the three Chardonnays of this release. The nose is completely understated yet totally alluring with tropical citrus, marzipan, rose water and peach pit qualities. Driven by its minerality, this is packed with crushed stone, tangerine, subtle hints of oak and a lasting, persistent earthen finish. I can see Burgundy lovers going bonkers over this.

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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 (%): 13.6