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.
You're invited to join us for an Earth Day celebration Sunday, April 24 at Tablas Creek Vineyard. Visit the winery all weekend from 10am to 5pm and learn about our organic and Biodynamic viticulture and limestone soils. Taste the wines from the current VINsider Wine Club shipment, and see our biodynamic sheep, alpacas, donkeys and llama! Tours run daily at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Also, enjoy the high-energy sounds of Bear Market Riot from noon to 3:00 PM on our terraced patio.
We were proud to learn that Tablas Creek Partner/GM Jason Haas was voted by his peers the 2015 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year. His father, our founder Robert Haas, wrote this appreciation on our blog.
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 »
April 27, 2016
Think of each plant that's growing in a given plot of land as like a wick, with its roots delving into the soil for available moisture. If we had overabundant water, we might want to leave some surface weeds to keep levels more reasonable. Instead, in our California climate, eliminating competition from grasses and other surface plants is an essential part of our ability to dry farm. Tilling in the cover crop also allows the insects and microorganisms in the soil to start breaking down the surface biomass accumulated during the winter growth into nutrients that the vines will draw from in the coming months. Finally, the loosening of the soil creates an insulating layer at the surface that helps conserve the water deeper down. Read More »