2014 Summer Release Tasting Notes Video:
2013 Edelzwicker, 2013 Pinot Gris,
2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:

2013 Edelzwicker: We’ve been making an Edelzwicker every year since day one back in 1983. It has long been a favorite quaffing wine, something you can serve on all sorts of occasions, to all sorts of wine drinkers, from novices to oenophiles. Continue reading here.

2013 Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris has been a big part of our repertory since the late ‘90s. It’s much more serious than your typical Italian-style Pinot Grigio, as it delivers good acid, pear and white peach aromas, and a rich mouthfeel. We barrel ferment it in 100% neutral French oak. Pinot Gris serves as a great accompaniment to Lasagna Alfredo, Cioppino or enjoyed on its own. Continue reading here.

2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir: Since last summer, when we sold out of the ’11 Twin Creeks, many of you have asked when the new vintage would be released. Lo and behold, it’s back! Here at Claiborne & Churchill, we produce three different Pinot Noir bottlings, each with its own unique profile. Continue reading here.

San Luis Obispo Wine Country: Veraison of Pinot Noir

It’s mid July, and as we look onto our estate vineyards, we see our Pinot Noir clusters turning from a youthful shade of green to its classic purplish hue.  What does this mean in the world of viticulture?  Well, it’s a clear indication that veraison has started.  This French term means the “onset of ripening” in the vineyard.  From here on out, the sugars in the grapes (in the form of glucose and fructose) will start to accumulate, the berries will soften, and the anthocynins (which gives the grapes its red color) will continue developing within the skins.

What’s interesting is just how early verasion has occurred.  This stage of a vineyard’s annual growth cycle typically begins in the later part of July/early August.  Ever since our warm, dry winter the vineyards in the Edna Valley have been ahead of schedule all year.  So it wasn’t much of a surprise when we started noticing signs of versaison around 4th of July.

Though our young Estate Pinot Noir vineyard is looking healthy, we must continue working in the vineyard to ensure a bountiful harvest.  Our newly appointed Assistant Winemaker, Zack Geers, has been leaf pulling this week to give better ventilation and fruit exposure to each vine.  He has also dropped any excess clusters that might be bunched too closely together.   This is an important process, allowing for vines/fruit to acquire the right amount of nutrients and also reducing the risk of bunch rot.

The Romance of Riesling at Claiborne & Churchill in San Luis Obispo Wine Country

Do you love Riesling, “the world’s greatest white grape”? Well we do! And we celebrated it on Friday, June 20, with our inaugural “Romance of Riesling” event here in the garden at Claiborne & Churchill.

For the first time ever, we focused on only one grape varietal for an entire dinner/tasting/seminar. I should mention that we started the evening off with our 2012 Sparkling Blanc de Blancs; I can’t think of a better way to start a celebration!

The Romance of Rieslng 2014 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery

Our dynamic duo, Owner Clay Thompson and Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia guided guests through a pairing of Rieslings and tapas. Chef Russ Thomas of Two Cooks artfully prepared the five delicious courses. (see menu below)

Crab Snap Salad on Crunchy Yukon Gold Chip
Apple, Celery, Lime, Parsley, Lipstick Pepper, Shallot, Tarragon Aioli,
Pickled Chili & Lemon Cucumber Garnish
2013 Dry Riesling
Grilled Shrimp with Asparagus Purée
Garlic, White Wine, Flat Leaf Parsley, Bolio Toasts
2011 Dry Riesling
Vegetarian Sushi
Soy Paper Wrapped: Red Miso Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms, Pearl &
Black Rice, Daikon Radish, Hoisin Chili Sauce
2008 Dry Riesling
Duck Canapé
Coriander Rubbed Pan Seared Duck Breast, Caramelized Shallots,
Crispy Won Ton Skins, Ginger Vinaigrette
2005 Dry Riesling
Cabbage Rolls
Chorizo and Pork Stuffed Cabbages, Pine Nuts, Raisins in Beef Broth
2012 Estate Dry Riesling

Clay & Coby opened their discussion to Q&A where they and our guests delved deeper into each vintage.

Guests were able to experience first hand what contributes to Riesling being the “world’s greatest white grape”: it’s made in a variety of styles, from ultra-dry to a sweet desert wine and everything in between! And it is so extremely versatile that it pairs with a wide variety of cuisines!


The Romance of Rieslng 2014 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery


We continued this educational journey with a tour of our Estate Riesling Vineyard where Coby educated our guests on its SIP Certification (Sustainability in Practice) and its ability to grow in a cool-climate region such as ours here in San Luis Obispo wine country. This was the perfect opportunity to highlight our 2010 Estate Dry Riesling, which we bottle aged three years prior to its release. Many of our guests were surprised to learn that Riesling has great aging potential due to its naturally high acidity and pronounced fruit flavors. Aged Riesling exhibits wonderful nuances and complex flavors of petrol, diesel and minerality and our 2010 displayed this so well!

Pairing in the Vineyard:
Gourmet Artisan Cheese
(from our local cheese shop, Fromagerie Sophie)
Ducket’s Caerphilly and Pont L’Eveque
2010 Estate Dry Riesling

We concluded the evening with a final pairing in our eco-friendly strawbale cellar/tasting room. This was definitely the icing on the cake!

Dessert Pairing:
Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookie
(from our local Brown Butter Cookie Company)
Shortbread Cookie with Browned Butter, Brown Sugar and Sea Salt
2013 Riesling, Oliver’s Vineyard
2011 “Nektar” Estate Late Harvest Riesling

The Romance of Rieslng 2014 at Claiborne & Churchill Winery

Thank you to all of our guests. This was an amazing evening of delicious food, great wine, and good company! We look forward to more unique interactive tastings of this type.

Please visit our website to keep up-to-date with upcoming events and new wines.
Join our Club to receive discounts and priority seating at such events!

Recipes for Your July 4th Celebration with Red, White & Pink Wine Pairings!

 We’ve selected six of our favorite recipes that would be perfect for your July 4th celebration. Included are some pairing suggestions, but feel free to mix and match! Try one or all of the following recipes and don’t forget to share your pictures with us (post your pictures to our facebook, instagram, or twitter accounts). #claiborneandchurchill

Recipes for your July 4th Celebration


Feta Stuffed Watermelon via epicurious

These tasty and refreshing feta stuffed watermelon blocks would pair wonderfully with our “Cuvée Elizabeth” Dry Rosé.

via epicurious

Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers via food network

How about some spicy lemon shrimp skewers to heat things up?
Our Dry Gewürztraminer would be a great compliment to these savory shrimp.

via food network

For The Grill

Andouille and Beef Burger with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions via bon appetit

Just in case you didn’t get enough spice with those shrimp, you better try this amazing andouille and beef burger with spicy mayo and caramelized onions.
Pair with our cool-climate Syrah.

via bon appetit


Charred Corn Salad with Basil and Tomatoes via bon appetit

Now we try to round each meal out with some type of veggie, and this charred corn salad with basil and tomatoes is the absolutely delicious!
How about a little Dry Riesling with this guy?

via bon appetit

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad via taste of home

This red, white and blue potato salad is a patriotic twist on an American classic.
Our “Classic” Pinot Noir is flavorful yet delicate enough to pair with potatoes.

via taste of home


Berry Tart with Lemon Cookie Crust via better homes and Gardens

No meal is complete without dessert! Try out this berry tart with lemon cookie crust and top it off with a little “Douce Amie” Sweet Orange Muscat.

via better homes & gardens