The 2006 Tablas Creek Vineyard Tannat is Tablas Creek’s fifth 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 the Tannat because he believed it would thrive in the rocky limestone soils of Paso Robles. We have planted just under an acre of Tannat, and it has indeed thrived here.
Our Tannat grapes (and the small section of Cabernet Sauvignon in our nursery block) were grown on our 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard.
The 2006 vintage was a study of contrasts, with a cold, wet start, a very hot early summer, a cool late summer and a warm, beautiful fall. Ample rainfall in late winter gave the grapevines ample groundwater, and produced relatively generous crop sizes. The relatively cool late-season temperatures resulted in a delayed but unhurried harvest, wines with lower than normal alcohols, strong varietal character, and good acids. Most of our Tannat was harvested in one day on October 26th, and the remaining small amount co-harvested and co-fermented with our tiny Cabernet block on November 3rd.
The Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were destemmed and co-fermented using native yeasts. The wines were then moved to small barrels where they were aged for 18 months. The wine was bottled in May of 2008, and we aged it a further 6 months in bottle before releasing it in November.
The 2006 Tannat shows a dense purple-red color and has a nose of tobacco, smoke, game herbs (sage and juniper), chocolate and ripe berries. The rich palate has juicy flavors of raspberry and plum, with big but ripe tannins, and a long, smoky, generous finish. Although the wine is surprisingly approachable (for a Tannat) now, we believe that it will benefit from 3-5 years of bottle aging and drink well for a decade 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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