Bringing the Rhone to Paso Robles
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Tablas Creek Vineyard, a pioneer of California's Rhone movement, is the result of a decades-long friendship between the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands. In 1989, the partners purchased a 120-acre property in the rugged Adelaida District of west Paso Robles for its similarities to Châteauneuf du Pape: limestone soils and a favorable Mediterranean climate. They immediately began what would be a decade-long process of importing and propagating the traditional varietals grown at Beaucastel, which they use at their own organic estate vineyard and also made available to more than 600 vineyards and wineries around the west coast.
Tablas Creek’s wine production begins at their limestone-rich 120-acre organic estate vineyard, where vineyard practices emphasize dry farming and seek to maximize the expression of place. Since 2010, Biodynamic techniques have been incorporated and include an on-site mixed herd of sheep, alpacas and two guard donkeys that graze the cover crops while fertilizing the vineyard. The vineyard achieved Demeter Biodynamic certification in 2017. Winemaking is done entirely with native yeasts and aging of the reds and many whites is completed in 1200-gallon French oak foudres. Tablas Creek follows the centuries-old Châteauneuf du Pape tradition of blending to produce wines with complexity and balance while maximizing the expression of its unique terroir. The winery’s collection of Rhone-style red, white and rosé blends and varietal wines is available at the tasting room and at select restaurants and wine shops.
As Tablas Creek celebrates its 30th anniversary, the winery remains focused on the future. Muscardin, the 14th and final grape from the Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape collection, was grafted into the vineyard this summer, while three other new grapes (Bourboulenc, Cinsault, and Vaccarese) were harvested for the first time. Just as exciting, Tablas Creek was selected to be the pilot vineyard in the new Regenerative Organic certification, through which they hope to provide an example of how the wine community can lead the way to a more sustainable, more delicious future.