2015 Varner "El Camino Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

SKU #1344206 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2015 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard from the Varner brothers is lovely, wafting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of honeycomb, ripe peaches and fresh apricot. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, pure and textural - displaying a touch more mid-palate ripeness than the 2014 rendition - and concludes with a long, saline finish. This is a characterful Chardonnay that represents terrific value. (WK)  (4/2018)

92 points Vinous

 The 2015 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard is striking. Lemon confit, orange peel and tropically leaning flavors make a strong opening statement. Broad and ample on the palate, with plenty of supporting acids, the El Camino is a wonderfully complete wine, not to mention a terrific value. Drink it over the next handful of years. (AG)  (9/2017)

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Price: $19.95
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By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/5/2019 | Send Email
The nose is subtle, it doesn't burst out of the glass with wood or fruit aromatics but I find just beneath the surface a more savory bent. On the palate the wine shows a sinewy richness, not just a burst of flesh but a wine whose muscle and power are contained inside. The flavors show more earth than fruit and the faintest hint of barrel but the real show here is the finish. Long, balance and showing of that sinewy richness this wine out performs the category at this price point. It shows more of an old world lean to it than a bold California flavor.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/28/2019 | Send Email
A delicious and very intriguing wine with a complex interplay of richness and minerality. To use a Burgundian lens, this wine talks to me like Corton-Charlemagne because of it's broader palate presence and density. The wine is quite rich and weighty on the palate with a soft mouthfeel. Flavors are ripe stone fruit, peach pit, brioche, almond paste and some honeycomb nuances. The wine has just started to take on some lovely nutty, bottle age character adding to the complexity. But it's not over yet...the finish of the wine brings saline minerals, flinty elements and fine crystalline acidity to beautifully balance the wines more forward components. There's so much going on here for such an inexpensive wine...especially at this special feature price!
Top Value!

Additional Information:



- 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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.8