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 Vintage2009 Label 1 of 13 
ProducerVarner (web)
VineyardSpring Ridge Vineyard Bee Block
SubRegionSan Francisco Bay
AppellationSanta Cruz Mountains

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2013 and 2019 (based on 6 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Bee Block on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 90.5 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 53 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by Chainthroer on 5/20/2015 & rated 93 points: See my notes of 11/15/14 and 10/14/14. Sorry to say, my last bottle of this vintage. (390 views)
 Tasted by LARich on 5/4/2015 & rated 91 points: A veritable fruit stand of flavor hits you right away, from pear to pineapple. Mild acid and a bit nutty which shows so much promise but the alcohol dries it all out ending in a whimper. So much more potential but not quite all there. (336 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 2/6/2015 & rated 93 points: The sixth time I've had the pleasure of tasting this wine. See my notes of 11/15/14 and 10/14/14. Paired with Atlantic salmon - a good pairing, but I like the wine better by itself. (579 views)
 Tasted by thelostverse on 11/27/2014 & rated 94 points: Still improving. Lovely honeyed peach with a long finish. No hurry here. (750 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 11/15/2014 & rated 93 points: More of a golden color this time. Creme brulee, poached pear, honey, minerals, not overly toasty oak. Rich, full bodied and intense fruit. Great balance. A long, long finish. (761 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 10/14/2014 & rated 93 points: Aromas and flavors of poached pear, pineapple, butter, brioche, baking spice and lightly toasted oak. Exceptional balance at this stage. Nice acid and structure. A long and extended finish. A little bette rthan my last two tastings. (708 views)
 Tasted by thelostverse on 7/4/2014 & rated 93 points: Opened watching fireworks with Matt and Lynne. Consistent notes as previous bottle. Drinking very well, even from a styrofoam cup. (1117 views)
 Tasted by William Kelley on 5/8/2014: The 2009 Bee Block is tight-knit, but unwinds to offer up notions of ripe melon, honey, buttered popcorn and grapefruit. On the palate, this is more tropical than the corresponding Amphitheater Block, with a rich texture and a lingering mineral finish. At present, the wine seems relatively closed. (1248 views)
 Tasted by Burgundy Al on 5/3/2014: Wine with Steak and Morels (Chez Kailin - Northbrook IL): Served blind. Fairly easy to identify as New World, with lots of fat, ultra ripe fruit, not exactly my style of wine, clearly forward, lush and top heavy, but lacking energy. It was easy to identify other tasters who would like this inelegant style of Chardonnay. (1181 views)
 Tasted by Ben Christiansen on 1/28/2014: Hedonistic for sure but also just rounding the corner into maturity. And delicious too. Wish I had more. And the obvious conclusion is sit on them for several years until they are ready. Great stuff here. (1386 views)
 Tasted by KenPlace on 12/27/2013 & rated 88 points: Quite oaky. Good color, nose, but most fruit is overwhelmed by the oak. A good bottle of wine, but not my style (1137 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 11/26/2013 & rated 92 points: It now has a golding-yellow color. The wine seems more open than in prior tastings. I decanted the wine and waited for it to get to warm up to about 65 degrees from the cellar temperature. Aromas and flavors of creme brulee, baked apple, poached pear, honey, minerals and vanillin oak. Graceful and somewhat creamy in the mouth. Rich and intense fruit. Excellent acid and structure. A long and extended finish that has some oak on it. A nice pairing with Paiche fish. (977 views)
 Tasted by bjschmitt on 10/20/2013 & rated 88 points: With Apple/Onion/Brie soup.
Nice straw color to the eye,.
Decent but not perfumed nose, a bit of peach.
Medium weight - but this did not go at all well with the food we had. Bad choice on my part.
After dinner we finished the bottle, and it was much nicer.
I know the community is showing this as a 90+ wine (Outstanding). Compared to the best chardonnays I've had, I would call this a very good wine - but I think I need to start censoring my score inflation a bit - so I call it 88. Very good - certainly. Outstanding? don't think so. (916 views)
 Tasted by KevinS on 9/29/2013 & rated 91 points: Another vote for super-tight. I get baked apple and some tropical notes, but not as much nuance or complexity as I would like. Where the class and pedigree really show up for me is in the incredible length -- finish just goes on and on... (1003 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 9/15/2013 & rated 92 points: Just about the same as when last tasted some 20 months ago wherein I indicated: “Aromas of vanillin (not overly toasty or charred), baked apple, pineapple, butter, minerals. It might have a somewhat more vanillin concentration than the "07 or"08, but not absurdly so. Viscous in the mouth, with the same flavors as the nose. A long and concentrated finish. I think this is a very nice wine, but at this stage, this "Bee Block" does not seem quite as seductive as either the '07 or '08.” Today, the wine still seems somewhat closed in, as far as the flavors. In the mouth, however, the fruit is a little more intense than last time. Hopefully, it will at some point break out of its dumb stage and give us what we’re all expecting. In any case, it’s a pretty good wine to appreciate now and pairs quite well with crab cakes. Score 92-93. (851 views)
 Tasted by lvjohn on 8/4/2013 & rated 92 points: I must agree with other recent posters, this wine is still pretty tight. It is quite enjoyable none the less. Don't serve it cold. It didn't taste like much of anything. After some warming and opening, it displayed the beauties of Varner with excellent balance, citrus and apple notes, and great mouth feel. (809 views)
 Tasted by ggormezano on 6/2/2013 & rated 92 points: Still tight. Opened up after 1.5 hours. Would wait another 1-2 years to drink more. (946 views)
 Tasted by smphelps on 5/13/2013 & rated 90 points: The color of two week old hay. Distinctly oaked in a creamy, rich style. Apples and ripe pears for balance, but more cream, caramel, butter, and toast than bright fruits. Still well done in this style, and projects to age gracefully. (978 views)
 Tasted by wine-strategies on 2/1/2013: Slow-O 2 hours. Medium straw, aromas run the gamut from lemon creme to orange liqueur. Medium bodied, with great focus and purity. A really lovely wine, and for my palate, everything I want in (oaked) Cali Chardonnay. Acids and overall structure are rather brilliant. Still a few years from peak. highly recommended, 14,7% abv, drink thru 2020 (1362 views)
 Tasted by Dental Jay on 1/22/2013 & rated 92 points: Love this wine. (1166 views)
 Tasted by Doblk on 12/24/2012 & rated 89 points: Lemon cream. Pears. Some minerals. Very good wine with a lot of complexity, but a bit oakier than I like. (925 views)
 Tasted by WineCPA on 12/24/2012 & rated 92 points: Big buttery and creamy on the palate. Hints of lemon. Lots of oak. Not sure it's a great QPR, but still a great example of a big California Chard. Very Good! (1039 views)
 Tasted by BVal on 7/9/2012 & rated 92 points: Pale yellow. Wonderful nose of peach, almond, a little caramel and a distinct smokiness that I found very appealing. Love the comment below of "pie crust palate;" that just about sums it up perfectly. Nice structure and good lengthy finish. Some minerals there too. I would disagree with those who found this overly oaky-- I thought the oak level was about right. (2050 views)
 Tasted by thelostverse on 6/17/2012 & rated 93 points: Peach and honey notes. Good acidity with lengthy finish. (1810 views)
 Tasted by yossarian.livez on 6/9/2012 & rated 87 points: Very nice, though the most introverted of the three Varner Chards. Nice nose. Maybe a bit closed, and enough acidity to wait. The oak frame is a bit noticable, but this isn't your bombastic Napa Chard. Light on it's feet, more buttered popcorn than brown butter and a bit less voluminous than Amphitheater. (698 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, Exploring California's Central Coast (Aug 2011)
(Varner Chardonnay Bee Block Block Santa Cruz Mountains) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (1/12/2012)
(Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Bee Block) Group's #1 (my #2) – 49 pts; 3 firsts, 2 seconds, 4 thirds, 0 last places – light yellow color with 2 millimeter clear meniscus; pear tart, lovely peach, honeyed, light almond, pie crust nose; focused, concentrated, ripe pear, ripe peach, pear butter, pie crust palate; needs 3 years; long finish  93 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)


Producer website


Chardonnay on Appellation America

Spring Ridge Vineyard Bee Block

On weinlagen-info


WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association | Wikipedia

Once referred to by wine writers as the Chaine d'Or -- or "golden chain" -- the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA sits above Silicon Valley, running along the craggy range next to the Pacific on some of the prettiest parts of Northern California. The area supports more than 75 wineries, despite being limited by geography and high land prices.

In 1981 the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Appellation became federally recognized, one of the first American viticultural areas to be defined by geophysical and climatic factors. The appellation encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountain range, from Half Moon Bay in the north, to Mount Madonna in the south. The east and west boundaries are defined by elevation, extending down to 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west.

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