The Darker Side of Claiborne & Churchill

CC_Pinot_Noir_2012_cropThough the name Claiborne & Churchill Winery is synonymous with Alsatian-style dry Riesling and dry Gewürztraminer, the pioneering Edna Valley AVA producer has also developed a reputation for complex, layered Pinot Noir that bears out in the recently-released 2012 Classic Pinot Noir, 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir and 2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir.

Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia

Winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia

“All three Pinot Noirs are very different in flavor profile, but similar in style,” said Winemaker, Coby Parker-Garcia. “At Claiborne & Churchill we do not produce an extracted, heavy Pinot Noir. Instead, we try to reflect Pinot Noir’s inherent elegance and complexity. All our grapes are grown within 3.5 miles of the Pacific Ocean, which helps when it comes to balance between acidity and fruit, as well as aging potential.”

2012 Classic Pinot Noir (1,222 cases produced, $28)
Since the late 1980s the “Classic” Pinot Noir has been a staple of Claiborne & Churchill’s repertoire, and has always been made to showcase the elegance and complexities of Pinot Noir from the Edna Valley. With fruit sourced from Wolff Vineyards and Twin Creeks Vineyards, the 2012 vintage balances flavors of ripe cherries, herbs and spices and aromas of vanilla, cherries, and lightly toasted oak. The Classic Pinot’s smooth mouthfeel, silky tannins, and good acidity makes this wine a perfect match for wild Alaskan salmon, lamb chops, duck breast, and an assortment of cheeses.

2012 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir (236 cases produced, $42)
The coveted Twin Creeks Pinot Noir is distinguished by its source: a collection of small vineyards on and around Twin Creeks Way, just down the road from the winery. These vineyards’ special soil and clonal selections help give the Twin Creeks its famous bold and spicy flavors, vivid cola and earthy aromas, and outstanding ageability. Pair it with lamb, duck, or beef bourguignon.

2012 Runestone Pinot Noir (173 cases produced, $48)
To produce the Runestone Pinot Noir, sold exclusively to members of the Claiborne & Churchill Cellar Club, Coby Parker-Garcia selected eight standout barrels from the 2012 vintage, which he blended together to create a remarkably elegant yet complex wine. Fruit was sourced from Twin Creeks Vineyard, located on the west side of the Edna Valley, where the cool, coastal climate and heavy clay soils provides exceptional quality; as well as Wolff Vineyards, on the east side, which grows Pinot Noir that yields undeniably fleshy fruit-forward flavors. Together, these vineyards produce a wine that balances its soft tannin and velvety mouth feel with ample fruit notes. The 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir offers vivid aromas of cherry, dried strawberries, and hints of oak. The palate is complex, layered with bright cherry, sweet raspberry, dark fruit and baking spice, with a finish that is ethereal and long lasting. A quintessential wine for pairing with winter fare, the 2012 Runestone Pinot Noir complements rack of lamb, sage-brushed turkey, and wild Alaskan salmon, and will continue to develop and improve over the next 8-10 years.

For more information on Claiborne & Churchill Pinot Noir, please visit http://www.ClaiborneChurchill.com.

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Where the Central Coast wine industry goes to LOOK, LEARN and CONNECT.

UntitledPart of the beauty of living and working on California’s Central Coast is watching the wine industry grow into a powerful generator of jobs, innovation and wines that can (and do) compete on the world stage. That’s where WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Conference & Tradeshow comes in. Taking place March 17-18 at the Paso Robles Event Center, WiVi is the only comprehensive wine industry conference and tradeshow on California’s Central Coast – and the largest industry networking opportunity south of San Francisco – and is hosted by the industry’s leading trade publication Wine Business Monthly and Precision Ag Consulting, a regional viticulture consulting group.

“The Central Coast is still a young wine region but growing rapidly. Education and access to resources is important to its continued growth and success,” said WiVi Director, Becky Zelinski.

“As the region grows, so does the importance of a conference like WiVi, which is the only one of its kind here. In just two days, anyone in the wine industry can learn from our panels of experts, network with peers, and connect with suppliers at the WiVi trade show. It really is a one-stop shop for the entire Central Coast industry,” said Zelinski.

The event – which offers educational and networking opportunities for every member of the wine industry, from winemakers and grape growers to winery managers and hospitality staff – is comprised of a two-day conference with educational sessions; and a one-day tradeshow featuring exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge products.

A sampling of topics for this year’s WiVi conference educational sessions, held March 17 and 18, include:

  • An “Update on Recent Changes on Ground Water Rights” and “The Effect of Water Availability on Property Values”
  • “Tasting: Phenolics in Winemaking,” examining how phenolics measurements can be used as an objective indicator of wine quality, led by Halter Ranch Vineyard & Winery Winemaker, Kevin Sass.
  • “Top 10 Success Tips for Tasting Room Sales,” including factual data points from the Wine Business Monthly Tasting Room Survey and Mystery Shopper results, hosted by Lesley Berglund of the Wine Industry Sales Education (WISE) Academy.

At the WiVi Trade Show on March 18, nearly 150 exhibitors will showcase products and solutions for the modern winemaker, grape grower, or member of winery management, including companies whose innovations were voted as the “coolest new products” by Wine Business Monthly. Examples include:

  • Toneleria Nacionale: Mistral Fermentation Barrels (www.Toneleria.com/MistralBarrels.php) “The new Fermentation Barrel from Mistral Barrels, Inc. garnered the most votes [for the 2013 People’s Choice” award, as chosen by readers of Wine Business Monthly]. The barrel has a port in the head and has the option to come with wheels that can be attached to the barrel rack so that the barrel can be rolled over on its axis.” (Curtis Phillips, Wine Business Monthly, March, 2013)
  • P & L Specialties: Consista-Hopper (www.PnLSpecialties.com) “The Consista-Hopper is a grape receiving hopper designed to evenly deliver grape clusters dumped from half-ton picking bins to a destemmer. What’s Cool: Converting the intrinsically batch process of dumping half-ton bins of grapes into a constant and even delivery of clusters to the destemmer is crucially important if one wants to minimize the amount of “jacks” that are thrown in with the destemmed berries. I like the high degree of adjustments allowed by the P&L Specialties design.” (Curtis Phillips, Wine Business Monthly, March, 2014)
  • Bucher Vaslin: Costral Galaxy 3000 Bottling Line (www.BVNorthAmerica.com) “The Costral Galaxy 3000 is made for the European wine industry which requires that bottles be sterilized prior to being filled. The Costral is designed to give the bottles more drying after sanitizing than is typical. What’s Cool: The integrated bottle rinser-santizer is handy even where it isn’t required by law. The rinser-santizer also can be used as an inverted bottle-sparger. The Costral Galaxy 3000 comes with a multihead corker/capper which allows a small winery to use both corks and screw caps without putting an additional screw cap turret on the bottling line.” (Curtis Phillips, Wine Business Monthly, March, 2013)

bottles

Furthermore, WiVi is California’s largest industry networking opportunity south of San Francisco, with social events like the WiVi launch party, the evening of March 17, and an exhibitor-sponsored luncheon the afternoon of March 18. Additional networking opportunities will be announced as they are scheduled.

Registration for WiVi is open to the public and tickets can be purchased online at http://www.WiViCentralCoast.com. One- and two-day general registrations tickets and tradeshow-only tickets will be available online beginning January 6th. Early registration discounts and special discounted prices for wine industry association members are available through February 28, 2015, as well as free tradeshow passes for association members. For more information about WiVi, please visit http://www.WiViCentralCoast.com, email info@wivicentralcoast.com or call (888) 974-WIVI (9484).

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TRAVEL: Our own Nathan Haydon voyages Down Under.

Here at Parker Sanpei, wanderlust looms large. Our team is constantly buzzing about favorite sites, tastes, people and experiences we’ve enjoyed while on the road….as well as plans for future travels. In December, our own Account Assistant, Nathan Haydon, took to the skies in search of adventure in Australia – and found it. Here he describes the trip in his own words.

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My trip began in the northeastern town of Cairns, Queensland, where we embarked upon a tour of the Daintree Rainforest through blistering heat and humidity unsuitable for the average Californian. But this trip was anything but average. The following day we set sail to one of the Seven Wonders of the World…the Great Barrier Reef. We visited the Milln Reef, approximately 60km off shore. Without hesitation we geared up; grabbing our tanks and barely fitting our masks, and fins before taking the plunge into the ocean blue. Our SCUBA guide navigated our way around this wondrous landmark. Weaving through the maze we gazed upon sea turtles, barracuda, tropical fish, and manta rays that could seemingly swallow me whole. Truly a spectacle that many will never have the opportunity to see; take me back.

Next I traveled south to Fraser Island, home of the last pack of truly wild dingoes, on a 4 day off-road camping excursion. Here I had the privilege of visiting historic landmarks, fresh water creeks, “Champagne Pools,” and even the amazing Lake McKenzie; with sand so pure and fine you can actually brush your teeth with it. Oh, it’s also the same sand that was used to balance the Hubble Telescope…no big deal.

I even had the chance to feed some kangaroos and hold a koala (Barnie), of whom I was promptly informed is not a bear despite the common name “Koala Bear.” But he will always be a cuddly little bear to me.

And finally we visited beautiful Sydney, New South Wales. Aside from the amazing food, sights, and history of this city; I was able to attend the world famous Sydney Opera House for their rendition of Jingle Bell Rock. It was my first time in an opera house and I sat in pure amazement, stunned by the talent of the performers, musicians and vocalists. I could definitely see myself living in this town!

I have only two disappointments: one, I only wish I could have stayed longer because there is so much to see everywhere you go, but I suppose this means I will just have to go back sometime soon. (Poor me!) And two, for those of you familiar with “Finding Nemo,” P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney does not exist. I know: I looked for it and came up short. Thanks Disney and Pixar! Haha.

Definitely the most rewarding and eye-opening trip I have ever experienced in my life. I am already planning my next trip, or ‘holiday’ as Europeans call it; The travel bug is real!

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Your 2015 Travel Punch List

Last year, we at Parker Sanpei had a lot of fun developing an international punch list for 2014, and this year, we thought we’d try it again. Here are the places and experiences we are most excited about this year, broken up by season.

WINTER: Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah

sundancefilm-parkcityThis January 22 through February 1, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival will once again draw thousands of film-lovers to experience the release of hundreds of new indie movies. Film festivals are often thought of as private affairs for insiders, but tickets are available to Sundance films at just $20 each – a steal when you consider that the directors and actors in the films take the stage after each show to discuss their work. Add to that the charm of Park City, its accessibility to the Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (just 30 minutes away), and its home to some of the world’s finest ski resorts – and powder! – and you have the makings of a dynamite getaway.

SPRING: James Beard House Dinner with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro, New York City

2011-06-09-minidiningroom3When James Beard, the godfather of American cuisine, passed away in 1985, his colleagues and friends sought to purchase his Greenwich Village townhouse and convert it into something of a performance space for chefs. They enlisted the help of a talented young chef from California, Wolfgang Puck, to craft a multi-course dinner, the proceeds from which would benefit the renovation project; Thus was the James Beard House dinner series born. Today, the James Beard House hosts 250 events each year, one of which will be a dinner celebrating the bounty of California’s Central Coast (Parker Sanpei’s beautiful home) including wines from Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and cuisine from Chef Christopher Manning at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro. The date for the dinner is Sunday, April 27, at 7pm. Tickets are $130 for members and $170 for the public. Reservations will be available mid-January by calling 212.627.2308.

SUMMER: A Taste of Stockholm, Sweden

20100608-lola01Between The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Wallander, and The Killing, the world clearly has an obsession with the dark side of Scandinavian culture of late, and we’re no exception. But what about the bright side? That’s where A Taste of Stockholm comes in. From June 3 through 7, this culinary fête takes place in downtown Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården park with bites from two-dozen of the city’s best restaurants, classes, demonstrations, and performances by top musicians. Afterwards, go back to the dark side with a (Volvo) drive to Ystad and walk in Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps…

FALL: 84th Annual International White Truffle Fair, Alba, Italy

alba-international-white-truffle-fair-italy_57135_600x450Worshipers of the elusive tartufo bianco flock from far and wide to the small city of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont region for the International White Truffle Fair each fall. In 2015, the festival will be held October 11 through 16 with a line-up of international chefs, sensory analysis sessions, wine pairing demonstrations and cultural happenings (e.g. a choral competition and a palio for donkeys in the style of Siena’s more famous one for horses) to tickle the heart of the most devoted gourmands and oenophiles. Just remember to bring your wallet. And you might want to take out a loan first.

 

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TASTE: Gourmet Popsicles

parkersanpei:

This post may seem slightly out of place the week before Christmas, but to be true to our “most popular posts of all time” theme, we had to include these recipes for gourmet cocktail popsicles from August, 2011. Perhaps the Pink Champagne Popsicles would work for your New Year’s Eve party?

Happy holidays, to you and yours from Parker Sanpei!

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

The weather is balmy and the days are long: It’s summer!

While we believe in taking time for ourselves during a relaxing vacation (preferably somewhere tropical and far, far away), we are also realistic and know that not every summer can support a big getaway.  So when we’re stuck at home, fantasizing about soaking up the sun on some distant beach with a cocktail in hand, the next best thing to do is – what else? – channel that inspiration into a delicious popsicle.  We love these new machines like the ZOKU seven-minute popsicle maker that freeze our treats with lightning speed.  So, without further ado, here are the popsicles that we’re making – and tasting – this summer.

ROMAN HOLIDAY

If you like Prosecco – fizzy, bubbly, and a little bit sweet – then you’ll love this popsicle.  Lick this while imagining yourself in Amalfi, watching the waves.

Blackberry Prosecco Popsicles

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TASTE: Heirloom tomatoes

parkersanpei:

Continuing on in our theme of celebrating FOUR YEARS on The Dish, here is our #3 most popular post of all time: a discussion of heirloom tomatoes including recipes for gazpacho, pico de gallo, and our favorite, tomato jam.

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

If your garden is anything like ours, you are seeing a lot of red these days.  Hooray for tomato season!

And not just any old tomatoes.  The latest and greatest varieties are actually heirloom tomatoes: unhybridized, open-pollinated cultivars with flavor concentration and texture to put that wan, mealy tomato in your grocer’s produce aisle to shame.  And with names like “Brandywine,” “Black Krim,” “Arkansas Traveler,” and our personal favorite, “The Mortgage Lifter,” it’s impossible not to wonder about the stories behind these characterful, pretty fruits.  They are living history.

Our friend, Gary Ibsen, ofTomatoFest is our go-to expert on all things heirloom tomato.  For this season, Gary offered a whopping 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomato seeds from his online shop, and every single seed was harvested by hand at the TomatoFest Farm.  That means he personally tastes every single tomato plant on…

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Plumping up for Fat Tuesday

parkersanpei:

Keeping with our celebration of FOUR YEARS blogging with The Dish, we are re-posting our all-time most popular posts, including this history of Mardi Gras (which ends with a recipe for King Cake). Enjoy (again)!

Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:

I didn’t grow up celebrating Mardi Gras.  All it’s ever really meant to me is New Orleans, debauchery, beads, and college kids throwing up on my front lawn. 

But lately I’ve been intrigued by the roots of this strange holiday that’s celebrated the world over.  This year’s festivities take place this coming Tuesday, March 8th.  So, in preparation, here is a little history, care of my own curiosity and The History Channel website.

First, the origins of Mardi Gras:

According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance…

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