Varner Home Block Chardonnay 2005
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.
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
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.