Vineyard and Winemaking

Minimizing human intervention to maximize the expression of our terroir.

Vineyard

Tablas Creek’s limestone-rich 120-acre organic estate vineyard is located in the hills north and west of Paso Robles. The warm days and cool nights allow our vines to gracefully ripen the Rhône varietals we grow. Our viticulture practices emphasize dry farming and long-term vine health through cover cropping, mulching, and moderate crop levels. We farm organically, and received our organic certification in January 2003. More recently, we have incorporated many Biodynamic techniques across the vineyard, and converted 20 acres to complete Biodynamism, including our own mobile herd of sheep, alpacas and two guard donkeys, Fiona and Dottie (right). Our goal in our farming, as in our winemaking, is to minimize what we have to put on from the outside, and allow the maximum expression of character of place from this vineyard that we searched four years to find. [more about our Vineyard and Viticulture]

Nursery

Our on-site vinifera nurseries, rootstock fields and grafting and growing facilities were created to provide us with the Rhone varietals we have planted in our vineyards, but we have since 1996 made these high quality clones available for purchase by interested vineyards. Customers who wish to purchase Rhone varietal budwood and grafted vines using Tablas Creek vinifera material can do so exclusively through NovaVine Nursery of Sonoma, California, who produce grafted vines of consistent high quality using environmentally responsible farming practices. [more about the Tablas Creek Nursery]

Grapes

There are dozens of varietals grown in the Rhône Valley in France. 13 of these are approved in Châteauneuf du Pape, with another 8 approved in the Côtes du Rhône appellation. We chose to import the 9 chief varietals of the Southern Rhône for our Paso Robles estate vineyard: Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, and Counoise for the reds, and Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Picpoul for the whites. [more about our Grapes]

Winemaking

We believe that minimum human intervention in our winemaking process preserves the wine’s link to its place of origin. Winemaker Neil Collins, along with the Haas and Perrin families, look to keep our fingerprints off the young wines. At harvest, each vineyard block is hand-harvested selectively, and we typically make 2-4 passes through each vineyard block at harvest. All Tablas Creek wines are fermented using only native yeasts. White grapes are whole cluster pressed, and the juice is fermented in small and large French oak barrels, mostly neutral, and stainless steel. Red grapes are sorted and destemmed after harvest, and the juice and whole berries moved to stainless steel or 1500-gallon wooden upright fermenters. During fermentation, the must is pumped over, punched down or otherwise inundated twice a day. After fermentation, the red wines are pressed, then blended and aged for one year in 1200-gallon French oak foudres (right). As is traditional in Châteauneuf du Pape, we blend our Rhône varietals to produce wines that are more complex, better balanced, and richer than single varietal wines. [more about our Winemaking]

Events

2005 Horizontal Tasting 2/28

Join Tablas Creek's winemaking team on Saturday, February 28th to look back at 2005 with the perspective of ten years' time.  2005 was a big, personality-filled vintage, often robust and tannic in its youth, which has proven to age in a fascinating way.  At this horizontal tasting we'll try 10 different 2005's, from Esprit Blanc to Counoise to Panoplie to Vin de Paille. Details & More Events »


Tablas Creek News

MA Shipping Permit Received!

We are thrilled to announce that we've received our shipping permit from the great state of Massachusetts. Residents of the Bay State can now order wine or become VINsider Wine Club members.  More shipping news »

Antonio Galloni 8/14: 30 Wines 90+

In August, Antonio Galloni published the results of his annual visit to Tablas Creek, and we were excited to receive such good reviews from this notoriously tough grader. Notes included 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 »


On the Tablas Blog

Photo Essay: Green, Green, Green

February 23, 2015
Normally, the sign at the edge of our head-trained Mourvedre vineyard just outside our tasting room is to protect people from a twisted ankle, should they stray off the tarmac. Now, we're worried we might lose them in the cover crop! Read More »