2011 Varner "Home Block" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Smoke, crushed rocks, minerals and graphite lead to tangerine, orange peel and crème brulee in the 2011 Chardonnay Home Block. Intriguing and beautifully nuanced, the 2011 stands out for its incredible complexity. Exotic, Riesling-like petrol notes linger on the close. The clay-rich soils in this parcel give the Home Block much of its breadth and voluptuous personality, but there is plenty of minerality, especially on the finish.
At K&L, we are always HUGE fans of the Varner brothers' wines. These are carefully crafted, terroir-driven Chardonnays that drink well on release and also age very well. This bottling hails from the two-acre Home Block at the Varners' Spring Ridge Vineyard, an east-facing slope planted with 31-year-old, own-rooted vines. The vines are dry-farmed and worked by hand with no insecticides. The wine is fermented on indigenous yeast and aged in 25% new, French (Nevers) oak. The cool 2011 vintage ripened grapes in a long growing season with low sugars, but fully ripe and developed flavors. This 2011 bottling has not yet been professionally reviewed, but the 2010 vintage garnered 94+ points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. Antonio Galloni wrote for Wine Advocate in August of 2011 on Varner's Chardonnays: "They are fairly large-scaled wines that at the same time retain considerable minerality and structure in a style that is distinctive of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but that stands apart from the lusher, oakier style of wine many people associate as typical of California Chardonnay... Readers should do whatever they can to taste these majestic Chardonnays."