A GRAND SLAM
Tablas Creek Vineyard consistently produces really amazing and well-priced wines that few other California wineries can match. The specialty is, of course, Rhone varietals and their wines are beautifully crafted and very food friendly. Since 1997 they have made balanced and harmonious wines year in and year out. Below is the introduction to my first article on Tablas Creek Vineyard:
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 Rhone 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 – Mourvèdre, 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 its first wines were produced some 20 years ago the quality of Tablas Creek Vineyard wines has been widely acknowledged. Tablas Creek Vineyard was named the number one winery by The Daily Meal where I am on the wine nominating panel and The Underground Wineletter is a regular contributor. The Daily Meal has awarded Tablas Creek Vineyard its highest award twice: Winery of the Year 2015 and #1 Winery in America 2015 (to read the article click here ).
Tablas Creek Vineyards makes wine from their organic estate vineyard. They also mostly buy grapes from other Paso Robles Rhone specialists which are planted with cuttings from their organic estate vineyard. The latter wines are designated Patelin de Tablas. The Tablas Creek wines are available in limited quantities nationally for most of their offerings. The wines are also offered for sale directly from the winery along with special limited bottlings offered only from the winery. They can be contacted at www.tablascreek.com and also have a wine club, Tablas Creek VINsider, which offers discounts and special offerings to members.
The Fall releases from Tablas Creek are, as usual, compelling. There are four whites and two reds. These six wines will make great additions to your cellar and give you an array of outstanding wines to accompany nearly any food from lighter dishes to very hardy full bodied dishes. And, as an added plus, they are attractively priced and delicious to drink. This is a grand slam. Don’t miss these wines! And, yes they would make great accompaniments to your Thanksgiving meal.
2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc
The grapes used for making this wine come from nine top quality Rhone vineyards in Paso Robles. It consists of 52% Grenache Blanc, 24% Viognier, 12% Roussanne, 9% Marsanne, and 3% Clairette Blanc. The production was 3000 cases. Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue the wine has a lovely perfume with a citrus tinge and floral nuances. It is bright and crisp yet balanced with hints of melon and green apple showing a faint floral undertone. This is a wonderful accompaniment to a wide variety of lighter dishes including spicy and citrus accented foods – Outstanding. $25
2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles
This wine is a blend of four estate-grown white Rhone varietals and consists of 43% Viognier, 40% Grenache Blanc, 14% Marsanne, and 3% Roussanne. The production was 1790 cases. This is a really gorgeous wine with great complexity and balance. The color is light yellow with a golden hue and there is a floral perfume with hints of peach with citrus and green apple nuances. Complex and flavorful on the palate, the wine is full and rounded with subtle flavors of citrus and green apple intermingled with floral and tropical nuances. A nice underlying crispness gives the wine definition and a lift on the finish. This is a wine that will complement a wide variety of foods including seafood, chicken and salads – Outstanding Plus. $30
2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles
This wine is made from 100% Grenache Blanc grapes grown on Tablas Creek’s certified organic estate vineyard. This is the 14th bottling of this varietal. Most of the Grenache Blanc grapes are used in the Patelin de Tablas Blanc and Côtes de Tablas Blanc, but because of the unique character of this varietal a small amount is usually reserved for a single varietal bottling. The 2016 production was 715 cases. This is a distinctive wine that is flavorful and complex, yet crisp. The color is light yellow with a golden tinge and the perfume shows hints of green apple and pear with a tinge of citrus. On the palate there are subtle hints of pear, green apple, and melon with a very faint floral undertone. The finish shows a nice persistence and a well-defined citrus tinge. This is a wine that matches well with spicy fish and chicken dishes as well as those with lemon and garlic – Outstanding Plus. $30
2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas Blanc Adelaida District Paso Robles
This wine is a blend of three estate grown varietals propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel Estate. It consists of 55% Roussanne, 28% Grenache Blanc, and 17% Picpoul Blanc. The 2015 production was 1700 cases. This is an exquisite, complex, and flavorful wine with great elegance, finesse, and harmony. It is light yellow in color with a golden hue and has a gorgeous perfume with floral undertones and hints of guava and green apple accented by a very faint honeyed spice quality. On the palate, the wine is rich and rounded with a long finish, yet has a bright underlying crispness. The flavors suggest a myriad of fruits with green apple, citrus, and tropical accents and a tinge of honeyed spice. Delicious now, this is a wine that should continue to develop and evolve over the next several years. It is great with all types of fish, chicken prepared with cream sauce and mushrooms, truffle pecorino cheese, and savory dishes including those with spiciness and garlic. In short it is very food friendly and versatile with a wide variety of full flavored dishes. Bravo – Extraordinary. $45
2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas Adelaida District Paso Robles
This wine is a blend of four estate grown varietals propagated from budwood cuttings on the Château de Beaucastel Estate. It consists of 49% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 21% Syrah, and 5% Counoise grown on the certified organic estate vineyard. The 2015 vintage was after four years of drought and yields were reduced which produced wines of intensity and concentration with good acidity. The production was 2850 cases. This is a really gorgeous wine. It has a deep color and a lovely perfume with plum and blackberry fruit with a spicy exotic tinge. Supple and rounded with loads of black fruit accented by tinges of cedar and spice this wine has an underlying structure that will insure its evolution many years into the future. As for near term consumption, I think this Espirit de Tablas will match well with roast Thanksgiving turkey with dressing and all the trimmings. Other great food matches would include game, beef, lamb, duck, stews, and roasts – Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary. $55
 2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Mourvèdre Adelaida District Paso Robles
This 2015 is the twelfth bottling of Mourvèdre made from grapes grown on the certified organic estate vineyard. Most of the Mourvèdre is used for the Espirit de Tablas each year. However, when there are particularly characteristic lots, a small amount is reserved to make a single-varietal bottling. The 2015 vintage produced 215 cases. This is a really gorgeous limited production under the radar wine. The color is deep with some amber at the edge and the wine has a lovely perfume of plums with cedar and spice and tinges of chocolate. Rich and supple with loads of fruit accented by spice, cedar, and a tinge of chocolate this Mourvèdre drinks well now, but also has the balance and structure to age effortlessly for an extended period – Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary. $40