Varner El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay 2015
The wine was fermented 100% in stainless steel then aged in a combination of new Francois Freres puncheons (26%) for 6 months and the remainder (74%) in stainless steel on the lees with no malolactic fermentation.
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Bob and Jim Varner started planted beginning in 1980, they take a non-interventionist approach to both growing and winemaking in order to express best the individual blocks. Bob farms the vineyard and makes the wine in a deliberate, careful rhythm. They look for purity, focus, balance and terroir. Indigenous yeast and malo-lactic fermentations, gravity flow, minimal sulfur dioxide and esquive racking are important parts of the process.
Bob and Jim Varner believe that the best wines come from winemakers who grow their own grapes. Therefore, in order to create the most expressive wines possible, the Varner’s use traditional cellar equipment and creatively translate centuries-old winemaking techniques and attitudes learned from well-known French family winemakers. The winery at the vineyard is entirely devoted to the production of handmade, Santa Cruz appellation Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.