Tuesday, December 02, 2008
On the Road: Tablas Creek Vineyard
Late in October, I had the chance to visit Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, where some of the best wine in California is made. I went with Jill from domaine547 and Jason Haas, who writes the award-winning Tablas Creek Blog, was our tour guide. After we walked in the vineyards, Jason took us through the winery's new releases. I've got some pictures above, and some tasting notes below. I hope that they encourage you to look for Tablas Creek wines in a store near you and to visit the winery if you are ever in the Paso Robles area. It's a special place.
Please note: most Tablas Creek wines cost a bit more than the wine normally featured on this blog, and retail for between $20 and $45 for the dry wines. The dessert wines (listed first) cost even more (in the $65-$85 for a 375 ml bottle). However, these are distinctive, memorable wines and they are worth the splurge if you can afford it. All the wines described here I would classify as very good or excellent QPR, even though they cost more than $20.
2005 Tablas Creek Vin de Paille "SacreRouge" (find this wine)
100% Mourvedre dessert wine. Cocoa nibs and dark chocolate aromas knock you over, and they’re followed up with flavors of chocolate extract with a cherry chaser. Dusty, cocoa powder finish.
2005 Tablas Creek Vin de Paille (find this wine)
Nectar, honey, and white peach aromas are followed up by applesauce, cream, honey, and peach jam flavors. Wonderful acidity keeps this white dessert wine from being cloying.
2006 Tablas Creek Tannat (find this wine)
Abundant blueberry aromas and flavors are fresh and arresting. As the wine opens up, darker blackberry fruit emerges. Great tannic grip in the midpalate and finish is in no way overwhelming though it does turn a bit drying. If you’ve never had Tannat, this is a great introduction to the grape.
2006 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge (find this wine)
Another excellent, excellent vintage. Mint, blackberry, and plum aromas. Crisp, clear fruit on the midpalate with lots of cherries and chocolate. Much lighter on its feet than the 05, this should age spectacularly.
2005 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge (find this wine)
Milk chocolate and flower aromas are paired with meaty, chocolate, and black cherry flavors. Lots of roasted herb, grilled meat, and plum emerge as the wine opens up in both the aromas and flavors. Acidity and emerging minerality add complexity to the fruit.
2006 Tablas Creek Counoise (find this wine)
I loved this silky yet earthy wine with red fruit aromas and high-toned raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors. The earthy undertow keeps it interesting.
2005 Tablas Creek Syrah (find this wine)
This wine was all about the plums for me. Dark plum color. Aromas of plum blossom, flowers, plum, and roasted herbs. Rich plum and stone flavors and a creamy midpalate with lots of body.
2006 Tablas Creek Mourvedre (find this wine)
A classic, beautiful example of the grape. There was a beautiful perfume of flowers and red fruit, which turns decidedly in the direction of violets as the wine opens up. Rich red fruits in the flavors. Nice, gritty tannins and great acidity. The aromas pick up smoky notes with air.
2006 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas (find this wine)
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise. Apples, cherry, and strawberry aromas and palate. Candy apple notes emerge as the wine opens, as well as sweet apple-spice aromas. Lovely streak of limestone adds complexity.
2007 Tablas Creek Rosé (find this wine)
Mineral and raspberry aromas emerge from this dark wine, as do frais de bois and raspberry flavors. Very nice, rich mouthfeel and a concentration of flavors in the midpalate with a chalky, stony finish.
2007 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (find this wine)
Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul. Rose petal aromas and flavors with golden delicious apple at the core. Great concentration to the flavors, and though this is still very young and a tad acidic, I anticipate it will flesh out beautifully.
2006 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (find this wine)
Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Picpoul. Beautiful pale gold color is indicative of the honeyed apple and honeydew aromas and flavors that have beeswax touches and mineral notes. Perfectly balanced between fruit and acidity.
2006 Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc (find this wine)
Honeysuckle, white nectarine and stone aromas. There is apple and more stone in the midpalate, with a deceptively heavy mouthfeel. Great acidity in the finish.
2007 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc (find this wine)
Melon, white flowers, and mandarin peel aromas and flavors. Nice body.
2007 Tablas Creek Vermentino (find this wine)
Shy aromas of stone, lemon, and apple. Juicy pear and apple flavors, with kaffir lime and white ginger suggest this would be great with shellfish and fish.