History

Background

Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families, the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands. They had since the 1970s believed the California climate to be ideal for planting Rhône varietal grapes. In 1987, they began the lengthy process of creating a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in the New World. The Tablas Creek Vineyard Partnership was born, with the Perrin and Haas families as majority partners, and French and American wine loving friends as minority partners.

Limestone rocks and soil

The Site

The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal Ventura County in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel. In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles. They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.

The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel. Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.

The Vines

To ensure that the vines at Tablas Creek were of the highest quality and same genetic source of those at Beaucastel, the partners imported vinifera from the French estate. Several clones each of Mourvédre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc were imported. This diversity allows Tablas Creek to replicate the clonal selection of an established French vineyard.

In January 1990, the first vine cuttings were imported from France. Before arriving at Tablas Creek, they underwent a USDA-mandated three year indexing process that ensured that the vines were virus-free; the first imported vines were available for multiplication at Tablas Creek in 1993. New clones and new varieties continue to arrive at Tablas Creek each year. Planting at the estate began in 1994, with 105 acres under vine as of 2013.

The Nursery

In order to multiply the imported vines into the quantities necessary for the vineyard, Tablas Creek constructed its own nursery complex of high-tech greenhouses and shadehouses. There, vinifera was multiplied, grafted onto rootstocks, and gradually hardened off to sun and wind in preparation for planting in the vineyard.

At its peak, the nursery produced over 200,000 bench-grafted vines for planting in Tablas Creek’s own vineyard and for sale to interested growers each year. Although we no longer use the Tablas Creek’s nursery for commercial grafting, we partner with NovaVine, of Sonoma, California, to make available grafted vines and budwood of Tablas Creek clones. Producers who have planted Tablas Creek clonal material include Ridge, Qupé, Bonny Doon, Beckmen, Zaca Mesa, L’Aventure, Holly's Hill, Terry Hoage, McCrea and Stolpman. We have more information on our ongoing nursery program with NovaVine.

Tablas Creek wines on limestone table

The Wines

The “Tablas Creek Vineyard” label debuted with the construction of the estate winery for the 1997 vintage.

Tablas Creek Vineyard follows the centuries old Châteauneuf-du-Pape tradition of blending chosen varietals, which produces wines that are more complex and elegant, better balanced, richer and deeper than single varietal wines. Winemaking techniques, including dry farming, native yeast fermentation, and the use of large, neutral French oak foudres for aging have been chosen to produce wines that are authentic representations of the grapes, place and vintage from which they come.

The red wines, comprising about two thirds of the vineyard’s production, are made from Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise. The white wines are made from Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc. Total production averages around 25,000 cases per year.  Read more about the wines.

Events

En Primeur Tasting and Futures Offering

On December 6th, all VINsiders are invited to join Tablas Creek's owners and winemakers for our 10th annual En Primeur Tasting and Futures Offering. Taste the 2013 Esprit de Tablas and 2013 Panoplie, discuss the vintage, and enjoy a seasonal dish created to pair with the wines. The $30 cost to attend the event is refundable on any en primeur purchase. Register for one of two sessions (10:30am or 1:30pm)  More information »


Tablas Creek News

Antonio Galloni 8/14: 30 Wines 90+

We were thrilled to receive such good reviews from this notoriously tough grader, including the 2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc (92 points; “impeccably refined”), 2011 Panoplie (94 points; "pure elegance"), 2012 Patelin de Tablas (90 points; “a gorgeous wine and a fabulous value”), and the 2012 Esprit de Tablas (93-95 points; "a fascinating Esprit to follow over the coming years"). Read the complete review » More recent press »

Montana opens to direct shipping

We have received our direct shipping license for the great state of Montana. Residents are now eligible to order wine or sign up for one of our wine clubs. Up next? Massachusetts, where shipping licenses will be issued starting January 1st! More direct shipping news »


On the Tablas Blog

Autumn Vineyard Photo Essay

October 27, 2014
The grapes are all off the vines. The days are shorter, with a lower sun angle....on Saturday, we actually got a few sprinkles. Next weekend we're forecast to see measurable precipitation. It's all hopeful for a vineyard (and a region) struggling under three years of drought. Read More »