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.
Even though we don’t produce Zinfandel, we’ll be celebrating Vintage Paso (formerly Zinfandel Festival) the weekend of March 20th. In celebration of California’s heritage grapes, we’ll focus on the dry-farmed, head-trained vines of Tablas Creek and lead short forays into the vineyard to discuss the impact of farming without irrigation. You’ll even get to taste the 2012 En Gobelet among the vines which produced it. Details & More Events »
We are thrilled to announce that we've received our shipping permit from the great state of Massachusetts. Residents of the Bay State can now order wine or become VINsider Wine Club members. More shipping news »
In August, Antonio Galloni published the results of his annual visit to Tablas Creek, and we were excited to receive such good reviews from this notoriously tough grader. Notes included 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 »
February 23, 2015
Normally, the sign at the edge of our head-trained Mourvedre vineyard just outside our tasting room is to protect people from a twisted ankle, should they stray off the tarmac. Now, we're worried we might lose them in the cover crop! Read More »