Shortly after the online Underground was launched I visited Tablas Creek Vineyard and I was most impressed. Below is the introduction from the first article:
Tablas Creek Vineyard is a partnership between the Perrin family, proprietors of Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands, as majority partners and French and American friends as minority partners. The search for a vineyard location to grow Rhône varietals began in 1987 and in 1989 they purchased a 120 acre parcel in West Paso Robles some 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here the rock and limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as at Beaucastel and the climate is also similar. The result is grapes that mature fully, yet retain crisp acidity. The vine cuttings were imported from Beaucastel to replicate the clonal selection and assure the quality and genetic source. The vine cuttings arrived in 1990 and planting began several years later. The first wine was made in 1997. Production, both in terms of quantity and number of wines produced, has been increasing steadily since then. Today the planting is complete and consists of 2/3s red varieties – Mouvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Tannat, and Counoise and 1/3 white varieties – Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc. The centuries old Chateauneuf du Pape tradition is followed with the varieties blended to produce wines of a unique style and complexity. The concept of blending different varietals to make wines is one that I have always believed would make better wines in California. There are only a few exceptions to this belief and those would include the Burgundian varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Since the time of my first visit, I have followed Tablas Creek Vineyard wines on a regular basis. Tablas Creek Vineyard is the shining star for Rhône varietals in the Paso Robles area and is one of the best and most consistent of all the wineries in the Central Coast (to read my last article click here ). The Tablas Creek Vineyard Rhône varietals are food friendly, balanced, and just plain delicious to drink! The wines are available through selected retail outlets and direct from the winery through their three different wine clubs (To read more about the wine clubs click here ). I encourage you to try the Tablas Creek Vineyard wines. They are truly special.
Below are notes on the 2 most recent red wine releases – a 2012 and a 2013. Both are delicious!
2013 Tablas Creek Vinyard Patelin de Tablas
The 2013 vintage was the earliest harvest ever for Tablas Creek. It was the second drought year and was characterized by consistent warm weather in the growing season and low yields. The result is many stunning wines including this beautiful Patelin de Tablas. It is made from grapes sourced from 4 regions in Paso Robles and is comprised of 45% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 22% Mouvèdre, and 4% Counoise. The production is 5900 cases.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely perfume with black berry fruit accented by floral spice notes and hints of smoke and chocolate. It is rich, rounded, and supple with loads of berry fruit accented by spice, cedar, and smoky nuances and a soft underlying tannin. This is a wine with a lot of early appeal, but also should age effortlessly for many years. And, it represents really good value – Outstanding. $20
2012 Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas
The 2012 vintage was a classic vintage for Tablas Creek Vineyard with above average yields and a normal harvest starting in early September. This Espirit de Tablas is made from 40% Mouvèdre, 30% Syrah, 21% Grenache, and 9% Counoise grapes grown on the certified organic estate vineyard. The production is 4600 cases.
The wine has a deep color and a gorgeous perfume with hints of cherry and blackberry accented by hints of spice and cedar with a faint smokiness. With tremendous fruit, it is rich and rounded with layers of flavor and soft underlying tannins. And, while enjoyable now, this wine will benefit from additional bottle age and keep for decades – Outstanding Plus. $55