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Seven from Tablas Creek Vineyard

So we got this box of five wines for review from Tablas Creek Vineyard in late autumn, but one of them had been broken en route. Arrangements were made to have a replacement sent, so we put the other four down in the cellar from heck to rest up after their ride across country. When the replacement arrived, we put that one down to rest as well. We really took our time getting around to trying this latest batch, and instead, we started off with two that were left over from a previous shipment late last spring. (That was the one that included the two fine rosés we reported on at that time.) Don’t ask me how it happened that we never got around to trying them when they came, we just didn’t. Anyway, we finally made it through all SEVEN bottles more than two months after we received that box of five with one broken bottle, and I’m happy to report that everything was in order and that they were all of the kind of high quality that we’ve come to expect from one of our very favorite producers. Here are my impressions, listed in the order they were tasted.

2012 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Vermentino, 100% Vermentino, 12.5% Alc., $27 SRP: Clean, medium color; crisp and refreshing, with nice lime citrus, green apple and mineral intensity. Medium bodied and more, with excellent acids and good length. Vermentino is one of those quintessential seafood wines, and this is a beautiful match for Kim’s grilled Ahi tuna and pesto shrimp. (I’m intrigued by the recommendation to pair this with Cream of Grilled Asparagus Soup at the link above.) The grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel. 1300 Cases Produced. Find this wine

2011 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Côtes de Tablas
, 49% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 8% Counoise, 13.5% Alc., $30 SRP:
Clean, dark garnet color; ripe, delicious black plum, blackberry and black currant, shaded with some earth and mineral. Full bodied, smooth in texture and deceptively well-structured; rich and round in the mouth, and really good from the very first sip, but it’s just going to get better with time in the cellar. We enjoyed it with grilled pork burgers, and it’s a great Red Wings and Red Rhônes kind o’ wine. Fermented in a mix of stainless steel and wooden upright fermenters, using native yeasts. After pressing, the components were racked, blended, aged for a year in 1200-gallon French oak foudres; the wines underwent only a light filtration before being bottled in March 2013. 1560 cases produced. Find this wine

2011 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Esprit de Tablas, 40% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Counoise, 14.5% Alc., $55 SRP: Deep and dark in color, with a big, rich, lovely, almost floral nose of plums and berries, both black and red. Flavors echo, turning earthy in a very good way, and while it has that svelte, classy character so consistently found in Tablas reds, there’s plenty of structure here for many years of cellaring. A pretty wine that will get even prettier in years to come; I’d love to try this in about 2021. I failed to record what we paired this with, but TC recommends Pork Loin with Apricots, Boeuf Provencal and Braised Short Ribs, among other things. 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 May 2013. 4000 cases produced. Find this wine

2011 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Mourvèdre, 100% Mourvedre, 13.5% Alc., $40 SRP: Deep, dark garnet, fading to pink at the rim, and not surprisingly, this is deeper and darker than the Esprit. It’s all about big, earthy black fruit, plum, currant and berry, with little of the Esprit’s polish, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it would make a great ringer in a blind Rhône tasting. A rugged wine that does show some of that Tablas personality, but mostly, this is just really fine Mourvèdre that will age effortlessly for 10-15 years and beyond. The grapes were destemmed and fermented using native yeasts in a balance of small open-top and enclosed stainless steel tanks. Three weeks later, they were pressed and moved to 1200-gallon foudres to complete fermentation. Lots were blended in May of 2012, aged for an additional year in a 1200-gallon foudre and bottled in April 2013. 650 cases produced. Find this wine

The following two wines were tasted with a meal that Kim describes in a Facebook post thusly: “Bonus dinner number two from that fab pulled pork – fried kimchee dumplings, set aside, sauteed broccoli, kale, carrots and onions with a big dollop of Indian tomato thokku http://www.cookingandme.com/…. Simmer a few minutes in some chicken stock. Add back dumplings. Freaking good.”

2012 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Côtes de Tablas Blanc, 34% Viognier, 30% Marsanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 6% Roussanne, 13.0% Alc., $27 SRP: Pale gold in color, with a hint o’ pineapple over peachy tree fruit shaded with notes of honey and mineral that add interest and character. Full bodied, rich and a little oily; ripe, but not overly so, with ample acids and a nice lingering finish. The Viognier really sets the tone here, and delightfully so. Components were whole cluster pressed, and fermented in stainless steel, using only native yeasts. After fermentation, the wines were racked and blended, and bottled in June 2013. The wine underwent only a light cold stabilization before bottling. 1725 cases produced. Find this wine

2011 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Roussanne, 100% Roussanne, 13.0% Alc., $30 SRP: With rich golden color, this is a more restrained wine than the Côtes de Tablas Blanc, with rich white tree fruit, a bit of mineral and just a hint of lanolin and pineapple. Full bodied, with good acids and length, this wants food now, and it will improve with time in the cellar, so I’d be patient with it. Whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts, two-thirds in neutral 1200-gallon French oak foudres and one-third in 170-gallon French oak demi-muids. The lots spent 6 months on their lees, and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. After fermentation, the lots were blended, and bottled in July 2012. The wine underwent only a light cold stabilization before bottling. 620 cases produced. Find this wine

2011 Tablas Creek Paso Robles Esprit de Tablas Blanc, 64% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc, 10% Picpoul Blanc, 13.5% Alc., $40 SRP: Medium straw to pale gold in color, with nice, rich white tree fruit flavors and aromas and some minerality that is most apparent on the finish. Full bodied and impeccably balanced, this is nice, if primary and undeveloped. It really wants some years in the bottle to gain complexity and nuance, and it has the depth and acid backbone to easily go a decade or more. Whole cluster pressed, and fermented with native yeasts. The Roussanne was fermented in a balance of stainless steel fermenters, 60-gallon oak barrels, and one 1200-gallon foudre. The Grenache Blanc was fermented partially in stainless steel and also in one foudre, and the Picpoul Blanc was fermented in small neutral oak and stainless steel barrels. All went through malolactic fermentation. The lots were selected and blended in April, and bottled in July 2012.” 2400 cases produced. Find this wine

Reporting from Day-twah,

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3 Responses to “Seven from Tablas Creek Vineyard”

  • [...] was the case with the wines from Tablas Creek we reported on last week, we took our time getting around trying the three latest samples we received from the fine folks at [...]

  • Thanks, George! I always enjoy reading your notes on our wines. I’m particularly excited about the 2011 vintage, which I think is getting an unfairly bad rap in California… Love the combination of intensity and freshness.

    • George Heritier:

      Hey Jason, so nice to hear from you! It’s easy to say nice things about such very fine wines as those from Tablas Creek. That new Petit Manseng sounds intriguing as heck; love that you’ve gone with yet another variety that flies under the radar of most American wine lovers.

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