The 2013 Pinot Noir Hidden Block is a very pretty, lifted wine. Sweet red cherry, mint and floral notes grace the palate in an understated, surprisingly gracious Pinot from the Varner brothers. The Hidden Block is one of the more delicate, acid-driven Pinots I have tasted from Varner. This is the first block that is picked, which likely contributes to the wine's laid-back personality and expressive aromatics. (AG)
Possessing plenty of kirsch liqueur, soy, toasted spice and earth, the 2013 Pinot Noir Hidden Blocks Spring Ridge Vineyard is a medium to full-bodied, ripe, nicely textured Pinot Noir. It has good acidity and present tannin, and should drink nicely for 5-7 years. The big change at this reference point estate is the splitting of the partnership between the Varner and Neely families, and the Varner brothers will no longer have access to the Spring Ridge Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where they've worked since the early 2000s. Going forward, this team will focus on their contracts in Santa Barbara County, where they've also worked for the past three years. Few winemakers do Chardonnay and Pinot Noir better than brothers Jim and Bob Varner, and I've no doubt this estate will continue to be one of the stars of the Central Coast. (JD)
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