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.
Join founders Robert and Barbara Haas and Winemaker Neil Collins on an intimate river cruise up the Rhone Valley from Avignon to Lyon August 2-9, 2015. Daily shore tours include a behind-the-scenes visit to Chateau de Beaucastel. Details »
We are thrilled that both our 2013 Dianthus and 2013 Patelin de Tablas Rosé received 91 points from Wine Advocate, as well as recommendations from the Wine Spectator and from the New York Times. We expect both to be out of stock by August, so if you want some, act soon. Order » Browse recent press »
July 25, 2014
By Robert Haas
Two old northern Rhône wines with our roast pork loin last night reminded me of the pleasures of the Rhône River. Barbara and I are very much looking forward to joining Neil and Marcy and sharing our experience with our fellow cruise guests next August. Read More »