Tablas Creek Vineyard Spring 2017 Releases

Tablas Creek Vineyard consistently produces really amazing and well-priced wines that few other California wineries can match. The specialty is, of course, Rhone varietals and their wines are beautifully crafted and very food friendly. Since 1997 they have made balanced and harmonious wines year in and year out. Below is the introduction from my first article on Tablas Creek Vineyard:

Tablas Creek Vineyard is a partnership between the Perrin family, proprietors of Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands, as majority partners and French and American friends as minority partners. The search for a vineyard location to grow Rhone varietals began in 1987 and in 1989 they purchased a 120 acre parcel in West Paso Robles some 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here the rock and limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as at Beaucastel and the climate is also similar. The result is grapes that mature fully, yet retain crisp acidity. The vine cuttings were imported from Beaucastel to replicate the clonal selection and assure the quality and genetic source. The vine cuttings arrived in 1990 and planting began several years later. The first wine was made in 1997. Production, both in terms of quantity and number of wines produced, has been increasing steadily since then. Today the planting is complete and consists of 2/3s red varieties – Mourvedre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Tannat. and Counoise and 1/3 white varieties – Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc. The centuries old Chateauneuf du Pape tradition is followed with the varieties blended to produce wines of a unique style and complexity. The concept of blending different varietals to make wines is one that I have always believed would make better wines in California. There are only a few exceptions to this belief and those would include the Burgundian varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Since its first wines were produced some 20 years ago the quality of Tablas Creek Vineyard wines has been widely acknowledged. Tablas Creek Vineyard was named the number one winery by The Daily Meal where I am on the wine nominating panel and The Underground Wineletter is a regular contributor. The Daily Meal has awarded Tablas Creek Vineyard its highest award twice: Winery of the Year 2015 and #1 Winery in America 2015 (to read the article click here).

Tablas Creek Vineyards makes wine from their organic estate vineyards. They also mostly buy grapes from other Paso Robles Rhone specialists which are planted with cuttings from their organic estate vineyard. The latter wines are designated Patelin de Tablas. The Tablas Creek wines are available in limited quantities nationally for most of their offerings. The wines are also offered for sale directly from the winery along with special limited bottlings offered only from the winery. They can be contacted at where you can learn about their wine club, Tablas Creek VINsider, which offers discounts and special offerings to members.

The spring 2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard wine releases are now on the market. This year there are two rosés from the 2016 vintage, 2 white wines (one from the 2016 vintage and one from the 2015 vintage), and 2 red wines (one from the 2015 vintage and one from the 2014). As usual, the wines are all delicious with the 2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé being the best domestic rosé that I have ever tasted.

Rosé Wines

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé Paso Robles

The production of this wine is 3000 cases and it is absolutely stunning. It exudes charm and finesse yet also has complexity and great flavor interest. Made with 73% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, 6% Counoise, and 4% Syrah it has a very light pink color with a golden hue and golden edge. The perfume is incredible with a myriad of floral nuances and a subtle exotic quality. On the palate, the fruit is very refined and shows faint hints of strawberry and guava with a citrus tinge and an intriguing underlying exotic floral nuance. Ever so easy to drink with a long lasting finish, in my book this represents the pinnacle for domestic rosé. Don't miss it – Extraordinary. $25

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Dianthus Adelaida District Paso Robles

The production of this wine is 900 cases. It is made from 49% Mourvèdre, 37% Grenache, and 14% Counoise grapes taken from the oldest section of the French sourced vines at Tablas Creek and is named for the flowering plant with deep pink blossoms. It is light red in color with a pink hue and golden edge. With an intensely fruity perfume of strawberry and cherry, the wine is full and very flavorful with lots of strawberry tinged fruit accented by floral citrus nuances on the finish – Outstanding. $30

White Wines

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vermentino Adelaida District Paso Robles

Here is what I have said before about Vermentino: True confession – I love Vermentino! The Vermentinos from Italy and France (known as Rolle in France) are distinctive and lovely. And, Tablas Creek Vineyard consistently produces one of California's best Vermentinos that is on the same level of some of the best from Italy and France. This is another great example. It is the fifteenth bottling of this varietal at Tablas Creek. And, the production is up from last year at 1250 cases. Very light yellow in color the wine is very aromatic with hints of melon and a faint floral spice nuance. With lovely very pure fruit showing subtle hints of melon and a subtle floral spice quality it is very finessful and beautifully balanced with a nice underlying crispness. Great with a wide variety of lighter foods including fish, chicken, salads, and vegetables this classic Vermentino gets my vote as one of the greatest under the radar white wines in the world – Outstanding Plus. $27

2016 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne Adelaida District Paso Robles

The production of this wine is 1200 cases. Roussanne is a wine of richness and complexity that is capable of aging for a very long time. This is a gorgeous Roussanne. It is light yellow gold in color and has a lovely honeyed floral perfume with tinges of spice and baked apples. With lovely fruit showing apple and pear with a faint honeyed nuances the wine is also lush and rounded with a faintly underlying citrus tinge and a long finish. Delicious now, but no hurry – Outstanding Plus. $35

Red Wines

2015 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles

The production of this wine is 5000 cases. It is made from grapes grown on 11 different vineyards and is comprised of 51% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 14% Mourvèdre, and 4% Counoise. With a deep color the wine has a lovely plum and berry perfume with tinges of spice and earthiness. It has lots of fruit with a subtle earthy spiciness and is balanced and very harmonious. A very attractive wine to drink now, but several years of additional bottle age are likely to yield additional complexity – Very Good Plus/Outstanding. $25

2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Tablas Adelaida District Paso Robles

The production of this wine is 3800 cases. It is made with 48% Mourvèdre, 35% Grenache, 29% Syrah, and 5% Counoise. With a deep color the wine has a gorgeous faintly floral perfume with hints of plum and a kiss of spice. On the palate there is a lot of plum like fruit with floral tinges and faint hints of chocolate and spice with a subtle smokiness. Balanced and very flavorful this is a delicious wine to drink now and for many years into the future – Outstanding Plus. $55

This article originally appeared in The Underground Wineletter on May 5, 2017.