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 Vintage2009 Label 1 of 7 
(NOTE: Label borrowed from 2008 vintage.)
ProducerVarner (web)
VineyardSpring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block
SubRegionSan Francisco Bay
AppellationSanta Cruz Mountains

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2012 and 2017 (based on 6 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91.2 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 52 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by dbenglis on 8/30/2015 & rated 90 points: Apple, pear, pineapple. Overall would drink again. (375 views)
 Tasted by Seafoam Manor on 7/11/2015 & rated 93 points: Really good. This has aged very well and the fruit has taken on more of a baked quality, which is balanced out by fully integrated oak, that adds a slight smokiness and rounds out the sharp acidity. There's also an underlying minerality that keeps the fruit in check. Glad that I saved some of these to age, now I just need to keep my hands off of the newer vintages. (354 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 4/26/2015 & rated 92 points: This time, I didn't get the strong orange liqueur element on the nose that I got last January. This time more in in tune with my notes of 7/6/2014: "aromas and flavors of baked apple, poached pear, lemon, hints of orange liqueur, creme brulee and minerals. A little buttery in the mouth. Rich and intense fruit. Great balance; nice structure. A long finish." Wish I had more. (670 views)
 Tasted by Mr T on 4/20/2015: Excellent....good balance of richness and acid/spine...not overly cloying or alcoholic...very nice (523 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 1/18/2015 & rated 92 points: Similar to my notes of 7/6/2014. The orange liqueur on the nose seems more prevalent. (741 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 7/6/2014 & rated 93 points: 4th tasting of this wine. Complex aromas and flavors of baked apple, poached pear, lemon, hints of orange liqueur, creme brulee and minerals. A little buttery in the mouth. Rich and intense fruit. Great balance; nice structure. A long finish. Seemed more mature and balanced this time. A very nice pairing with shrimp scampi. (1032 views)
 Tasted by bubbachumps on 2/14/2014 & rated 91 points: Totally different impression than my last tasting note. This wine as evolved a ton and is trucking very swiftly through the aging curve. Notes of caramel and toast on the nose. Very dark yellow in the glass, in the mouth not much in the way of structure. I don't believe it will get any better. This was stored properly, so drink'em up if you have any. (1256 views)
 Tasted by Mr T on 1/27/2014: seemed good but I didn't really get any (1037 views)
 Tasted by Doblk on 12/24/2013 & rated 90 points: Very light nose. It has lost a bit of richness since the last time I tasted it, but still very good. On the delicate/elegant side of chardonnay. Some fruit and some wood and a well placed acidity, but no malo and not a butter bomb. More burgundy in style. Wonderful with shrimp pasta but not the most amazing chardonnay I have had at this price. (997 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 12/14/2013 & rated 92 points: Took this to a Christmas gathering with friends. Pretty much similar to my prior tastings/evaluations posted on 11/2/2013 and 9/19/12. (1063 views)
 Tasted by bonedoc on 12/5/2013: Last bottle, and if I could do it again I would wait another year or two to drink my first bottle. The fruit profile is lemon, w good acidity. This is not buttery or ripe. (817 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 11/2/2013 & rated 92 points: A little over a year since last tasting this wine. A nice nose of baked apple, poached pear, lemon, creme brulee, and minerals. Similar flavors. Subdued and well integrated oak. Good structure and balance. As with the last tasting, a buttery feeling in the mouth. A longish finish. Paired very well with a salmon and risotto dish at a BYOL restaurant. (672 views)
 Tasted by rhialto on 7/21/2013 & rated 89 points: Thought that this was pretty good but not a standout. Maybe the next bottle will improve. (759 views)
 Tasted by Mr T on 6/30/2013: PNP and took small taste and left the rest for the family. Reasonable balance and oak fairly integrated, but these wines are less and less what I am looking for but the family seemed perfectly OK (820 views)
 Tasted by wine strategies on 6/14/2013: PnP, served non-blind. Another so-so performance. This is from the same six pack I bought off of a third party seller, and it's not going well so far, which is to say, the performance has been average. A few left that I will continue to hold hope for. 13,2% abv (1104 views)
 Tasted by wine strategies on 4/27/2013: Lots of bottle variation here - from near epic to pre-moxed. This one was in the good-very good range, but it struggled. Came out swinging on PnP, but faded in intensity and freshness as the night wore on. Just average on day #2. Still, I remain a devoted fan and will hope for the best with remaining bottles. 13,2% abv (1179 views)
 Tasted by wine strategies on 4/20/2013 flawed bottle: Off, lifeless. Too bad, had high hopes. Will try another in the next few months. 13,2% abv (1094 views)
 Tasted by bonedoc on 4/5/2013 & rated 90 points: Well made, but unremarkable Cali chard. (905 views)
 Tasted by KenPlace on 4/1/2013 & rated 94 points: Smooth, with hints of pineapple, tropical fruit. Excellent balance. (902 views)
 Tasted by Richard M on 3/24/2013 & rated 92 points: Crystalline character, overall impression is light with notes of lime on the nose, a hint of praline on the finish. A good all-purpose CA chardonnay that is an interesting aperitif as well as a nice accompaniment to food. (810 views)
 Tasted by yossarian.livez on 1/20/2013 & rated 87 points: Not as rich as before. Nice vanilla, baked pear with butterscotch. Enough acidity to remain fresh, but pales to the prior tasting. Hopefully a bit of a dumb period. (878 views)
 Tasted by bonedoc on 12/26/2012 & rated 91 points: fruit a little underwhelming for the high parker rating, nice acidity and balance. (840 views)
 Tasted by smphelps on 11/30/2012 & rated 90 points: A medium to light colored yellow that opens with fresh fragances of lemon, apples and fresh bread. Nicely balanced with enough acidity to remain fresh in the mouth. Medium finish. (907 views)
 Tasted by Chainthroer on 9/19/2012 & rated 92 points: Straw or light yellow color. A complex nose of baked apple, poached pear, lemon, brioche, minerals. Moderate and well integrated oak. Flavors of baked apple, poached pear, lemon and minerals. Great acid and balance. A buttery and elegant feeling in the mouth. Then a medium to long finish that had a very slight touch of heat in the beginning, but the then became smooth as the wine warmed. Paired fine with fried cod with herbs, but a Sancerre or Muscadet would have been a better match. Score 92-93. (1250 views)
 Tasted by DarinC on 7/15/2012 & rated 93 points: Really nice balance. Medium body, green apple, pear, lemon, vanilla. More stoney minerality than the other Varner's this vintage. Showed a bit better the 2nd day. (1312 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 Amphitheater Block Santa Cruz Mountains) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (1/12/2012)
(Varner Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block) Group's #6 (my #3) – 73 pts.; 1, 2, 2, 2 - light yellow color; appealing, ripe pear, baked apple, apple pie nose; baked apple, apple pie filling, light cinnamon, ripe lemon palate; medium-plus finish  93 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

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Producer website


Chardonnay on Appellation America


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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