Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Rouge 2016
The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2016 Esprit de Tablas is a blend of four estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate. The wine is based on the dark red fruit, earth, spice and mid-palate richness of Mourvèdre, with additions of Grenache for forward fruit, approachability and lushness, Syrah for mineral, aromatics, and back-palate tannins, and Counoise for brambly spice and acidity.
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Robert Haas, founder of the wine-importing firm Vineyard Brands, established Tablas Creek in partnership with the Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1989. They planted a vineyard in western Paso Robles with cuttings from Château de Beaucastel, the Perrin’s Châteauneuf property. Those vines, farmed organically by Robert’s son, Jason, and winegrower Neil Collins, have produced some of California’s most elegant and evocative Rhône-variety wines, like this blend of mourvedre (46 percent), syrah, grenache and counoise. It has a rooty spice, like turmeric and ginger, and a gentle clarity to its pomegranate-bright fruit. Patrick J. Comiskey, an editor at W&S and the author of American Rhône, described the flavors as substantial but lifted: “It’s airy, in a positive sense.
Vivid ruby-red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black raspberry and cherry preserves, incense, baking spices and smoky minerals. Sweet, seamless and energetic on the palate, showing impressive depth as well as energy and sharp delineation to the intense red and dark berry, spicecake and violet pastille flavors. Finishes smooth, sappy and impressively long, with repeating florality and fine-grained tannins that add framework and subtle closing grip.
The 2016 Esprit de Tablas is a blend of 46% Mourvèdre, 31% Syrah, 18% Grenache and 5% Counoise—winemaker Neil Collins says there's more Grenache than usual in the blend this vintage. Pale to medium ruby, it has a pretty nose of desiccated roses, fresh blueberries, black and red cherries, loamy earth, sage brush, tobacco leaves and charcuterie. It's light to medium-bodied with intense, earthy fruits, a firm frame and good juiciness on the long, spiced finish. 3,225 cases produced.
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.
Covering the Santa Lucia Range in the northwestern portion of the greater Paso Robles appellation, the Adelaida District AVA reaches from 900 feet to over 2,000 feet in elevation. The appellation does well with Rhone and Bordeaux varieties as well as Zinfandel.
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.