Founded in 1989 by Robert Haas on the west side of the 101 highway which bisects the West coast and runs through Paso Robles, today Tablas Creek pioneers and leads in Rhone, biodynamic, and social media practices — which is why we are featuring Tablas Creek on this day in September during the 2019 California Wine Month.
Read about these California Wine Month features here: Napa’s Italian grape leader Castello di Amorosa and Charles Krug, Napa innovator and pioneer.
Tablas Creek has some seriously deep roots on both sides of the Atlantic: the winery brings together Château de Beaucastel ‘s Perrin family — one of Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s legendary estates firsts mentioned in 1549 and run by the Perrin’s since 1909 — with the Haas family of Vineyard Brands.
In France, the Perrins pioneered organic farming and the planting of Mourvedre and other traditional varieties. In 2014, sons Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin won the “Man of the Year” award from Decanter in 2014, and induction into the prestigious Primum Familiae Vini (First Families of Wine).
In the US, Tablas Creek has also been a pioneer in organic plantings achieving certification in 2003. Next they experimented with biodynamic practices pitting wines using BD against those that did not.
Biodynamic practices looks at the farm as a complete ecosystem and employs ideas from regenerative agriculture as well as permaculture.
Demeter, which is the certifying body, states that the goal of Biodynamic practices is “to create a farm system that is minimally dependent on imported materials, and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable.”
And these practices make for distinctively wonderful great wines– and in the case of Tablas Creek, wines from the Rhone region which do so well in the warm climate of Paso Robles.
Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas 2016 – 14.5% alcohol – SRP $54
Blend: Mourvedre 46%, Syrah 31%, Grenache 18%, Counoise 5%
I ordered a previous vintage of this wine in a restaurant for Easter dinner with friends years ago, and I still remember this wine. It was that good. One of my friends was a Bordeaux snob and I convinced him it was the best wine on the list to pair with our various dishes. He was amazed– and today it is still a fabulous food wine. This wine got 94 points from Wine Spectator.
Color: Ruby, pretty in the glass, medium density, fuchsia rim
Nose: There’s this term “garrigue” which is the earthy musky quality that I associate with mourvedre and this wine expresses plus I got a ton of ripe fruit, plum, blackberries, maybe even too much fruit! Sue got baking spices right away: cinnamon, cardamon, clove. Then we both started smelling cherry pipe tobacco, with underlying
…earthen notes, like walking in a dense eucalyptus grove, the earth and menthol from the leaves…
There is a bit of rose and carnation. There is a lot going on in the nose of this wine! And it’s wonderful how it develops in the glass.
Palate: Sue first described this wine as juicy. For as big and fruity as the wine seemed on the nose, it has bright acidic fruit on the palate, pomegranate, mulberry, cranberry, with silt on the finish.
The finish has a lovely textural minerality that lingers on for quite some time.
This is a very smooth wine. There is a clean fresh purity to this wine that we feel comes from being biodynamic.
Pairing: The tomato salad went well with this wine as well, but not as good as with the picpoul. We imagined that the fresh tomato would be a great on a pizza with this wine– it would work better with the tomato roasted than raw. Sue sauteed up some garden winter squash, with fresh picked chard, seasoned with Garam Masala, and cardamon– she was inspired to use these spices in the saute because of the spice she smelled on the nose. It worked perfectly. It ended up being her favorite pair of the evening. On the second night with this wine, I wanted to pair it with lamb but I found a beautiful steak to go with it and was delighted. It also worked well with the corn (surprise!) and the squash stuffed with mushroom risotto. My husband also grilled up chicken and it worked well with that too!
This is such a fabulous food wine. It dances and shines with the foods it is paired with.
Great post and photos! I want to eat at your house. Been a wine club member at Tablas Creek since the 2009 release. Still have some of the older vintages of Esprit. Your idea of mushroom risotto is all the excuse needed to pull the cork on the ’09 vintage.d Can’t wait.