Antonio Galloni reviews the newly released vintage of Cabernet, calling it "impossible to resist on release"
All three Foxglove wines, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and now Chardonnay are listed in the NY Times list of the best wines under $20.
Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay 2014 $16.99
"Foxglove is the value label from Varner, which makes excellent wines in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is rich, ample California chardonnay, unadulterated by oak and made without the softening influence of malolactic fermentation, which turns firm malic acid into creamy lactic acid. The chardonnay is juicy, lively and full- bodied, not complex or subtle — just a big, clean wine that feels good." January 25, 2018
Foxglove Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.99
"Foxglove is the reliable value arm of Varner Wine, which makes fine chardonnays and pinot noirs. Foxglove expands that range with moderately priced wines like this Paso Robles cabernet, which is a bold and intense yet not at all a fruit bomb. It's juicy and balanced, and will go well with steaks and chops" January 12, 2017
Latest on the last release from the Hidden Block, Picnic Block, Upper Picnic Block and Three Blocks from the 2014 vintage
"The 2015 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard from the Varner brothers is lovely, wafting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of honeycomb, ripe peaches and fresh apricot. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, pure and textural—displaying a touch more mid-palate ripeness than the 2014 rendition—and concludes with a long, saline finish. This is a characterful Chardonnay that represents terrific value." April 27, 2018
In the latest Vinous article, Antonio Galloni gives 2016 Foxglove Chardonnay 90-91 points
Food & Wine picked Foxglove Zinfandel as an exceptional bargin bottle
"The juicy wild berry and herb flavors in this great-value Zinfandel finish with tart acidity" August 7, 2017
Ray Isle writes:
"Sometimes wine is daunting, and the fact that vintages change every year is one of the reasons. Was 2014 better than 2015? Worse? How are you supposed to know? One solutions is not to worry about it. We've assembled 50 of the world's most reliable, inexpensive wines - bottles that offer amazing quality for their price year in and year out." April 2017
Richard Arbaugh, Anne Arbaugh
South Hills Market and Café, Charleston, WV
Taste the delights of the Appalachian Trail when Richard and Anne Arbaugh return to the Beard House for a special springtime celebration. Known for their West Virginia dining gem, this husband-and-wife team will showcase a contemporary take on their region’s culinary traditions.
Smoked West Virginia Brook Trout with Pandero Lettuce, Tat Soi, Local Herbs, Trout Roe, Housemade Ricotta, Dehydrated Citrus, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Foxglove Chardonnay 2014
Columnist Nuria Sty finds 9 of the best Chardonnays to drink now:
"From California’s Central Coast, this excellent-value wine is juicy and fresh with tropical notes of pineapple and yellow stone fruit, with hints of orange and white florals against an icy steel minerality. The two opposing forces are kept in check. No malolactic fermentation or oak keeps the taste pure, lean and precise. April 21, 2017
In his column, The Pour, Eric Asimov recommends Foxglove Cabernet:
"Foxglove is the reliable value arm of Varner Wine, which makes fine chardonnays and pinot noirs. Foxglove expands that range with moderately priced wines like this Paso Robles cabernet, which is bold and intense yet not at all a fruit bomb. It’s juicy and balanced, and will go well with steaks and chops." January 12, 2017
"Bob Varner, who makes high-end Chardonnay and Pinot Noir under his name in the Santa Cruz Mountains, is responisble for this value-priced gem" October 19, 2016
In an article in Decanter, William Kelley's reports on his top Picks in California Cabernet. They're all really great wines, here's what he has to say about Foxglove:
Foxglove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast 2013 90
£15.50-£17 Bottle Apostle, Honest Grapes; Stannary St Wine Co, Uncorked, WoodWinters
Does California produce a better Cabernet for the price? This unpretentious bottling from the Central Coast is beautifully pure and expressive, bursting with clean raspberry fruit and nicely balanced on the palate. The US needs more wines like this. Drink 2016-2021 Alc 13.9%
We had our annual tasting with Antonio Galloni and, as always, the conversation was interesting and far-reaching. We especially appreciate how his descriptions encompass everything we are trying to express with the wines.
British Columbia writer Shea Coulson visited last month and wrote insightfully about our new Varner Santa Barbara Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in his blog, Just Grapes.
"What I like about the new project is how it combines a completely distinct voice with a consistent sense of subtlety."
"I found the 2014 Los Alamos Vineyard bottling a delicious, easy to drink wine that yet used its lively, focused acidity to delineate a streamlined architecture I found extremely pleasurable."
The International Wine Report published reviews of 2014 and 2013 Varner wines here-
Included were the 2014 Varner Santa Barbara Chardonnay and the 2014 Varner Santa Barbara Pinot Noir-
"The 2014 El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay is an elegant and vibrant offering with aromas of lemon zest, freshly sliced apple, white flowers, crushed almonds all taking shape in the glass. This shows wonderful balance and focus with bright acidity leading the way into the precise finish. A lovely effort from which should continue to drink well over the next few years."
"This Pinot Noir is a lovely showing from Varner, the 33% clone 777 and 67% Pommard clone was sourced from two blocks of the Los Alamos vineyard and is where the vines are planted on gentle slopes in shallow, low vigor soils. It displays bright aromas of wild forrest berries along with a mix of dried spices and floral along with an earthy edge. On the palate this is beautifully structured and well balanced with a silky texture."
Wine Weirdos recently featured 2013 Foxglove Chardonnay in one of their 30 second wine reviews. Many thanks to Mike and Pete.
Lettie Teague of The Wall Street Journal recommended Foxglove Chardonnay in her Jun 6, 2016 article, "The Best Wedding Wines- According to Betrothed Sommeliers". Heidi Turzyn from Gotham Bar and Grill and Yannick Benjamin from the University Club in New York sat down with Lettie to taste and recommend wedding wines with "wide appeal and a reasonable price".
For those with a subscription to the Wall Street Journal the link is:
We were happy to spend some time with our Japanese importer, Masatoshi Hamamoto (known to all as Hama) and his fiancée, Ray Matsumoto in Half Moon Bay during their trip to California and Oregon. Ray is an ophthalmologist in Kobe and she blogs extensively about food and wine in Japan and during her travels abroad. Hama and Ray are intelligent, thoughtful, kind people and it was an absolute pleasure to share our home with them. For dinner we pulled out a 2009 Varner Home Block Chardonnay and a 2009 Varner Three Blocks Pinot. Ray’s post about the wines and visit is here
Lettie Teague at the Wall Street Journal included 2013 Varner Santa Barbara Chardonnay in her article "Why White Wine Is More Than Alright in Winter".
2013 Varner Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard Santa Barbara $30
Anti-Chardonnay drinkers have likely never experienced the well- balanced examples from Varner Wine. Their El Camino, produced from a cool-climate site in Santa Barbara, is full-bodied but vibrant, with a tropical nose and a hint of oak.
For those with a subscription to the Wall Street Journal the link is: