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Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge 2009

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • W&S92
14.5% ABV
  • RP95
  • RP93
  • WS90
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • RP93
  • WS93
  • CG90
  • RP92
  • RP92
  • WE90
  • RP92
  • WS92
  • RP92
  • RP93
  • W&S90
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5.0 1 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel shows a deep, spicy nose with dark fruit, crushed rock, cocoa and licorice. The palate shows blackberry, black raspberry, and currant fruit highlighted by a persistent minerality, lush texture and substantial but fine-grained tannins. The power of the tannins and the concentration of the wine suggest that it will benefit from short- to mid-term cellaring, and drink well for two decades or more.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
Grown on the calcareous clay hillsides of this estate in western Paso Robles, Esprit is built on mourvedre, blended with grenache, syrah and counoise. Spring frosts and three years of drought reduced the crop by 30 percent, the vintage yielding fruit that feels concentrated, healthy and cool with wild strawberry and dark red berry freshness. Tannins keep it focused along a chalk line of flavor, expanding into layers of spice and fruit in the middle, then tightening again into a clean finish. Decant it for spit-roasted lamb.
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Tablas Creek

Tablas Creek Vineyard

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Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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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.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, fruity, and powerful wines. With 11 smaller sub-AVAs, there is quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

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, and Rhône varieties both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruity, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.

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.

RGL0309137SX_2009 Item# 113509