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.
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 »
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