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A Box of Tablas Creek

So we got this box of six late model wines from Tablas Creek Vineyard several weeks ago, and, as always, we were delighted to once again have the opportunity to taste what’s new from our favorite Paso Robles producer. Everything these folks turn out is exceptional, and they do it in a manner that is always impressive without any of the over-ripe, over-oaked excesses you get from far too many Californian producers, in my not-so-humble opinion.

We gave the wines three weeks in the cellar to settle down after their cross-country journey, and then began our investigation with the two selections of the pink persuasion.

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé Paso Robles, 73% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 6% Counoise, 4% Syrah, 13.0% alc., $25.00: Pale peachy pink in color, with mineral-laden watermelon and strawberry flavors and aromas, more in the French style than Californian; medium bodied, with racy acidity and good length. The minerality is what strikes me most about this wine, as it may be more upfront than any TC rosé I can remember, and that’s a good thing in my book.

TC: The bulk of the Patelin de Tablas Rosé is Grenache, picked and direct-pressed into stainless steel tanks with minimum skin contact. The small Syrah component was treated similarly. These were supplemented with saignée lots (bleedings) from Mourvèdre and Counoise in the cellar to provide some color and structure. Only native yeasts were used in the fermentation. After fermentation, the wines were blended and cold-stabilized, and bottled in February 2017. Find this wine

34% Grenache and Tablas-clone Mourvèdre from Hollyhock (El Pomar)
18% Grenache from KamRidge (Creston)
12% Greanche from Starr Ranch (Adelaida District)
11% Syrah and Mourvedre from Derby (Templeton Gap)
8% Grenache from Beckwith (Adelaida District)
7% Grenache from Cass (El Pomar)
6% Counoise from Clautiere (Geneseo District)
4% Grenache from the Tablas Creek certified organic estate vineyard

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Dianthus Paso Robles, 49% Mourvedre, 37% Grenache, 14% Counoise, 14.4% alc., $30.00: Raspberry-strawberry pink; as with previous vintages, considerably more fruit forward than the Patelin, dishing out rich strawberry and raspberry, with some underlying mineral and even a hint something like milk chocolate. More dense than most rosés, with very active acids and good length on the finish, where the mineral shows the most. According to the TC website, this is sold out already.

TC: We take the grapes for our Dianthus from the oldest section of French-source vines at Tablas Creek. In 1994, two years after our French vines had been released from their USDA-mandated quarantine, we had propagated just enough to plant a few rows of each varietal on a hill overlooking our vine nursery. Over the next few years, we used cuttings from these plants to plant the rest of our vineyard. These few rows of high-quality vines ripen later than the rest of the vineyard, so we harvest the Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Counoise together and co-ferment them (on their skins) in a single stainless steel fermenter. After 48 hours, we draw about 800 gallons of juice off the blend, and ferment it dry away from the skins. These lots are then supplemented with saignées (bleedings) from other Mourvèdre and Grenache lots in the cellar. Find this wine

Both of these are very food friendly. Tablas Creek suggests pairing them with salmon, sushi, anchovies, sausages, fried chicken and Mediterranean tapas.

From there, we moved from the pink to white spectrum.

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vermentino Paso Robles, 100% Vermentino, 12.9% alc., $27.00: Clean, medium color, with citrus and green apple flavors and aromas, underscored with some nice mineral. Good intensity and length here, with lively acids, on a medium bodied frame. A quintessential kind o’ seafood wine, this opens and gets even better with a little air. I’d love to try it with some torched mackerel a la Johnny Noodle King. TC suggests enjoying it with nearly any fresh seafood, oysters on the half shell, aioli or pestos, linguine with clam sauce and stir fried green vegetables.

TC: The Vermentino grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel to emphasize the minerality of the grapes. The wine was bottled in February 2017. Find this wine

2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne Paso Robles, 100% Roussanne, 13.4% alc., $35.00: Pale gold in color, with a pretty white peach nose that carries over onto the palate, shaded with underlying minerality. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) Rich, moderately ripe, thick and a bit oily, with excellent acidity and a fairly long finish. A fine, big, young Roussanne that invites more sips now, but will certainly benefit from 5 years or more in the cellar. This will stand up to rich food; TC recommends trying it with lobster and crab, sea bass, mildly spicy foods such as curries and gumbo, stir-fries in garlic and olive oil and salmon.

TC: The Roussanne grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts in neutral 1200-gallon French oak foudres (55%), neutral 132-gallon French oak puncheons (35%) and new 60-gallon barriques (10%). The lots were left on their lees for 6 months, and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. After fermentation the lots were blended, and bottled in December 2016. The wine underwent only a light cold stabilization before bottling. Find this wine

Finally, we transitioned to the big reds.

2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles, 51% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre, 4% Counoise, 14.2% alc., $25.00: Perhaps a little lighter in color than past vintages, with an attractive bouquet very much in the house style; lovely dark plum and berry aromas follow through on the palate with a solid earthy base, and the structure to make its way at least 5 years down the road. Full bodied and balanced; you can drink this now and get much pleasure, especially with grilled red meats, or you can give it some time in the cellar to resolve some of the tannins and evolve into something even better. Another delightful Patelin Rouge, and who’d expect anything less? I tend to like red Rhône blends with something in the grilled lamb universe, and TC likes it with a variety of grilled meats, pastas with meat sauces, roast pork loin, beef stews and beef or pork stir fries.

TC: All varietals for the Patelin de Tablas were destemmed and fermented in open-top and closed stainless steel fermenters as well as 1500-gallon oak upright casks. Only native yeasts were used. After fermentation, the wines were racked and blended, aged in 1500-gallon oak upright casks, and bottled in July 2016. Find this wine

34% Syrah from Estrella Farms (Estrella District)
28% Mourvedre and Grenache from Hollyhock Vineyard (Templeton Gap)
10% Grenache and Syrah from Self Family Vineyard (Templeton Gap)
8% Syrah and Grenache from Starr Ranch (Adelaida District)
5% Grenache from Paso de Record (Estrella District)
4% Counoise from Clautiere (Geneseo District)
3% Syrah from Doce Robles (Templeton Gap)
3% Syrah from Velo (Templeton Gap)
2% Mourvedre and Syrah from the Tablas Creek certified organic estate vineyard
2% Syrah from Derby (Templeton Gap)
1% Syrah from Fralich (El Pomar)

2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Paso Robles, 40% Mourvedre, 35% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Counoise, 14.5% alc., $55.00: Clean dark garnet color, fading to pink at the rim, with a big, rich dark plum and berry nose. Thick, rich and intense in the mouth, with a luscious texture that vies with some significant acid/tannin structure. Big black earthy plum and blackberry flavors show no winemaker’s “adornments of any kind; the pure, beautiful blend is allowed to “speak” for itself, and does so deliciously. Give this a little air and you’ll love it now, but give it some time in the cellar, and you’ll love it even more. It’s got all the goods to go 10 years and beyond. Try it with TC’s suggestions of game, dark fowl (i.e., duck), richly flavored stews, lamb and Asian preparation of red meats (i.e., beef stir fry).

TC: The grapes were fermented using native yeasts in open and closed stainless steel fermenters. After pressing, the wines were moved into barrel, blended, and aged in 1200-gallon French oak foudres before being bottled in June 2016. Find this wine

Reporting from Day-twah,


Related posts:

  1. Two Tablas Creek Rosés
  2. Two Tablas Creek Rosés and More
  3. A Country Neighborhood Red from Tablas Creek
  4. 2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge
  5. Three New Beauties from Tablas Creek

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