Churchill Cellars

Owner(s) Ken Churchill, Susan Churchill
Web site www.churchill-cellars.com
 
Link to this site
Ken and Susan Churchill are also refugees from the corporate world who sold their environmental consulting business and moved to the Russian River Valley to make ultra-premium Pinot Noir. Fortunately, they found prime vineyard property on Olivet Road and lovingly manage their one-acre estate Bella Luna Vineyard with sustainable and precision farming. Anthony Austin is the talented winemaker who is a legend in Santa Barbara County. In 1975, the Firestones started Santa Barbara’s first modern-day commercial winery and their first winemaker was Anthony Austin. Austin crafted many memorable award-winning wines for both Firestone and his own eponymous label, Austin Cellars. Currently he is also the winemaker at Sonoma Coast Vineyards. The wines may be purchased on the website.

Reviewed Wines

2007 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.59, 120 cases, $45. Dijon clones 115, 459, 667 and 777. Aged 18 months in barrel. Released March 1, 2010. · Aromas of red and black cherries, balsam and menthol. Moderately rich mouthful of dark red stone fruits, an underlying savory note of herbal oak, healthy, ripe tannins and a big fruity finish. Plenty of fruit front and center, but not jammy and brought into focus with lively acidity. Good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Churchill Cellars Leepin Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.70, 214 cases, $45. Released March 1, 2010. Dijon clones 113, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 18 months in barrel. · Very shy fruit on the nose combined with scents of oak and charcoal. Dark cherry and berry core with an earthy underpinning, sandpaper tannins and a refreshing grip of acidity on the dry finish. Good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.95% alc. (labeled 14.5%), pH 3.56, 275 cases, $39. Aged 18 months in barrel. Dijon clones 115, 459, 667 and 777. Released September 1, 2008. · Moderately light garnet color. Bright perfume of strawberries, Bing cherries and underbrush which fades some over time in the glass with some heat showing up. Tasty flavors of red cherries and strawberries with soft tannins, an appealing lift of cherry fruit on the finish, and exemplary finesse. Good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Churchill Cellars Leepin Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.95% alc. (labeled 14.5%), pH 3.72, 300 cases, $39. Released September 1, 2008. Dijon clones 113, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 18 months in barrel. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Flashy scents of red berries, berry jam and oak spice. Lovely marriage of cherry and berry flavors on the palate with underpinnings of oak, savory herbs and earth tones. A solid wine with admirable elegance. Very good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Churchill Cellars Priscella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.65, 425 cases, $39. Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 from a sustainably farmed vineyard owned by Curt and Valerie Abbott. · The terrific nose draws you in with aromas of black cherries, dark red berries, seasoned oak and tea. Delicious red cherry and berry core with hints of sandalwood, toasty oak and cherry skins ending in a smooth finish with a complimentary grip of citric peel. A charming and easy drinking wine with the most mid palate richness of the three wines from this vintage. Very good. Reviewed July 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2005 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $45, 233 cases. A nine day cold soak with 10% whole clusters. Aged 18 months in 50% new French oak which is air dried for 36 months. · Right in step with the luscious 2004 edition. Terrific aromatics featuring candied cherry, spice, and newlysawn wood. Easily approachable with layers of sweet red Pinot fruit, leather, mocha, oak and herbs. Fine and creamy in texture with integrated tannins and impeccable balance. Will only improve with cellaring. The future looks bright for this young vineyard. Reviewed October 20, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$45. The 1-acre Bella Luna Vineyard is the only one in the Russian River Valley planted with the new Dijon clone 459. · The most striking feature of this wine is the leather and dark chocolate aromas and flavors which are quite unique and attributable to clone 459. Reviewed July 30, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Churchill Cellars Russian River Valley Blend Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 479 cases, $36. This wine is a blend of six Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyards. Clones are Dijon 115, 667, 777, Swan and Pommard 3. 25% whole clusters are added in. Aged in 50% new Tonnellerie Sirugue oak barrels and 50% seasoned barrels. · This is a medium to fullbodied Pinot Noir with a deep, ruby color. Aromas of damp leaves and dark stone fruits lead to fruit-driven flavors. The wine is tight and concentrated at this stage, and although it is fat on the palate, it lacks acidity. As it warms, the nose and finish deliver a little heat. Reviewed December 10, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 124 cases, $45. 15-18% whole clusters. Aging and winemaking the same as above. · The aromatics in this wine are to die for: ripe cherries, vanilla, and Xmas spice. Tasted over a few hours, the wine kept pumping out these terrific aromas and I was thoroughly content just to sniff. It was a nose you could drink. I am convinced that this type of perfume is distinctive and typical of great Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs. The wine is full-bodied and rich with red and black fruits and tea flavors, but the nose trumps the flavors at this point. The mouth feel is luxurious. A slight astringency at the finish will flush out with cellaring. This vineyard is a star in the making and in the same mold as its neighboring prestigious vineyards such as Olivet Lane and Olivet Grange. Reviewed December 10, 2006 ARTICLE »