Tablas Creek Vineyard Review
Address: 9339 Adelaida Rd. Paso Robles,California 93446.
Phone Number: 805-237-1231
Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Paso Robles AVA, Adelaida District AVA, California
Reviewer: Martin D. Redmond
Review Date: 12/21/2013
Reviewer: Martin D. Redmond
My wife and I have been making an annual trip to the Central Coast region of California for the last five years. For the first couple of years, we built our trip around Santa Barbara wineries. But the last few years, our trips have been built around Paso Robles wineries. Tablas Creek Vineyard is the primary reason our focus has shifted from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles.
Tablas Creek Vineyard (TCV) is probably the best known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines. The vineyard and winery is a partnership between Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands and the Perrin Family of Château de Beaucastel in the Châteauneuf du Pape region in France. The families created a partnership in 1985. Thereafter, they searched throughout California from the Sierra Foothills in the north to Ventura County in the south looking for a match to the Mediterranean climate and soils of Chateau de Beaucastel. In 1989, they purchased a 120 acre property twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean, in the hilly Las Tablas district of western Paso Robles. The site was chosen for its similarities to Châteauneuf du Pape limestone soils, similar climatic conditions, and rugged terrain.
The similarities between TCV and the French estate dont stop there. TCV imported select vines from the Châteauneuf du Pape estate to replicate the clonal selection of the French grapes. The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre biodynamically-farmed, organic vineyard.
Tasting Experience:  When you enter the spacious and upscale main tasting room, youre greeted and guided to an available tasting room attendant. The system was designed to virtually eliminate the situation where you wander into tasting room and hope you can get a tasting room attendants attention. Its not obvious to the casual observer, but the tasting room was designed with environmentally friendly building materials including floors made of cork and tasting bars made mostly of beautifully finished bamboo. Once situated at the tasting bar, your eyes will no doubt be drawn to the walls of windows with enormous wooden casks on display. The large wooden casks, which are unusual in California – but common in Châteauneuf -du-Pape – evince the fact that the tasting room is surrounded by a fully functioning winery. In the center of the tasting room is a sculptural centerpiece for merchandise such as wine related books, Provençal linens and food and wine gifts.
Once settled in at the tasting bar, youll be presented with the tasting menu to pick which wines youd like to try. The tasting room attendants are very knowledgeable and experienced. Ive found them to be flexible in terms of tailoring the tasting to the experience level of the taster. For a very cool virtual tour, click here.
The Wines:  TCV has a diverse selection of wines, but they are best known for their Rhône blends. Their entry level wines are the Patelin de Tablas blends, which offer fantastic value. The next rung up on the quality and price ladder is the Côte de Tablas blends. Their flagship wines are the Esprit de Tablas (formerly Esprit de Beaucastel) blends. In addition to their splendid Rhone blends, TCV offers a diverse and interesting selection of common (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache), and uncommon (Picpoul Blanc, Vermentino, Tannat, Counoise, and Petit Manseng among others) varietal wines to tempt your palate. Add to that their small production blends (including the elite Mourvèdre-based Panoplie red blend), a fabulous dry Rose, and dessert wines, and youve got one of the most diverse and compelling lineup of wines youre likely to come across anywhere. We tasted ten wines the day we visited, including for the first time for me, TCV’s dessert wines. All were wonderful. What stood out for me is the harmonious, yet distinctive, character of all the TCV wines.
It was a tough decision, but the following wines made their way home with us:
2011 Tablas Creek En Gobelet A unique small production blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Tannat with meaty, black and red fruit aromas that follow on to the palate along with black cherry, bittersweet chocolate and spice flavors. Smooth & sophisticated.
2011 Tablas Creek Mourvèdre A beautiful wine with roast meat, dried herb, red currant and mineral character. Concentrated and moderately complex.
2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise with supple, smooth mixed berry, cherry, spice and mineral flavors and a lingering finish. Offers wonderful value.
2009 Tablas Creek Roussanne Generous, pear, honeysuckle, and mineral aromas. On the palate, it’s very smooth with compelling pear, nectarine, mineral and spice flavors and a lingering finish.
2012 Tablas Creek Vermentino Loved this charming and refreshing wine. It shows a great citrus, tropical fruit character with an attractive mineral undertone. Looking for a wine to pair with Pesto? Try this one!
Insider’s Tip: Once youre out and about in Paso Robles wine country, options for grabbing a quick bite near the wineries are few and far between. Tablas Creek has a wonderful picnic area with plenty of outdoor tables with umbrellas (which definitely come in handy in the dog days of summer in Paso). Bring your own picnic or pick up a bite to eat in Downtown Paso, and purchase a bottle of one of Tablas Creeks Patelin de Tablas offerings (red, white, or rose Rhône blends) to enjoy with your meal. The wines offer excellent value and are very food friendly. Have more tasting on the horizon? Be sure to take advantage of the large tub of free canteens of cold water just outside the entrance to the tasting room and re-hydrate!