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Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2008

Rhone White Blends from Central Coast, California
  • RP94
13% ABV
  • RP94
  • CG92
  • WE91
  • W&S93
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • W&S93
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2008 is a blend of three estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate. Roussanne provides the core richness, minerality, and flavors of honey and spice, while Grenache Blanc adds green apple and anise flavors, a lush mouthfeel and bright acids. Picpoul Blanc completes the blend, adding a saline minerality and tropical notes.

The 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc shows aromas of honeycomb and white flowers lifted by savory notes of lemon thyme and tarragon. The mouth shows rich Roussanne flavors of ripe pear, honey and spice, a rich texture reminiscent of coconut and a long, dry, slightly tropical finish. Moreso than many vintages of Esprit Blanc, the 2008 should drink well when young but will also reward time in bottle. Expect it to shine for at least the next 6-8 years.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The flagship white is the 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, a blend of 65% Roussanne, 30% Grenache blanc, and a rarity of 5% Picpoul. This is really great stuff in 2008. The wine displays plenty of honeyed citrus, spring flowers, white peach, apricot, quince, and loads of wet rocks, giving a steely definition to its opulent, full-bodied, yet fresh flavors. This is a tour de force in dry white and Rhone Ranger blends. It’s impossible to know how long it will last, but I would drink it sooner rather than later.
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Tablas Creek

Tablas Creek Vineyard

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Tablas Creek Vineyard, , California
Tablas Creek
The Perrins of Chateau de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, their importer since 1970, founded Tablas Creek Vineyard in 1990. They chose their 1600-foot elevation site in West Paso Robles' Las Tablas because of its chalky clay soils and its climate similar to the southern Rhone Valley. They imported selected French cuttings of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah and Counoise and multiplied, grafted and planted their own vines, which they farm organically. This blended wine, in the image of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, is 100% estate-grown and bottled.

Cotes du Ventoux

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Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

RGL1208137_2008 Item# 101248

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