Tablas Creek

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The Côtes de Tablas wines are aimed at more of a Côtes du Rhône style, while the Esprit wines are more of a Beaucastel style. 
35% of the Tablas Creek production is sold in California.


2005 Côtes de Tablas Blanc, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyard, 13.9%
All estate wine, from tank by tank selection.  An interesting nose with some herbes de provence notes.  Full, and a bit straightforward on the palate.  Very long and deep. 

2005 Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyard, 15.3%
A light, fragrant, floral nose.  Quite delicate on the palate with really good balance.  Really nice and elegant, especially at such a high alcohol level: I would never guess this was over 15% abv.  There are some marked apple flavours.

2004 Roussanne, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.3%
All the roussanne wines (including the Esprit blanc) are held for six months more ageing.  This is partly barrel fermented and part in stainless steel.
This has a minerally, nutty nose with quite moderated roussanne characteristics.  The minerally notes recur on the palate too.  This is a very interesting wine with lots of quite character.  It actually seems quite French.

2004 Esprit Blanc, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.7%
The Esprit blanc is always based on roussanne, but the proportion varies each year between 45% and 75%: the 2004 is 65% roussanne.  A minerally, limestoney nose with candied lemons and a hint of garrique.  Very pure and precise palate – very clean and focussed, which Jason Haas puts down to the influence of the picpoul in the blend: they used to use viognier, but now use picpoul, which Jason believes gives it a “laser-like” precision.  A very impressive wine.

2005 Rosé, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.8%
A mid raspberry red.  They have tried making delicate rosés but that hasn’t worked in Paso Robles.  This has spent three days on the skins (hence there is no syrah in the blend).  The mourvèdre is quite evident on the nose with a nice earthiness: a good nose with nice fruit and very good balance.  This isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it isn’t meant to.  Nice.  Very Good (just).  85/100

2004 Côtes de Tablas Red, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards
This is grenache-based (unlike the Esprit which is mainly mourvèdre).  Jason Haas believes that the Californian climate can exaggerate grenache to the extent that it can become a caricature of itself: blending softens the edges.

This has a strong strawberry nose with fruity, smoky notes.  It has a light and fresh character and to me is actually a little reminiscent of the 1994 Beaucastel – in fact it feels quite burgundian.

2004 Mourvèdre, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.3%
This has lots of black fruit on the nose, but none of the stink that can often be associated with mourvèdre in southern France.  Very precise on the palate, and it does feel very Rhône like, but like a young vine mourvèdre.  Jason Haas tells me that the “prettier” mourvèdre grapes go into this wine, while the bigger ones go into the Esprit.  This is an impressive wine.  Very long with a lovely spicy feel after.  Very Good Indeed. 91/100

2004 Syrah, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.5%
The Haas and Perrin families have come to the conclusion that syrah does better at Tablas Creek than at Beaucastel, and they think that Paso Robles might be the best place in California for syrah.

This has perfumed blackberry fruit with lots of violets on the nose.  There is quite a perfumed feel on the palate too.  Very nicely balanced with no jamminess whatsoever.  This seems to me a very pure expression of syrah.  Mid tannins come across on the finish.

2004 Esprit, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards
A gently meaty nose with a bit of leather and plenty of blackberry fruit.  The palate is nicely balanced, initially it’s fairly fresh, but it also has real depth and a fair bit of concentration.  It has a really good structure, but isn’t over-tannic.  What tannins there are are chewy rather than sandy.

2004 was a more spicy year, while 2003 has produced more sunny, open wines.  The reds show a similar profile to Beaucastel: they drink well young, but then close down for – well, they’ve not quite worked out how long they close down for yet!  The 2003 and 2004 reds are still okay now, but the 2002 reds are now very tightly closed.

2003 Esprit, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 14.8%
This is quite different to the 2004 on the nose – there’s much more red fruit, raspberry and mint.  Very open on the palate with lots of elegant red fruit.  There’s some noticeable acidity in this wine too.

2004 Vin de Paille, Paso Robles, Tablas Creek Vineyards, 13%
They have tried other methods of making sweet wines at Tablas Creek, but they haven’t worked.  The grapes for this are dried out for three to four weeks in the greenhouses of the former Tablas Creek vine nursery.  It is mainly roussanne.
It has a very pure, pungent nose with honey, some almonds and a hint of grappa, together with a floral, almost muscatty note behind.  On the palate, it’s pretty luscious stuff.  Nicely balanced, with good acidity with some sweet wheat and corn syrup flavours rather than an obvious fruit character, which makes it a little odd.  Not over concentrated and although there’s that corn syrup flavour, it’s not at all syrupy.  On the finish, some fruit flavours come through.  Very Good.  88/100


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Last updated: 2 January 2008