Tablas Creek

California, california USA

Tablas Creek was established in 1987 by two leading wine families: the Perrin family, founders of Château de Beaucastel, and the Haas family, owners of the US importer Vineyard Brands. After many years traveling the States together to promote the Perrin wines, Robert Haas and Jacques Perrin agreed that California’s Mediterranean climate was ideally suited to the Rhône’s native grape varieties and decided to establish their own estate.

In 1989, they purchased a 50-hectare parcel in west Paso Robles, where the shallow, rocky and limestone-rich soils are based on the same geologic origins as the Beaucastel vineyards. Located twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Tablas Creek Vineyard is named after the small creek which flows through the estate. The vineyards are on average 450 metres above sea level, where hot and sunny days are tempered by cool nights, resulting in fully ripe grapes with fresh acidity. Tablas Creek took the decision to import cuttings from the Beaucastel estate. They established their own nursery, with grafting facilities, to propagate their cuttings which were used to replant the estate vineyards. The sites are dry-farmed, and the estate has been certified organic since 2003 and biodynamic since 2017. Reinforcing the estate’s commitment to sustainability, Tablas Creek became the first winery to attain Regenerative Organic Certification in 2020. Their intention is to ensure the purest vineyard and vintage expression.

Tablas Creek’s winemaking philosophy aims to produce wines of intensity and character. The juice is fermented using wild yeast in a mixture of small and large French oak barrels and stainless steel, depending on the grape variety. Following the tradition of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wines are blended the spring after harvest. Aromatic whites are settled briefly in stainless steel tanks before bottling, while the Roussanne-based whites and the reds are aged for an additional year in 5,500 litre French oak foudres.

French slang for ‘neighbourhood’, the ‘Patelin de Tablas’ wines are accessible Rhône-style blends. The fruit is sourced from neighbouring sites they know and respect, all of which were planted with cuttings from the Tablas Creek nursery and are farmed sustainably. The different parcels experience the cool coastal breezes of the Templeton Gap and high-altitude influence of El Palomar, as well as the warmer inland temperatures of the Estrella district. The ‘Patelin de Tablas Blanc’ is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Clairette Blanche. Aged in stainless steel, it displays aromas of citrus blossom and white stone fruit with a refreshing salinity on the finish. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and a small proportion of Counoise and Terret Noir make up the blend for the ‘Patelin de Tablas Rouge’. It has a Syrah-driven nose with aromas of black olive and liquorice, and a juicy core of spiced blackberry.

Their varietal wines are only produced in exceptional vintages from the estate vineyards. The Roussanne is aged in a mixture of foudres, neutral oak puncheons and 10% in small new barriques. It has a distinctive textural grip, with layers of honeysuckle, citrus peel and sweet spice. The Mourvèdre is aged for one year in French oak foudres. It is vibrant and spicy with notes of bramble fruit, plum and chalky tannins.

The ‘Esprit de Tablas’ wines are the estate’s flagship blends, modelled on the Château de Beaucastel red and white. The wines are a selection of the vintage’s best lots and produced from 100% estate grown fruit on calcareous shale soils. The Blanc is a Roussanne-based blend with Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Clairette and Picardan. Aged for eight months in foudres, it is a complex wine with aromas of acacia and cinnamon spice, and rich texture. Capable of ageing for a further two decades, the ‘Esprit de Tablas Rouge’ is a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Counoise. It displays intense notes of wood smoke, black cherry and a meaty complexity.

 

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