My VINSider shipment hit last Thurs, so couldn't resist cracking:
1. TablasCreekVnyd Esprit de Tablas PasoRobles (40% Mourv/30% grenache/20% Syrah/10% Counoise; 14.5%; www.TablasCreek.com; EB) 2011: Med.dark color; strong plummy/black cherry/framboise/licorice slight strawberry light earthy some spicy/cinammon rather fragrant nose; fairly tart strong plummy/black cherry/Mourv/spicy rather balanced/textured flavor w/ smooth/polished tannins; very long/lingering plummy/black cherry/licorice/Mourv/very spicy slight strawberry finish w/ slight tannic bite; seems a bit on the tight/closed side for a EdB Rouge; a polished/balanced/textured Rhone blend that should go out 10 yrs and more. $44.00 (VIN)/$55.00
And a wee BloodyPulpit:
1. I've followed TablasCreek from the very start, of course. I was very excited when they (Perrins/RobertHaas) purchased land on WestSide Paso for their operation. They brought in most of the allowable Rhone varieties & cleared them thru the Geneva Station I believe. In the early trs, they made a few (unthrilling) wines from purchased grapes. Not sure if NeilCollins was their winemaker back then or not. They also put a lot of energy into their nursery operation and made the various Tablas clones available to vnyds across Calif. They have since outsourced that operation (Nova Vines?) and use the nursery operation for internal use only.
I remember tasting their early Rouge blend and sorta scratching my head in puzzlement. "This it it?? Is this all there is?". At that point in time, Rhones in Calif were supposed to be all about power & intensity. This Rouge did not fit that paradigm.
Then, at dinner at the Casmalia HitchingPost, some 8-10 yrs later, BobSenn pulled out the very first Tablas Rouge (blind). (Gawd...do I miss that guy. Passing thru LosAlamos is hard anymore.) But, anyway, I was blown away by the wine. "This is the Tablas Rouge??" I told Bob. "Wow". He gave me that cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin of his as he unveiled the btl. It made a believer outta me.
This Esprit de Tablas wine is what they used to call Esprit de Beaucastel. They feel that the reputation of TablasCreek is such that they don't need the crutch of the Beaucastel name to sell the wine I would guess.
The EdB/EdT Rouge is typically not a very impressive wine upon release. It is all about balance and elegance and restraint. It is not about power & extraction & alcohol. If Booker or Saxum is your thing, this wine's not for you. Tasted blind, you would probably not be compelled to buy anuther btl. But it is a wine that you can be guaranteed will evolve into something very good down the road w/ age. It's one of my no-brainer purchases every year...simply because I believe.