Paso’s Founder: Tablas Creek (Wines from $17-$50, RP 90-94)

November 19, 2013 Uncategorized  No comments

With much of the focus in Paso Robles going to Saxum’s Justin Smith (justifiably), it’s easy to forget that way back in 1989 the Perrin family, of Beaucastel fame, partnered with importer Robert Haas to create a Chateauneuf-du-Pape outpost of sorts on the far west side of Paso Robles.  After a three year stay in quarantine, they founded Tablas Creek Vineyards with vine cuttings from Beaucastel vineyard.  They still operate a nursery to this day and many of Paso’s Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and other varietals are descendants of those originals from Beaucastel.  Yes, there were plenty of grapes being grown in Paso, but Tablas Creek, and their Esprit de Beaucastel bottling established it as a premium wine region.

Fast forward a couple of decades and starting with the 2011 vintage, Tablas Creek is taking another step forward, removing the Beaucastel name from their signature bottling and calling it simply Esprit de Tablas.  Now, Paso Robles and indeed Tablas Creek stand on their own.  I don’t see this as a slight to the Beaucastel name, but rather a testament to it – wines created in the image of Beaucastel have moved forward to stand on their own.

The 2010 and 2011 vintages of Tablas Creek’s wines are currently in the market and there are several highlights.  These wines have always shown the cooler more focused side of Paso, with a distinctively European style that’s a nice contrast from some of the (also delicious) ultra ripe, massive wines of the region.  This style allows their top Esprit bottling to age very well.  I drank my last 2003 a couple of months ago and it showed beautifully.

Esprit de Beaucastel/Esprit de Tablas

If it’s in the budget, this wine is the one to buy from Tablas Creek.  It’s typically based on Mourvedre like its (former) namesake Beaucastel.  Mourvedre produces exoctic aromas which, when combined with Grenache, Syrah and several other Rhone varietals, result in a complex, balanced and unique red.

Buy Here: 2010 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel $49.95 (RP94)

Buy Here: 2011 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas $46.95 (RP93)

I won’t go into great detail about the other wines in the Tablas lineup other than to say they are delicious across the board.  A highlight is the $17 Patelin de Tablas Rose, which is to my taste, one of the best Roses produced in the US.  You can read a full review of that wine here.

For a full list of Tablas Creek wines available at LA Wine Co., click here.

These prices are all at or near the best in the country and with the $25 Nickel and Dine Wine Case Shipping you couldn’t go wrong building a case of these great wines.

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