Vineyard: El Camino vineyard located outside of Los Alamos in Santa Barbara County.
Orientation: The vines are planted on northwest facing slopes.
Soil: sandy, loam soils
Vinification: 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.
Notes: Notes of tropical fruit framed and lifted by bright acidity that carries into citrus and apple flavors. A tightly coiled Chardonnay that is reflective of the Varner style and a tremendous value!
Despite its very reasonable price, the 2014 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard delivers serious intensity, richness and nuance. Broad, ample and phenolic, the 2015 exudes all the classic Varner signatures, structure being the most obvious of these. Yellow orchard fruit, mint, candied lemon, chamomile and lightly honeyed notes are front and center. This is one of the most singular Santa Barbara Chardonnays readers will come across. The style and palate weight is more than a little reminiscent of the wines the Varners made in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 2014 was fermented in steel and aged in a combination of puncheon (25%) and steel, with blocked malo. This is a very serious Chardonnay for $25.