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 the Paso Robles Wine Community's biggest celebration! We'll pour Esprit de Beaucastel at Friday's Reserve Event and a range of new releases at Saturday's Grand Tasting. And all weekend we'll have special wines open at the winery and will be taking tours to visit our herd of sheep, alpacas and donkeys. Sunday 11am to 1:30pm enjoy Chef Jacob Lovejoy's small plates, free with a tasting. Details & more events »
In May, we're featuring our 2011 Cotes de Tablas Blanc at a 10% discount. In 2011, our Viognier crop was cut by 80% due to spring frost, leaving a tiny, intense yield of less than one-half a ton per acre. The resulting wine is rich and tropical, with stone fruits and honey, but at the same time firmly dry, with a very long, saline & mineral finish. Details »
May 15, 2013
Take a look at the seven-line entry of Frank Schoonmaker, America’s foremost wine expert and author in 1964, about terroir. His association, rather than the "somewhereness" the wine exhibits, is more of a taste of dirt, neither elegant nor elevated: "somewhat unpleasant, common, persistent”. My, how things have changed. More »