Founders’ Reserve is meticulously selected from the best lots in the winery in years without an Esprit de Beaucastel. It is a blend of four estate-grown Rhône varietals: Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache and Counoise. Like most wines of the Southern Rhône, it is a blend of varietals, featuring the meatiness of Mourvèdre, the spice and structure of Syrah, and the generous fruit of Grenache and Counoise.
The 2001 vintage began with a late-spring frost, reducing quantities of grapes by nearly 50%. The summer was warm and sunny, but cool nights preserved the aromatics of the Syrah, while the low yields (1.5–2.5 tons per acre) produced intense flavors and chewy tannins. The harvest began with the Syrah on August 28, followed with the Grenache and Counoise in mid-September, and finished with the last lot of Mourvèdre on October 3.
All varietals were fermented in stainless steel with the use of native yeasts: the Syrah in open-top fermenters, punched down manually, and the other varietals in closed fermenters with pump-over aeration. After pressing, the wines were racked, blended, aged for a year in 1200-gallon French oak foudres, and then bottled in June 2003. The wines underwent only a light filtration before bottling.
2001’s spring frost was hard on all the varieties, but particularly hard on the newly-sprouted Mourvedre. When we blended the wines, we blended a tentative Syrah-driven Esprit de Beaucastel and even held out a few top barrels with which to make a Panoplie, but in the end decided not to release an Esprit de Beaucastel that was not lead by its traditional Mourvedre. Most of the prospective Esprit was blended into the 2001 Côtes de Tablas, while a portion was blended with the Mourvedre-rich Panoplie lots to make our first Founders’ Reserve.
The 2001 Founders’ Reserve shows meaty aromas of white pepper and plum, followed by elegant flavors of roasted meats and licorice, firm tannins, and a long, juicy finish.
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 »