Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Panoplie 2007
The Tablas Creek Vineyard Panoplie 2007 is a barrel-by-barrel selection of the most intense lots of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah in the cellar, structured for long aging. It is a dense purple-red in color with a rich plum nose, ripe and sweet with coffee and eucalyptus notes. The complex palate shows full flavors of red and black fruit, licorice, pepper, and roasted meat. It is concentrated, dense and elegant with a wonderfully long licorice and spice finish.
Blend: 60% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The top wine of the estate and a blend of 60% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah aged mostly in foudre, the 2007 Panoplie is much more backward, tannic and foreboding than the Esprit de Beaucastel cuvée, which is easy to understand given the higher percentage of Mourvèdre in the blend. Blackcurrants, smoked earth, new leather and crushed herbs give way to a hugely structured, concentrated 2007 that has terrific purity and a rocking finish. Just now at the early stages of maturity, it opens up beautifully with time in the glass and will keep for another 10-15 years, but I suspect have a gradual decline after that. This monumental wine is probably one of the top three to five wines ever made from Paso Robles. Hats off to Jason Haas and the whole team at Tablas Creek for this incredible effort.
Tablas Creek is a pioneer of California’s Rhone movement. Founded in 1989, it is the culmination of a friendship between two of the international wine community’s leading families dating back to 1967: the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands. After a four-year search, the partners chose Paso Robles, California for its many similarities to the Southern Rhone and began the lengthy process of importing vine cuttings, building a grapevine nursery, and creating an estate vineyard from the ground up. Today, the vineyards at Tablas Creek are proudly Biodynamic® and organic certified by Demeter USA.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.