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.

All these grape varietals (and more) are available from the Tablas Creek Nursery.

Red Grapes

Mourvèdre grapes


Mourvèdre provides structure, backbone, and aging potential. It tastes of ripe plum and strawberry fruit, with animal flavors of red meat and mushrooms when young, and leather and truffles as it ages. Dark purple-black color.

Historically, Mourvèdre was the most widely planted grape in the Southern Rhône before Phylloxera decimated vineyards in the late 1800s. Replanting was slow, as rootstocks for Mourvèdre were developed only after World War II. Jacques Perrin of Chateau de Beaucastel led regeneration efforts. Learn more about Mourvèdre »

Syrah grapes


Syrah provides firm tannin and aromatics, as well as blackberry and currant fruit. It tastes of smoke, tar, and black pepper. Intense dark blood red color.

Syrah is best known from the the Northern Rhône appellations of Hermitage and Côte-Rotie, where it produces wines of phenomenal elegance and longevity. It is tremendously flexible, and can be made in styles from elegant and restrained through to wines bursting with fruit, in locations as diverse as France, California, South Africa, and Australia (where it is known as Shiraz). Learn more about Syrah »

Grenache grapes


Grenache provides fruit, tannin, and acidity. It tastes of currant, cherry, and raisin, with aromatic spice of black pepper, menthol, and licorice. Brilliant ruby red color.

Grenache (also known as Grenache Noir) is the most widely planted grape in the Rhône Valley. It is vigorous, and at high production makes wines that are simple, friendly and approachable. When production is restricted, Grenache can assume tremendous depth and longevity, yet can still open up tighter, more tannic varietals such as Syrah and Mourvèdre. Learn more about Grenache »

Counoise grapes


Counoise tastes of blueberry and strawberry fruit with spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. It has soft tannins and is a ripe purple-red color.

One of the lesser-known Châteauneuf du Pape varietals, Counoise's appealing spice and soft tannins act as a compliment for the more tannic higher-alcohol varietals such as Syrah. Counoise was first brought into the United States by Tablas Creek, and recognized by the BATF in 2000. Learn more about Counoise »

White Grapes

Roussanne grapes


Roussanne provides golden color, excellent aging potential, and tastes of honey and honeysuckle fruit. It has rose and nutty aromatics, with a rich glycerin mouthfeel and moderate acidity.

Roussanne is notoriously difficult to grow, and has in much of the world been replaced with the more amenable Marsanne. But at Beaucastel, it makes one of the world's greatest rich, ageable whites. Learn more about Roussanne »

Viognier grapes


Viognier is highly aromatic, with a nose of peach, apricot, and violets. It has a mineral mouth with more peach fruit and moderate acidity. Pale pink-gold color.

Viognier is grown in the Northern Rhône valley, and reaches its peak in the appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet. In California, it produces richer, more tropical wines, often low on acidity. It is sometimes confused with Roussanne. Learn more about Viognier »

Grenache Blanc grapes

Grenache Blanc

Grenache Blanc has firm acidity, green apple and citrus flavors, and white flower aromatics.

Grenache Blanc is the 4th most widely planted white grape in France, and its crisp acids complement many of the lower-acid white Rhône varietals. Tablas Creek was the first winery to import Grenache Blanc into the United States, and it was recognized by the BATF in 2003. Learn more about Grenache Blanc »

Marsanne grapes


Marsanne tastes of melon and minerals, and has a golden straw color.

Marsanne is a flexible and adaptible grape found throughout the Rhône valley. It reaches its peak in the appellation of Hermitage in the Northern Rhône, where it is often blended with Roussanne. Its tendency to pick up mineral character from the soils makes it an important piece of many wines which wish to express the terroir of their site. Learn more about Marsanne »

Picpoul grapes


Picpoul, literally translating to “lip stinger”, produces wines known in France for their bright acidity, minerality, and clean lemony flavor.

Picpoul Blanc, the most recent Rhône arrival at Tablas Creek, has thrived in California. In France, it produces wines very high in acid, but in California it adds to this brightness a tropical lushness reminiscent of Piña Colada that is delicious on its own but also an excellent blending component. Learn more about Picpoul »

Non-Rhône Varietals

In addition to our Rhône varietals, we are one of the only California wineries to grow Tannat and Vermentino.

For More Information

More information about these and other Rhône varietals can be found online. Two particularly good resources are the Rhône Rangers and the Hospice du Rhône.


2015 Barrel Tasting and En Primeur Offering

December 3rd, 2016
Wine Club members are invited to join Tablas Creek's winemakers for our annual barrel tasting and sale en primeur of Tablas Creek's remarkable red wines from the outstanding 2015 vintage. Offering wine en primeur is a time-honored French tradition most often associated with first-growth Bordeaux estates.

Join Tablas Creek's winemakers at one of two sessions (10:30am or 1:30pm) to taste the 2015 Esprit de Tablas, 2015 Esprit de Tablas Blanc, and 2015 Panoplie from barrel, discuss the vintage, and enjoy a seasonal dish created to pair with the wines. To make a reservation, please call us at 805.237.1231 x230 or email

Whether or not they attend the tasting, members may order futures at an additional 5% off of the member club discount, typically 25%-30% off eventual release price. Members should look forward to receiving an invitation to the futures tasting and en primeur offering in the mail in early November.  Details & more events »

Tablas Creek News

Vinous: 28 Wines 90+ Points

In Antonio Galloni's Vinous (Sept. 2016) 28 Tablas wines topped 90 points, including 2014 Esprit Blanc (93), 2013 Panoplie (95), 2014 Patelin de Tablas (91) and 2014 En Gobelet (93). Read the review » More press »

Tablas Creek wins 2016 California Green Medal for Sustainability

The CA Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance awarded Tablas Creek one of four 2016 Green Medals for leadership in sustainability. Our practices »

October Featured Wine: 2014 Patelin de Tablas

Each month we feature a wine showing particularly well and offer it at a 10% discount. October's wine is the rich 2014 Patelin de TablasDetails »

On the Tablas Blog

Grapes Two Ways: Oven Roasted Chicken with Grapes and Shallots, Paired with Grenache Blancs

October 14, 2016
By Suphada Rom
Walking through the cellar a couple of weeks ago, I was engulfed by the raw sensations of the place. The sweet yet pungent aroma of fermenting grapes. The music blasting out from the high positioned speakers, reverberating off the large tanks and walls. The complex dance of forklifts moving grapes in, must out, and bins to be cleaned. The intense focus of the cellar team, going about their individual tasks. It's one moment in time, but critical to everything we do the rest of the year. Read More »