Claiborne & Churchill Pinot Noir 2002
The Edna Valley AVA, where our winery is located, is emerging as one of the most exciting regions in California for Pinot Noir. The cool breezes from the nearby ocean moderate the climate, allowing for a long growing season, with full flavor development without sacrificing structure, color, and acidity.
We like to think of this wine as a cross-section of the Edna Valley appellation, utilizing fruit from eight distinct blocks of three quality vineyards, all within a mile or two of our winery. Few wines reflect their origins as clearly as Pinot Noir; every nuance of the growing season, as well as cultural practices, soils, site, and winemaking leave indelible impressions on the finished wine. Our 2002 exemplifies the unique character of the Edna Valley; brimming with ripe cherry, currant, and berry flavors. Judicious use of new French and Hungarian oak barrels contribute a hint of smoke and toastiness. Deep color, solid structure, and bright acidity are all hallmarks of fruit grown under the influence of coastal fog and ocean breezes, and these attributes shine through clearly in a wine that is rich, stylish, and well-suited for use at the table. Pinot Noir is the most elegant and food friendly of red wines, with the acidity to stand up well to almost any food, and without heavy tannins that can overpower more delicate cuisine. Pair with game, foie-gras, wildgathered mushrooms, and aromatic cheeses.
In 1995 Clay and Fredericka completed construction on their new and permanent winery building. This structure, a noteworthy example of environmental architecture, is a "straw bale building," the first of its kind in California. With sixteen-inch thick walls made of bales of rice straw, the winery is so well insulated that it maintains a constant cellar temperature, without the need for mechanical cooling or heating.
At Claiborne & Churchill traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation and barrel-aging (even with Riesling and Gewürztraminer), minimal manipulation of juice and wine, "natural" or spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeast, and limited use of SO2, all in the belief that the winemaker's task is to bring out the flavor and character that is latent in the grape. Our aim is to create pleasurable dinner wines in which there is a harmonious balance of fruit and oak, structure and texture.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.