The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2011 Tannat is Tablas Creek’s tenth bottling of this traditional varietal from South-West France, known principally in the Pyrenees foothills appellation of Madiran, but originally native to the Basque region. The Tannat grape has intense fruit, spice, and tannins that produce wines capable of long aging, and it is traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.
When we imported our Châteauneuf du Pape clones, the Perrins’ French nurseryman included Tannat cuttings because he believed the grape would thrive in the rocky limestone soils of Paso Robles. We have planted 3.5 acres of Tannat, and it has indeed thrived here.
Our Tannat grapes are grown on our 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard.
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. 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. Warm, sunny weather during harvest allowed the later-ripening varieties to reach full maturity. The long hangtime and low yields combined to produce fruit with notable richness balanced by higher than usual acidity, all at low alcohol levels. Our Tannat was harvested between October 13th and 19th.
The Tannat grapes were destemmed and fermented using native yeasts. The wine was then blended with 5% Cabernet grown in our nursery block and moved to small barrels where it was aged for 18 months. The wine was bottled in May of 2013.
The 2011 Tannat shows a dense purple-black color and has a nose of blue and black fruit, mineral, smoke, game herbs (sage and juniper), and spice. The rich palate has flavors of black cherry, smoked meat, and bittersweet chocolate with big but ripe tannins and a long, smoky, generous finish. We believe that it will drink well for a decade or more.
You're invited to join us for a weekend-long Wine Festival celebration Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd. Friday, we're pouring at the RESERVE event from 4:00-6:30 then hosting a winemaker dinner at Bistro Laurent with wines from Beaucastel and Tablas Creek at 7:00. On Saturday at the Paso Robles downtown park we'll be joining the Paso Robles wine community for the Grand Tasting from 12:00 to 4:00. Sunday at the vineyard we'll have "brunch style" bites starting at 10am and live music with Shawn Clark Family Band from 12:00-3pm.
We were proud to learn that Tablas Creek Partner/GM Jason Haas was voted by his peers the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year. His father, our founder Robert Haas, wrote this appreciation on our blog.
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 »
April 27, 2016
Think of each plant that's growing in a given plot of land as like a wick, with its roots delving into the soil for available moisture. If we had overabundant water, we might want to leave some surface weeds to keep levels more reasonable. Instead, in our California climate, eliminating competition from grasses and other surface plants is an essential part of our ability to dry farm. Tilling in the cover crop also allows the insects and microorganisms in the soil to start breaking down the surface biomass accumulated during the winter growth into nutrients that the vines will draw from in the coming months. Finally, the loosening of the soil creates an insulating layer at the surface that helps conserve the water deeper down. Read More »