The 2003 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vin de Paille Quintessence is Tablas Creek’s reserve bottling of this traditional Mediterranean technique for producing dessert wines. Ripe grape bunches are carefully laid down on straw-covered benches in our greenhouses, and allowed to dehydrate in the sun. When the grapes reach the desired concentration, we press them and move the juice to oak barrels for fermentation. The juice ferments until it reaches an alcohol level where the sweetness of the juice is balanced by the acids and mineral characteristics of the wine itself.
In 2003, we dried all four of our white Rhône grapes (Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc) on straw in our greenhouses. We then pressed the grapes and fermented the wines separately. By the middle of the winter, it was clear to us that the Roussanne was progressing in a distinctly different way than the other three grapes, with higher residual sugars, and almost tangible honey and caramel character, and a wonderfully rich texture in the mouth. We made the decision to blend the other three varietals and produce our 2003 Vin de Paille blend from that. We kept the Roussanne separate, gave it a little more time in barrel to evolve, and bottled it as Vin de Paille “Quintessence”. That same year, we also produced a recioto-style, 100% Mourvèdre Vin de Paille “Sacrérouge”
The 2003 vintage was tremendous: warm and sunny, with cool nights that prolonged the hangtime of the grapes and led to wines with excellent acidity. A relatively early flowering, combined with a warm but not overly hot summer produced unusually long hangtime, and grapes with concentrated flavors and a distinct minerality. The Roussanne for the Vin de Paille was harvested in a single day on September 24th.
The wine, after pressing, was aged in a new French oak barrel for 10 months before being bottled in June of 2004. It was released in June of 2005, after an additional year in bottle.
The 2003 Vin de Paille “Quintessence” has a beautiful nose of maple syrup, caramel and ripe pears, with flavors of honey, spice and peach, good balancing acidity and an exceptionally long finish with honey, caramel and mineral notes.
Hundreds of you have joined us for one of our annual blending seminars over the years. If you haven’t yet, let this be the year. Partner Jason Haas and winemaker Neil Collins will lead a barrel tasting of the individual varietals (both reds and whites), and will discuss how we turn roughly one hundred components into the blends and varieties we make each year. Then, you will be set loose with graduated cylinders to produce your own blends. Details & More Events »
From now through the end of April, we will ship any wine order, of any quantiy, to anywhere we ship, for just $10. Cheers! Details & more news »
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 »
April 15, 2015
Ten days ago, I was convinced that we were going to get clobbered by frost in the aftermath of a cold, wet Pacific storm. All the conditions were in place...And yet we made it through. It dropped into the low- to mid-30s eight of the first ten days of April... Read More »