Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA
There was one place remaining in our big intro to Paso Robles wine tasting day, Tablas Creek Vineyard. Lori told us it was a must-visit to close out our day and when we found out that Tablas Creek was instrumental in the AVA too, we knew we had to continue tasting. (Rough life, I know). The tasting room opened in 2000 and this winery was the first to plant Rhone varietals in Paso. They are actually the ones who brought the grapes from France through Cornell University. Well now I’m even more excited to taste! As we walked through their front patio, we saw the mother vines of these original varietals. I can already tell this is going to be a great tasting!
We worked with Cindy that day and she told us how innovative the winery is! They currently use biodynamic growing practices in their vineyard and soon they will also be dry farming. This part of California has an interesting environment. Ocean crusted bones and shells in the earth as well as nearby sulfur springs show through in their wines. Tablas Creek is a great resource for all things winery and vineyard related too, check out their blog. Seems like a great place to have on your list of places to visit.
Their main tasting menu contains 6 or 7 wines for $15 but they have many other wines available to try if you see something you are curious about. That was the case when we were there. Since all of us are in the wine industry, we each found a few wines to ask about.
Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2015 (viognier, grenache blanc, marsanne, roussanne)
Picpoul Blanc 2017
Esprit de Tablas Blanc 2013 (roussanne, grenache blanc, picpoul blanc)
Dianthus Rosé 2017 (mourvedre, grenache noir, counoise)
Patelin de Tablas Rosé 2017 (grenache noir, mourvedre, syrah, counoise)
Côtes de Tablas 2016 (grenache noir, syrah, mourvedre, counoise)
Esprit de Tablas 2015 (mourvedre, grenache noir, syrah, counoise)
Out of all the wines we tried, half of them were white wines. Its not all that often that you even find this many whites to try! Our tasting began with the Côtes de Tablas Blanc, a wine with floral, mineral and clean aromas. We both picked up the acid in the wine but I found it to also have mineral, oak and dry flavors. Neil thought this wine tasted like petrol and was a bit syrupy. Roussanne, a wine that is often compared to Chardonnay, is one I take every chance to taste. This white had oak, toast, soft, buttery, caramel and citrus aromas. Neil picked up round, citrus, oak and honey flavors. I thought it was light with an oak flavor, but couldn’t find the buttery caramel flavors that I usually look forward to. I’ve never tried a Picpoul Blanc wine before but Lori did a segment on it for Winephabet Street if you’d like to learn more. I’m always excited to try something new so let’s see what this white tastes like? I noticed mineral, light and honey aromas. There was a good mouth feel, light, soft and tart, mineral, clean, and floral flavors. Wow that’s all kinds of aromas and flavors. I’ll have to keep my eye out for this varietal in the future.
Continuing through the white wines, we tasted the Espirit de Tablas Blanc, the flagship white wine. I noticed the aroma of Roussanne and toast while I swirled the wine. Neil described the aroma as honey, citrus and melon. The flavor was filled with smoke, funk and smooth texture. Neil found it to be rich and balanced with mineral flavors. Next we tried another new varietal, Picardan. I can’t say I’ve had a white wine before that had black licorice aromas, how interesting! In addition to the black licorice, I noticed dry, honey and mineral aromas and Neil added in a lemon aroma. Neil noticed mineral, lemon and oak flavors. I thought this wine was crisp and light with honey and spice. Another wine that I always try to taste is Vermentino, some of you might remember that I tried this wine at the very beginning of WineAndCheeseFriday.com, http://wineandcheesefriday.com/eno/. I’ve continued to taste it out of curiosity. This one had lemon and mineral aromas and Neil described the flavor as lemon and citrus. I tasted fruit and minerals with a crisp flavor and a chalky feel on my teeth. I’d say these are all similar tasting notes to that first time I tried it but it’s worth continuing to taste.
Tablas Creek carries two rosés, which we’ve been really enjoying this summer so we knew we’d be comparing them. We began with the Dianthus Rosé that was filled with light, soft, citrus and mineral aromas. As we sipped it the wine was dry with a strawberry flavor, spice, and a crispness. The Patelin Rosé smelled like citrus and I could feel the acid on my teeth. This wine reminded me of pink lemonade while Neil described it as well-balanced and tasty.
We were getting a bit tuckered out with all this tasting but we were able to squeeze in a few red wines before we wrapped up. Our first red wine was the Côtes de Tablas, which we both agreed had strawberry aromas with a ruby color. This rhone style wine was dry and chalky. The Grenache on the other hand, had dark fruit and earthy aromas. It was a flavorful wine with licorice and dry flavors. We ended with their Flagship Red wine, the Esprit de Tablas. The wine had earthy and licorice aromas with fruity and dry flavors.
If we had begun the day at Tablas Creek, I think we could have spent the entire day. There were so many wines to taste and a few that were new to me. I’m happy we had a chance to try the Picpoul Blanc and Picardan. I’ll certainly keep my eye for these again. It was also terrific to have the opportunity to try so many white wines. Thanks to Lori for including this in our Paso Robles introduction. And thanks to Tablas Creek for bringing all these tasty Rhone grapes to the area!
This entry brings our Paso Robles tasting rooms to an end. I hope you all had fun and will now consider visiting this part of California on your next tasting trip!
Want to see which bottle we took home that day? https://www.instagram.com/p/BpCW-85F6-b/