“No Reservations” Wine Tasting in Paso Robles – Tablas Creek Vineyards

My wife and I do more than our fair share of wine tasting.  We’ve hit all the major wine regions in California (and a few minor ones too;-), along with some tasting in Oregon and Spain.  From time to time we have a wine tasting experience that stands above the rest, and is everything we’re looking for – great wine and commendable service in a relaxed unpretentious environment. It’s those such experiences that are the focus of this “No Reservations” series.  Why “No Reservations”? Because I can honesty say I have “No Reservations”  about recommending the winery anyone who is looking for a great wine tasting experience.  The latest in this series features Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles.

My complete review of Tablas Creek Vineyard, including history, a recap of the tasting experience – including reviews of wines tasted may be found at the American Winery Guide’s website.

Founded by the Perrins (Chateau de Beaucastel) and importer Robert Haas, Tablas Creek produces estate-grown, internationally recognized Rhone varietals and Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blends from grapes including Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne.

Tablas Creek Vineyard Tasting Room

Tablas Creek Vineyard Tasting Room

Tablas Creek is operated in much the same way as Chateau de Beaucastel, with a certified organic vineyard, an emphasis on wines of elegance and minerality, and an ongoing spirit of experimentation. However, for all its reliance on the expertise and experience of the French vineyard, Tablas Creek Vineyard is not trying to be a clone of its older cousin. According to Winemaker Neil Collins, “when people taste Beaucastel, they know it’s Beaucastel. I would hope that people will taste Tablas Creek and know it’s Tablas Creek.”

Tablas Creek Vineyard Sign Haas and the Perrins knew the Rhone varietals they wanted to focus on: Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache and Counoise for reds, and Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc for whites. However, they felt uneasy about the quality of Rhone grapevine stock available domestically and decided to import fresh cuttings of all eight varietals from Chateau de Beaucastel. The cuttings spent three years in a rigorous U.S.D.A. quarantine program before being released to the property in 1993. Over the next decade, Tablas Creek’s grapevine nursery (the only on-site vine nursery of any vineyard in California) would provide millions of cuttings of high-quality Rhone varietals to Tablas Creek, and, eventually, hundreds of other producers around the West Coast.

Tablas Creek Domaine de Beaucastel

My wife and I have been making an annual trip from our home in Northern California to the Central Coast for the last 4 years, and Tablas Creek is at the top of our list for wineries to visit.  Highly Recommended!

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

The 2009 vintage was the fourth varietal bottling for Tablas Creek.  The fruit for this wine come from Tablas Creek’s 120 acre organic vineyard.  2009 was a challenging year due not only to drought, but also to an April frost.  As a result yields were down. Ah…but tough times for grapes, means more concentrated fruit.  According to TCV…

The low yields and gradual ripening resulted in wines with an appealing lushness, rich texture and wonderful chalky tannins.

The grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks with native yeasts.

2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

2009 Tablas Creek Vineyard Grenache

My tasting notes follow:

Medium garnet color with red fruit, spice and slight smoked meat aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, with nicely integrated tannins, and is fresh and focused with cherry, spice, and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish – 91pts

Rating: Highly Recommended

Pair with: Braises and stews made with beef, pork, or lamb, or a grilled steak. On the poultry front; try with roast turkey, or gamier fowl such as pheasant. A personal favorite is pairing it with Paella.  It’s also is a good match for Cheddar, Fontina, or Gouda, or Jarlsberg cheeses.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaCentral CoastPaso Robles
  • Grape Varieties: 100% Grenache
  • Cooperage: Aged in 1,200-gallon foudre
  • Retail: $40
  • Cases produced: 600
  • Drink: now – 2020

This above wine was purchased for review