2013 Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Home Block Santa Cruz Mountains California
WU members know I am a HUGE fan of the Varner brothers and believe they make some of th best Chardonnay in the country. This is not about butter but about letting the wine speak and carefully handling it. Yes, they use oak but not gratuitously.
96 points Antonio Galloni
A big, powerful wine, the 2013 Chardonnay Home Block hits the palate with serious depth. The flavors are bright and focused throughout, but it is the wine's phenolic intensity that really stands out today. Orchard fruit, white flowers, pepper and mint all lend an element of freshness to the vivacious, structured finish. This is a superb showing from the Varner brothers. The 2013 can be enjoyed now but it also has enough energy and structure to drink well for a number of years. Bob and Jim Varner have turned out another magnificent set of wines at Varner and Neely. Vintage 2013 appears to have favored the Chardonnays - which are truly superb - over the Pinots. The Varners describe 2013 as a year with vine stress because of the drought, but add that there were no heat spikes or other weather shocks. As always, the Varner Chardonnays are built on breadth, power and a sense of phenolic intensity that is one of the signatures of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Chardonnays see only about eight months in barrel and are bottled in July, but then not released for almost another year.