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 us for Paso Robles' annual harvest celebration the weekend of October 16th-18th
All weekend: Visit our tasting room for a first look at our newest Esprit de Tablas wines from the 2013 vintage.
Friday night: Enjoy a four-course, four-wine dinner at McPhee's Grill in Templeton. $105/per person; reservations are essential. Details »
Saturday: Our winemakers will be leading interactive harvest cellar tours 10:30, 12:00, 2:00, 3:30 (20 guest limit). Free to all; no reservations needed. Details »
We are pleased to have been included in recent articles in The New York Times (on creative responses to California's drought) and the Washington Post (on our 11 new AVA's) and to see the attention for Paso Robles. More recent press »
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 »
October 6, 2015
I snuck out yesterday morning to get some photos of the ever-diminishing portions of the vineyard that still have grapes on them. One block that I particularly wanted to see was Syrah, given that it was scheduled to be picked in the afternoon. It was looking suitably autumnal: Read More »