2012 Varner "Bee 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.
Texture takes center stage in the 2012 Chardonnay Bee Block. Lemon oil, white flowers, slate and mint are some of the many notes that blossom in the glass, but it is the wine's silkiness, length and exceptional overall balance that truly elevate the Bee Block to rarified heights among California's most important Chardonnays. The Bee Block is always the most lifted, floral and citrus-driven Chardonnay in the Varner range.
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 Bee Block is the largest of the Spring Ridge blocks at 3.5 acres. It boasts the youngest vines, a massale selection from the Home Block, at 25 years, and the only ones not planted on their own roots. The sedimentary rock is deepest here.