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 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 »
August 18, 2014
Last month I was surprised to read a headline on the industry portal Wine Industry Network titled Direct to Consumer Sales Fails to Lift the Wine Industry. As a winery whose business model works only because of direct sales, I was curious to learn more... Read More »