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Varner Picnic Block Pinot Noir 2013

Varner Picnic Block Pinot Noir 2013

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"Sweet dark cherry, menthol, pine, licorice and dark spices are all infused in the 2013 Pinot Noir Picnic Block. Deep and ample on the palate, the Picnic shows the more virile, masculine side of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir. This is an especially dense, meaty Pinot Noir. Graphite, black pepper, game, smoke and scorched earth add the closing shades of nuance. The chewy tannins will benefit from time in bottle to soften. This is an especially big, ample Pinot from the Varners. Drink: 2017-2025. 92 points

I have to admit, my most recent tasting with Bob and Jim Varner was bittersweet. The Varners have ended their collaboration with the Neely family, so the 2013s are the last wines the Varners made in the Santa Cruz Mountains. That is a real loss to the region and the wine world more broadly, as the Varners made stunning Chardonnays and Pinots from these sites. The Varners have moved to Santa Barbara County, where they are making a new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the El Camino and Los Alamos vineyards respectively. Both wines deliver superb quality for the money. The Santa Cruz Moutains wines remain reference points for what is possible in these mountain terroirs; namely rich, phenolic Chardonnays and intense Pinots."

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (07/16)