Cinco De Mayo Food & Wine Pairings

Feel like throwing a Cinco de Mayo Party this year? Tired of only serving margaritas and beer? Why not have a mexican themed feast paired with some of your favorite Claiborne & Churchill wines?

Cinco de Mayo Starter:

Mango Salsa paired with our 2014 Estate Dry Riesling

Cinco de Mayo: Mango Salsa paired with Claiborne & Churchill 2014 Estate Dry Riesling


1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
1/2 Jalapeño chile, minced (less or more to taste, make sure to actually taste the chile first, some of them can be quite hot!)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice


1.Put the diced mango, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro in a medium bowl. Toss with lime juice. Enjoy!

A spicy side dish for your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta:

Stuffed Jalapeños paired with our 2016 Dry Gewurztraminer

Cinco de Mayo: Stuffed Jalapeños paired with Claiborne & Churchill 2016 Dry Gewurztraminer


6 slices bacon
12 jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise with stems left intact, seeds and ribs removed
4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Place oven rack in upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Cook bacon in 12‑inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate. When bacon is cool enough to handle, chop fine and set aside.
3. Season jalapeños with salt and place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove jalapeños from oven and reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. When cool enough to handle, flip jalapeños with their cut side up.
5. Mix cheddar, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, cilantro, panko, egg yolk, lime juice, cumin, and bacon together in bowl until thoroughly combined.
6. Divide cheese mixture among jalapeños, pressing into cavities.
7. Bake jalapeños until tender and filling is lightly browned, 9 to 14 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Cinco de Mayo Main Course:

Carnitas paired with our 2015 Twin Creeks Estate Pinot Noir

Cinco de Mayo: Carnitas paired with Claiborne & Churchill 2015 Estate Twin Creeks Pinot Noir

For Pork Carnitas

2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

For Tacos & Toppings:

corn tortillas
slices of avocado
cilantro, roughly chopped
red onion, diced
slices of lime

Cut pork shoulder into large 3-4 inch chunks, removing any excess fat.

Place pork in slow cooker.
Combine all other ingredients in slow cooker.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until very tender.
When tender, pull apart with a fork.
Serve on warm corn tortillas and top with onions, cilantro, avocado slices and lime juice!


PortObispo 2015 & Recipe Pairing

We are excited to announce our 2015 PortObispo dessert wine is now available just in time for Valentine’s Day! Grab a bottle here to share with your special someone or to end the meal at your next dinner party.

We make our PortObispo in the traditional fashion, vigorously fermenting ripe red grapes until the sugar level has dropped to around 6%, and then fortifying the wine with grape spirits to an alcohol of 18%, at which level the wine stops fermenting and remains sweet. The wine is then aged for 15 months in well-seasoned oak barrels.

There are many occasions when one can enjoy a glass of this smooth and balanced (and downright yummy!) PortObispo, but the classic food pairing is with a rich chocolate dessert.

Claiborne & Churchill, Port, Dessert Wine, Recipes

Quick Bites with PortObispo:

  • Soak dried cherries overnight in PortObispo, then pour over vanilla ice cream
  • Poach crisp winter pears in a mixture of PortObispo, water, little orange juice, splash of brandy, little sugar, cinnamon stick, and a few cloves. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream!
  • Hollow the center of a piece of cantaloupe, then fill with PortObispo
  • Toast some walnuts over the fireplace. Pair with crackers, a slice of Stilton cheese, and PortObispo

Chocolate Fondant Recipe:

Claiborne & Churchill, PortObispo, Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Some Cocoa powder for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of flour

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter four large muffin tins or ramekins and dust them inside all over with cocoa powder. Melt the chocolate and buttering a pan over hot water, stirring until smooth and blended. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Gently fold in the chocolate-butter mixture and then the sifted flour. Pour into tins or ramekins and bake until the tops are cooked slightly firm to the touch, but the insides remain hot and molten. This can vary from 8-15 minutes. Turn out onto dessert plates and garnish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with fresh berries. Enjoy!

Tilapia Vera Cruz Recipe

As the summer approaches, we wanted to share this delicious Tilapia Vera Cruz recipe with you! It was created by Don Reynolds who is a retired chef and former Claiborne and Churchill employee. This dish is quick and easy to make, and most importantly pairs perfectly with any of our white wines. Make sure to grab a bottle from our tasting room or here at our website.

tilapia vera cruz, claiborne and churchill, recipes

Tilapia Vera Cruz Recipe:

PREP TIME: 15 minutes 
 15 – 20 minutes 
 4 – 6  depending on appetite


5 tablespoons olive oil – 3 tbsp for the sauce and 2 tbsp for the fish
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 small onion – chopped
¼ cup drained capers
1 cup sliced green and black olives – combination dependent upon preference
½ tablespoon jalapeno – minced
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime – cut into 6 wedges
Fresh cilantro for garnish
6 tilapia fillets – 6 oz. size

*You can substitute another fish such as red snapper, orange roughy, grouper or cod*


In a large skillet heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, onion, capers, olives and jalapeno.  Sauté until soft for 1-2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Pat dry each tilapia fillet and flavor with salt and pepper.  In another large skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently swirl to coat the pan.  Gently place fish into the oil and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and flakes easily.  Place cooked fish on a serving plate and spoon the sauce from the pan over the fish.  Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over the top and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.  Serve with Spanish rice and Cuban beans.


Recipe: Rosé Sangria

Rosé, Sangria, Rosé Sangria, Malbec, Claiborne & Churchill

With the upcoming release of our 2015 Cuvée Elizabeth Rosé of Pinot Noir and 2014 Malbec, we decided to do some taste testing to find our favorite Rosé Sangria. Brook Thompson, our Wine Club Manager, made three different recipes for us to try. Below is the recipe for the undisputed winner. This delicious Rosé Sangria will be perfect for the upcoming spring and summer months! The dark color from the Malbec and pomegranate juice will set it apart from all the others. Let us know what you think of our recipe and feel free to share your favorite recipe with us!

Rosé, Sangria, Rosé Sangria, Malbec, Claiborne & Churchill

Rosé Sangria Recipe


750ml – 1 Bottle Cuvée Elizabeth Dry Rosé

6 oz Malbec

3 oz brandy

2 oz triple sec

1 oz limoncello

1 cup orange juice

1 cup pomagranate juice

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1/2 orange sliced

1/2 lemon sliced


Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Continue stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover pitcher and refrigerate for 24-48 hours before serving. Add ice to pitcher upon serving.

For added sweetness, add frozen orange/pineapple juice cubes in lieu of ice.

Claiborne & Churchill 2013 Port Obispo and Flourless Chocolate Cake

We are excited to announce the release of our 2013 PortObispo!

Port or “port-style” wines have always been a perfect accompaniment for a wide range of desserts and after-dinner snacks, from artisan cheese plates to savory cheesecakes and dark chocolate.  We classify our PortObispo as a California dessert wine, rather than a port since only sweet, fortified wines that are aged and bottled in the Douro region of northern Portugal can technically be named port -or- porto.

Claiborne & Churchill 2013 PortObispo

When it comes to port, there are various methods and styles to making this classic wine.   For instance: tawny ports age extensively in barrel, sometimes as long as 20 years. As it matures, the wine develops deeper, more complex characteristics while its color fades to a brownish, tawny hue. They range in sweetness, from sweet to medium dry.  Ruby ports, known for its deep, ruby color, traditionally spend less time in barrel so it can retain more of its natural color, and sweet, fruity characteristics from the grapes.

Though our PortObispo is produced in more of a traditional ruby port style than a tawny port style, it is definitely influenced by the California-style of winemaking.  Rather than, say, Touriga Nacional and Tempranillo, we picked late-harvest Pinot Noir from the Edna Valley and Merlot from Pozo Valley to make the 2013 PortObispo.

The ripe and juicy fruit is punched down several times a day, before and after fermentation to achieve maximum color and flavor. We then add wine spirits in sufficient quantity to stop the fermentation while the wine is still sweet (8.5% residual sugar/18.4% alcohol).  The wine then barrel ages for 15 months in neutral French oak before bottling.

The end result is a bottle full of delightfully sweet dessert wine.  Enjoy a glass of this smooth and balanced PortObispo with Stilton cheese or a flourless chocolate cake.  In fact, our very own Robyn Tanner was kind enough to share a recipe for you to try out.  Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake


1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (56% cacao semi-sweet chocolate also worked)
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup strong coffee
8 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Melt chocolate, butter and coffee together in the microwave for 1 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently until smooth. Using a stand mixer, whip eggs together for 5 to 10 minutes on high until very thick. Gently fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture using a third of the eggs at a time. Combine until no streaks remain. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with 2 large squares of tinfoil and rest inside a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the larger roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted an inch away from the pan’s edge reaches 140 degrees. Do not overbake! Remove the pans from the oven and let sit together for 45 minutes. Remove cake pan from roasting pan and let cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours. Run a sharp knife along the cake’s edge to separate it from the rim. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, remove the cake from the springform pan, slice carefully and garnish with powdered sugar and strawberries.

Thanksgiving Food and Wine Pairing: Sweet Potato Soufflé & Dry Gewürztraminer or Dry Riesling

Thanksgiving and other holiday meals have always been interesting for those who care about wine-and-food pairings. The wide array of different spices and sweetness levels at the traditional Thanksgiving dinner table presents challenges, and probably no one wine can solve the problem alone (though many would propose Dry Gewürztraminer as a solution). However, some wines (Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc) would likely be ruled out altogether. At the Thompson’s table, where ten or twelve people of different ages and different tastes are seated, they solve the problem by opening one or two Alsatian-styled wines (Gewürztraminer and/or Riesling) and a Pinot Noir. These represent the most adaptable and food-friendly wines we know!

The Thompson’s have served this Sweet Potato Soufflé at their Thanksgiving dinner for over thirty years. We think it adds a light and elegant touch to a meal that can otherwise get a little heavy.

Claiborne & Churchill Wines


Prepare the sweet potatoes by boiling them in water, peeling off the skin and chopping them into chunks, or by baking them in the oven, halving them and scooping out the pulp. In a Cuisinart or other food processor puree the sweet potatoes along with the brown sugar, melted butter, egg yolks, lemon rind and orange juice. When completely blended pour into a buttered baking or soufflé dish.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them gently but thoroughly into the sweet potato puree. Bake in a 350º oven for 45 minutes.


4 sweet potatoes
half-cup brown sugar
half-cup melted butter
4 egg yolks
1 Tbs. grated lemon rind
1 cup orange juice
4 egg whites


View Wine Region News cooking demo with Clay Thompson >>

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


A Saint Patrick’s Day Alternative: “Irish” Sangria

Recipe: “Irish” Sangria by Claiborne O’Churchill

Just because it’s St. Paddy’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little Sangria with an Irish twist! Grab a bottle of your favorite C&C Riesling (Dry or Semi-sweet) and add it to this simple and tasty recipe below. This is a perfect substitute for the classic Stouts and Irish Whiskeys.


  • 1 Bottle of white wine (Claiborne & Churchill Dry Riesling or our semi-sweet Riesling, Oliver’s Vineyard)
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1-2 Green apples cut into wedges
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1-2 Shots of Irish Whiskey (we used Jameson)
  • 2 Cups club soda (you could use ginger ale to sweeten it up)
Pour the wine into a pitcher and squeeze the juice from the lemon and orange wedges. If you prefer a sweeter Sangria, we suggest using our semi-sweet Riesling. Toss in the wedges of orange, lemon and apple and add sugar and whiskey. Give it a good stir and chill overnight or at least a few hours. Add club soda and ice just before serving. Enjoy!
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