For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SLO New Year

I run. I drink wine. Now that I’m wholeheartedly training for the Wine Country Half Marathon taking place a few months from now in the northern region of San Luis Obispo County in Paso Robles, I’ve turned to the vines for inspiration. Living just a few miles from the picturesque milieu of Edna Valley—a unique wine growing region located in the southern area of San Luis Obispo County where grapes and SLO runners alike are influenced by the cooling temperatures of maritime air—I realize my hobbies go hand-in-hand.

Over the next few months, as my mileage increases, I will continue to plot my running courses along the back country roads lined with acres of dry auburn-colored vines, and will resume my discoveries of the wineries located along the San Luis Obispo Coastal Wine Trail (although not necessarily at the same time). This past weekend I rediscovered an old favorite, stopping in for a tasting at a family-owned winery located in the heart of Edna Valley that produces about 10,000 cases per year and specializes in dry Alsatian-style wines: Claiborne and Churchill Vintners.

Their signature wines, Dry Gewürtrzminer and Dry Riesling, reign as some of my local favorites. I picked up a bottle of their aromatic and spicy 2007 Dry Gewürtrzminer ($18) that paired wonderfully with Latin cuisine served at a family dinner that evening. The distinctive qualities of this deliciously crafted dry wine cut through the spicy (and sweet) layers of flavors in our dishes and left a lingering spicy finish. The more I imbibed, the “perfumed flower” effect from this fragrant varietal softened, allowing the fruit flavors to evolve.

Claiborne and Churchill's crisp 2007 Dry Riesling ($18), left a slight punch of citrus on both the nose and on the palate, and exuded a wonderful creamy mouth feel with a lingering mineral finish. I enjoyed sipping this sumptuous wine on its own but it could easily have been paired with our spicy meal. Their full-bodied 2008 Pinot Gris ($18) brought light stone fruit aromas and soft flavors of the same, imparted a smooth feel on the palate, and finished dry. Try this with seafood pasta.

Their 2007 “Classic” Pinot Noir ($26) splashed a lovely light garnet hue, radiated cherries and raspberries, and left a velvety finish. I know this amazing Pinot with its fresh, fruit-forward effect will be a big hit when I serve it with an upcoming salmon dinner. I ended my tasting experience with a touch of their 2008 PortObispo ($14.50). This thick, rich concoction of Petite Syrah and Merlot resulted in concentrated flavors of plummy, chocolate undertones and an intense finish. Think decadent, chocolate dessert.

As I carb-load over the next few months, my hobbies will continue to take me to new and interesting places in my own surroundings. I will pound the pavement and trudge on foot through the gently sloping hills of Edna Valley, push myself to new limits—all the while seeking out the unique and delicious. I look forward to the unknown; running myself into the ground; and discovering new SLO County wines. As we start the New Year, I hope you will seek out your own leisurely pursuits!

Visit Claiborne and Churchill's "straw bale building," open most days throughout the year from 11 -5.

All Text and Photos Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth in SLO. All Rights Reserved.


Richard said...

good luck with the running!! btw, very weird -- this photo that looks almost exactly the same as the one you just posted of the slo wine trail was also posted today on another local blog ;)

Jess said...

Running through wine country. Sounds amazing. One of my fave runs ever was when I was in Calistoga and we ran along a road dotted with wineries. It was amazing. Best of luck with your training!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the balance: the spirit of the wine and the spirit of the "run!"

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