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.
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 5, 2016
By: Suphada Rom
Prior to working at Tablas Creek, I spent three years working at a small French bistro that was adjacent to a chocolate shop, which was also conveniently co-owned by the owners of the restaurant (pommes frites…check! chocolates…check!). I was in heaven learning not only about our menu, but about the chocolates we produced. As I reflect on my time there, I realized wine and chocolate have really similar foundations. Read More »