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A Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc Mini-Vertical

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Because our tastes turn more towards the French models these days, we can pretty much count our favorite domestic wine producers on one hand, and Tablas Creek Vineyard is right there on that very short list. I suppose that might be expected, given the collaboration of families Haas and Perrin, but it wouldn’t make a bit of difference who was involved if the wines were just all right, or worse, hit-and-miss. Happily, such is not the case; they are consistently brilliant, and we’re always happy to have anything they make in our glasses. Our friend Anne Keller obliged us in that regard recently by opening three vintages of Tablas Creek’s flagship white Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc for our enjoyment, and enjoy them we did!

2001 Tablas Creek Vineyard Paso Robles Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, 44% Roussanne, 22% Viognier, 18% Grenache Blanc, 16% Marsanne, 13.8% alc.: Clean medium straw color, with a tinge of lemon; lovely flavors and aromas of chalky mineral, white tree fruit and lanolin. Full bodied, with excellent balance, acidity and length. In a great place right now, showing a definite “sense of place,” with plenty of depth for further development. A terrific example of why you should give these time in the cellar, because it really DOES make a difference. Find this wine

2006 Tablas Creek Vineyard Paso Robles Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, 65% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 5% Picpoul Blanc, 13.5% alc.: Pretty medium straw-to-pale gold in color; a bit less mineral and a little more focused fruit than the ’01 shows, with white peach, green apple, a hint o’ lime and and some subtle mineral. Ripe, but not excessively so, being more sleek and less plump than the ’01; full bodied and well-balanced, with excellent acids and length. A tasty glass o’ wine, though not yet at peak, with many years of development ahead of it. Find this wine

2007 Tablas Creek Vineyard Paso Robles Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, 68% Roussanne, 22% Grenache Blanc, 10% Picpoul Blanc, 13.5% alc.: Clean, pale gold color; showing a bit more citrus, and riper than the ’06 and ’01, and obviously the youngest of the three. Clean, fairly crisp citrus/lime, white tree fruit and green apple character, underscored with subtle minerality. Full bodied, sleek and well-structured for many years in the cellar, but not at all hard to enjoy right now. Find this wine

The difference between the ’01 and the two younger models is rather obvious, and the inclusion of the Marsanne and Viognier in the older selection seemed to me to be the prime suspects as to why that is. I asked Tablas Creek General Manager Jason Haas if he’d care to share any observations on the matter, and here’s what he had to say.

“The 2001 was our first ever vintage of Esprit Blanc, and we hadn’t yet really dialed in what we were looking for with the wine. So, it followed the model, more or less, of what we’d done with our previous whites and included the best lots of all the different white varietals. As we refined the model starting in 2002, we decided that the Viognier and Marsanne didn’t really add much to the ageability of the wines, and so split those off to form the core of the Cotes de Tablas Blanc, and left the Esprit Blanc more powerfully Roussanne. This gives the wines more structure and more focus, we think, and should make them more ageable.

“I love how both the 2006 and 2007 are showing now; we’re pouring the 2007 right now in our tasting room because we think it’s showing so well. It’s really rich, but has this sneaky acidity and great minerality that keeps it balanced. Something, as you note, to enjoy either now or later.”

Many thanks to Anne for sharing these three beauties with us, and to Jason for once again sharing his time and insights into the wines of Tablas Creek Vineyard.

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

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Related posts:

  1. 2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge
  2. 2008 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge
  3. Exploring the Beaucastel/Tablas Creek Connection
  4. A Morning At Tablas Creek
  5. Blog Watch: An Interesting Solution for Slow-to-Ripen Grapes @ Tablas Creek

2 Responses to “A Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc Mini-Vertical”

  • George Heritier:

    Howdy Bob! Thanks for the feedback, we appreciate it, as always. Agree completely about those whites, but we like the reds a lot too, as we’ve said in these pages on numerous occasions. If you’re ever going to be in Paso Robles, call ahead and see if you can’t pay Tablas a visit for a tour, it’s definitely worth it. Wish we were down there in Austin with ya, sippin’ on some good wine, white OR red and catchin’ some of the excellent music that is played there on a regular basis!

    Cheers,

    geo

  • Bob Cuozzi:

    Hi Geo & Kim, I have thought from the beginning that the Tablas whites were more to my liking than the reds…but then so have many of the original Beaucastel Blancs vis a vis their rouge counterparts…apart from my fathers two faves…the 78 and the 82 Beaucastel. (The Hommage a Jacques Perrin being an entirely different kettle of mouvedre though 8^)……Now with some aging I will probably come around more to appreciating the Tablas reds but for now it is the numerous blanc bottlings…whether the single varietals or the blends that get my vote.

    Stay warm & safe up north. Cheers from Austin, TX, Bob

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