The 2011 Tablas Creek Vineyard Antithesis Chardonnay is Tablas Creek’s twelfth bottling of this traditional Burgundian varietal. In the early 1990s, we imported all our Rhône varietal cuttings from France. At the same time, at the request of a Sonoma winery, we imported the highly regarded small-berry, low-vigor Chardonnay clone named “La Vineuse” and planted 1.5 acres to produce a small amount of bud wood for sale. In 2000, we got our first small crop of Chardonnay.
After tasting the grapes, we thought them so compelling that we made the Antithesis Chardonnay our first non-Rhône bottling, as well as our first single-varietal wine. We have continued to produce a small amount each year since.
Our Chardonnay grapes were grown on our 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard.
Chardonnay thrives in our chalky clay soils (much like those of Burgundy), and the cool nights in Paso Robles serve to balance the warm, sunny days. We chose a terraced north-east facing block above our grapevine nursery for the Chardonnay.
The 2011 vintage was our second consecutive winter with healthy rainfall, but yields were dramatically reduced by two nights of frost on April 8th and 9th, impacting particularly the early-sprouting grapes like Chardonnay. Despite the low crop loads, ripening was slow due to a very cool summer, and harvest roughly three weeks later than normal, beginning in mid-September and not concluding until mid-November. The long hangtime and low yields combined to produce fruit with notable richness balanced by higher than usual acidity, all at low alcohol levels. The Chardonnay was harvested on September 28th and October 4th.
The Chardonnay grapes were whole cluster pressed, and fermented using native yeasts in a mix of neutral oak and stainless steel barrels to preserve the wine’s varietal and mineral character. The wine went through full malolactic fermentation in barrel. It was bottled in July 2012, unfined and unfiltered.
The 2011 Antithesis shows a rich, creamy nose, exceptionally characteristic of Chardonnay with a little sweet oak, pear and crushed rock. The mouth is rich, round and luscious with flavors of pastry cream and preserved lemon, yet firmly dry. The long, mouth-filling finish adds a briny mineral note at the end. Drink now and for the next five years.
Tablas Creek will join the 50 members of the Paso Robles Chapter of the Rhone Rangers for the 2016 Paso Robles Rhone Rangers Experience. This fun-filled and information-rich day will include a "Rhone Essentials" seminar moderated by Esther Mobley, Wine, Beer & Spirits Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, a Vintners' Lunch, and the Grand Tasting and Silent Auction. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
In Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 220) 15 Tablas wines topped 90 points, including 2014 Esprit de Tablas (93-96), 2013 Panoplie (94-96), and 2014 Panoplie (95-97). Read the review » More press »
February 11, 2016
By Robert Haas
In 2002 my son Jason, fresh from a stint in the east coast’s tech world, arrived in Paso Robles and started working at Tablas Creek, focusing initially on our marketing and increasingly on our management. Although Jason has taken over the day-to-day operations here, I'm still working because I enjoy our working together. It's fun. His leadership here and his accomplishments at the vineyard and in the community delight me. Read More »