Went to three vineyards today, all in the Edna Valley near San Luis Obispo. The first was called Edna Valley, which has a pleasant list of wines on tasting for $5. Through the windows of the tasting room I could see the estate’s vines, rolling on to the horizon. The 2005 Bordeaux blend ($30) was impressive. Next was Claiborne & Churchill, which specialises in Alsatian whites (gewurtraminer, riesling and pinot gris) plus pinot noir and syrah (what I call shiraz). The 2006 gewurtraminer was excellent: dry yet floral, and zippily fresh. Bought a bottle and had it with lunch at Pete’s cafe at the end of the pier at Avila beach. The lunch was memorable: beer-boiled shrimp, crab cocktail and a seaweed salad. Third vineyard was Tolosa. Tasted 6 wines for the $5 fee. The 2005 chardonnay ($22) tasted of limes, pineapple and lemons. It gets 10 months in French oak (a third new), and the toasty flavours mingled well. Bought a bottle. The 2005 pinot noir ($30) was well structured with hints of cinnamon and smokey tea leaf. It gets 11 months in French oak. Finished with a 2005 late harvest sauvignon blanc ($20 a 375 ml bottle). It had a slightly unpleasant funky nose but tasted of apricot jam. Bought a bottle of that as well. Tolosa was established in 1998 and you can see the bright new winemaking machinery through the tasting room windows. Edgy stuff.