2012 Varner "Home Block" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Chardonnay Home Block Spring Ridge Vineyard comes from the highest-elevation plot, with the vines lying between 805-840 feet above sea level. Like the other Chardonnays, it's aged all in French oak, with 25% being new. Rich and layered, with notions of lemon curd, ripe peach and citrus giving way to more honeyed minerality with air, this full-bodied, layered and decadently styled Chardonnay offers tons of fruit and texture, yet stays pure, lively and clean. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.
Apricot, peach, mint, chamomile and lightly honeyed overtones take shape as the 2012 Chardonnay Home Block shows off its considerable power and breadth. There is a real sense of phenolic weight in the Home Block, with a Pinot-like sense of richness that flows through to the expressive, resonant finish. What a gorgeous Chardonnay this is.
If you've shopped K&L over the past few years, you probably know that the wines made by Bob and Jim Varner are not only among our favorites, but we think they are among the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs made in California. Every wine comes from the Spring Ridge Vineyard, which is located just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Portola Valley. The grapes are dry-farmed and left to struggle for success without fertilizers or insecticides. The two-acre Home block is higher in elevation than the Amphitheater or Bee blocks, planted in medium depth sedimentary rock. The 32-year-old vines are on an east-facing slope. The wine undergoes full malo in 25% new French oak.