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 us for the Paso Robles Wine Community's biggest celebration! We'll pour Esprit de Beaucastel at Friday's Reserve Event and a range of new releases at Saturday's Grand Tasting. And all weekend we'll have special wines open at the winery and will be taking tours to visit our herd of sheep, alpacas and donkeys. Sunday 11am to 1:30pm enjoy Chef Jacob Lovejoy's small plates, free with a tasting. Details & more events »
In May, we're featuring our 2011 Cotes de Tablas Blanc at a 10% discount. In 2011, our Viognier crop was cut by 80% due to spring frost, leaving a tiny, intense yield of less than one-half a ton per acre. The resulting wine is rich and tropical, with stone fruits and honey, but at the same time firmly dry, with a very long, saline & mineral finish. Details »
May 15, 2013
Take a look at the seven-line entry of Frank Schoonmaker, America’s foremost wine expert and author in 1964, about terroir. His association, rather than the "somewhereness" the wine exhibits, is more of a taste of dirt, neither elegant nor elevated: "somewhat unpleasant, common, persistent”. My, how things have changed. More »