Monday, January 6, 2020
Winter White Wines
Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Blanc 2017
Tablas Creek Vineyards was founded by the Perrin family - of Château de Beaucastel fame - and the late Robert Haas of Vineyard Brands. The winery is dedicated to sustainably farming Rhône grape varieties in what is now the Adelaida District of Paso Robles. To try and replicate the Beaucastel estate's renowned quality, the partners imported vines from the French estate - Mourvédre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc among them.
The 2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Blanc is a blend of five of those estate-grown varieties, grown from Beaucastel cuttings. The winery says the Roussanne grapes provide the core richness, minerality, and flavors of honey and spice, while Grenache Blanc adds green apple and anise flavors, a lush mouthfeel and bright acids. Picpoul Blanc contributes tropical brightness and salinity. The 2017 vintage is the first to incorporate Picardan and Clairette Blanche grapes. The former brings elegance while the latter is crisp and citrusy. The percentages break down this way: 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan and 4% Clairette Blanche.
The winery says Esprit de Blanc combines "the richness and structure of Roussanne, the green fruit of Grenache Blanc, the citrusy lift of Picpoul Blanc and the floral minerality of Picardin and Clairette Blanche." All the wine's components experienced full malolactic fermentation for a rich and creamy mouthfeel.
The grapes for Esprit were whole-cluster pressed, with the Roussanne fermenting in oak barrels. The other grapes were fermented in mostly stainless steel tanks, with a little neutral wood. The blend was put back into oak for eight months aging, and it rested another nine months in the bottle. Alcohol hits only 13% abv and the wine sells on the Tablas website for $45.
Tablas Creek recommends pairing the wine with carrot, leek and potato soup, fish with fennel or grilled scallops.
This wine has a nose full of lemons, limes and that good Paso Robles minerality. There is a nutty angle that plays in, too, but not as strongly as I anticipated given the presence of Roussanne. The palate is tasty and ripe, with citrus taking the lead ahead of those minerals and a floral element showing late. It's a great white wine for winter - full, with a touch of warming oak. Pair it with root vegetable dishes or any kind of fish.
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