Posts Tagged ‘Tablas Creek’
Welcome to Simple Hedonisms second annual “The Twelve Days of Wine Christmas” – a series that was a big hit last year. The goal of the article is to share ideas for wine related gifts.
We are off to a late start, and I may be out of pocket in a week, so lets get started, and we may have 2 posts many days.
It’s getting close but its not too late to buy wine and have it shipped as a gift for the holidays, Of course, one can also always treat yourself to a special gift as well.
Tomorrow is officially the ‘last day’ to ship wine and guarantee for Christmas, but if you are a day or too late, don’t fret, especially in California. Besides anyone I know, would be ecstatic to receive great wine a few days after Christmas as well!
Like many industries, this is the biggest sales volume time of the year, and wine is no exception. Many wineries are offering bundles and Holiday packs, that represent a great value for small lot wines – great for a gift, or for your own holiday enjoyment.
I am going to feature a couple of great picks, but do also check your favorite local winery or wine shop.
Wineries – feel free to post yours in comments.
Bonny Doon, American’s trailblazing Rhone producer, and one of our picks for Winery of the Month this year, has a fabulous assortment of holiday bundles.
There are many bundles to choose from ranging from their iconic Holiday Pack ~ Le Cigare Volant Vertical, (including one with Magnums! Feel free to send me a thank you pack!) , the Holiday Pack ~ Le Cigare Blanc Vertical, mixes of both. Is there a Syrah lover on your list – go for the Holiday Pack ~ Syrah Vertical. Send your green friend the Holiday Pack ~ Biodynamic.
Bundles start as little as Holiday Pack ~ Fireside.
Another Winery awarded Winery of the Month and second to none in Rhone wines is Tablas Creek. Right now they are offering a limited holiday package includes a bottle each of two newest signature wines: the 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel and the 2010 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc in a special decorative gift box.
In addition, the offer includes shipping at no extra charge on the gift packs to any address in any of the 32 states they ship to.
Just $95 per pack, and just $76 per pack for VINsider Wine Club members, shipping included.
Esprit de Beaucastel is their flagship, premier wine, you can not go wrong with this is a gift. Click here and hurry before they take it down!
It struck me recently I have been quite negligent in my wine reviews. Somehow I had missed ever publishing a review of Tablas Creek. How could this be? I consider myself a vocal fan, what in marketing and social media terms we refer to as a 'brand ambassador.' The term, which I use regularly in wine marketing presentations, refers to a customer/consumer (generally) that is passionate about a company and its product's and essentially is a walking billboard, compensated in no way.
If I am asked for an opinion on where to taste in Paso Robles – my answer is Tablas Creek. Name a leading US Rhone producer? Tablas Creek. US producer who makes refined, elegant non new world palate Rhones? Tablas Creek. One of my favorite xxxx varietals? Tablas Creek. I frequently gush about them on Facebook, Twitter, give them high scores on Cellartracker (although I often enjoy their wines so much, I don't take the time to pick them apart and don't always record notes.)
I am not alone, many industry writers agree. On a recent trip to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone, I had the good fortune to ride down with Lisa Shara Hall, esteemed Senior Editor Wine Business Monthly and author of Wines of the Pacific Northwest. We were on a tight schedule for HdR and only had time for one stop, to let Lisa experience what I thought was demonstrative of a Paso leader. This is not an easy woman to impress, as you might expect, and she was, as she complimented General Manager Jason Haas, and thanked me later.
I am no Patrick Comiskey (writer, Wines & Spirits, Rhone lover, and working on a book on the history of US Rhones) but I have been around enough to recognize the incredible impact they have had on the proliferation of Rhone plantings in the US. You can read some of the history here.
The history of Tablas Creek and their contributions deserve far more coverage than I am going to put into a wine review, and perhaps I will re-tell their story in a separate piece. They tend to be fairly humble about it themselves, although their website is a wealth of information about Rhone varieties, and one of the best single online sources of information. Jason also publishes a blog on the website. He doesn't promote it heavily nor does it receive the full recognition it deserves – its one of the best written winery blogs in existent in my discoveries, especially if you are a Rhone lover. Jason has also played a significant role (told here) in the growth and evolution of the Rhone Rangers, and its been my pleasure to work with him this year as an active supporting member.
Tablas has played a strong leadership role in the US Rhone movement. Their assistance in helping propagate Rhone grapevines to other growers, instead of keeping to themselves. contributed greatly to the role of Paso Robles as the stronghold of Rhone wines in this country. For this reason, I select Tablas Creek, as the first of my 'Winery of the Month.'
This wine has an interesting origin and a new path for Tablas, that I wholly applaud both in conc
ept and especially in the results. Jason outline the full story in a blog post. While it sounds like a good problem to have, Tablas Creek has run out of wine several years in a row. Growth of sales, combined with drought years double hit them, with a variance as high as 7k cases less production. DTC wine sales have grown to 10k cases a year. As a result, for several years in a row, distributors received less wine than requested. This is not a good problem to have, frustration like this can result in loss of a distributor.
Prior to Patelin, Tablas Creek had never sourced fruit from the outside, it was always estate. Yet Rhone growers in Paso Robles had excess, the last few years, and many of them had planted Tablas clones. Tablas decided to combine these two phenomenon and create a relief valve. By purchasing fruit from top, sustainable local growers, for this single label, they are able to buffer demand in lean harvest years, and have a home for excess fruit in bumper harvests. Its also a few dollars less than their other white blend, Côtes de Tablas Blanc.
The two new wines are named Patelin de Tablas and Patelin de Tablas Blanc. Patelin is French slang roughly translated as “country neighborhood”. Growers were chosen for the care they take in their vineyards, and for the track records of the wines that these vineyards have produced. All are in the neighborhood. The growers are named explicitly on the labels; each wine will list the vineyards that contributed fruit, with the percentage of the wine that each accounted for.
Wine Review – Tablas Creek 2010 Patelin de Tablas Blanc
As someone now making Rhone whites, bottling soon, and trying to figure out my blend, I have huge new appreciation for the complexity, and less available direct experience in Rhone wines making in Northern California that I can refer to. I am working with the same four varietals for my small personal project, and could only hope to achieve a wine of this quality.
While the Côtes de Tablas Blanc. is more Viognier based, with Grenache Blanc as the smallest component, the Patelin Blanc leads with Grenache Blanc (50%), then 33% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, and 7% Marsanne. Whole cluster pressed, and fermented in stainless steel, only native yeasts were used. Bottled in February 2011.
- Viognier from the biodynamically-farmed Chequera Vineyard in the cool Templeton Gap
- Tablas-clone Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc from the Edward Sellers Vineyard in the Templeton Gap
- Tablas-clone Grenache Blanc from the Dawson's Creek Vineyard in the limestone-rich El Pomar region of Templeton
- Tablas-clone Grenache Blanc from Catherine's Vineyard in El Pomar
- Grenache Blanc from the Tablas Creek estate vineyard.
Color: Vibrant, clear, pale yellow straw.
On the Nose: Stone fruit, citrus, hint of floral.
In the Mouth: Be sure to drink this at proper temperature (aka not overchilled) to experience its nuances. For a wine that is $20 retail, it has a lot of complexity. Light, pleasant and fresh, on the front palate, it picks up weight and density in the mid palate, coating the tonque, and finishing with great mouthfeel and lingering acidity, and some minerality. A pleasing combination of lemon, peach, more stone fruit and citrus. Pairs well with a variety of foods due to the mouthfeel and acidity, fish, chicken, paella,
Recommendations: Buy, drink, before gone. Priced like a house wine, drinks like Friday night bottle. $20 retail. (or join Vinsiders Wine Club, $16.) Buy it online. Look for these National distributors. You Bay area people can find it at K&L Wine as well. (11 left, hurry!) 93 Points, Highly Recommend.
Wine Blogger Wednesday (#WBW71) snuck up on me, and a slammed day. I had hoped to write several articles, given the topic is one near and dear to my heart: Rhones Not From The Rhône aka France. As a passionate Rhone Ranger I HAD to write, even if if its one of the last blogs of the day for WBW.
Rhone Wines Popularity Surging in The US
Rhone wines are suddenly getting a huge amount of attention. Paso Robles, the mecca of US Rhones, made the cover of Wine Spectator last month. Wine writers have been pumping out pieces like Jon Bonne’s “.. make way for Grenache”. Grenache Blanc (thats a white grape Sonoma peeps) crushed tonnage doubled in 2009 (I need to see 2010 stats.) Articles on Mourvedre, Syrah and more are more abundant that ever before.
The Rhone movement is everywhere and its easy to understand. There are 22 Rhone varietals, though in the U.S. we commonly see about 2/3 of them. Tablas Creek a leading producer of Rhone wines, and who paved the Rhone viticulture movement, has more under quarantine. We also much to Rhone icon Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard for his tireless pursuit in advancing Rhone wines in the US.
Rhone Wines & Blends
Why do people go Rhone loco once they discover them? Its a huge category of wines, with endless permutations of white and red blends. And for those tired of big over oaked tannic Reds, or white flabby oak bombs. Rhone wines are often more subtle, nuanced. Wine consumers often consume ‘big’ with complex – and if anything its the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong, New World Winemakers can and do screw up Rhone wines. Nothing makes me want to beat a wine maker or owner with a punchdown tool than a lovely Grenache thats been subjected to new oak, over extracted, and the fruit entirely masked. Fortunately the revolution against big wines has been growing as well as more new Rhone winemakers realizing that Carignane and Mourvedre aren’t Cabernet Sauvignon and shouldn’t be made in the same method.
Rhone wines have more diversity across the varietals and give winemakers a huge flavor portfolio to work with, and thus consumers a myriad of combinations and flavor profiles. In Rhone wines, often the Sum of the Whole, is greater than the sum of the parts.
Those of you in the Bay Area interested in Rhones should not miss the Rhone Ranger event in San Francisco this month. Most think of it as just the Grand Tasting, but its two full days of Seminars with wine, a wine makers dinner and auction, and a tasting.
Thus tonight, I present a Rhone blend, from a new producer I recently met. It’s an ever increasingly small place here in the wine world.
Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee
‘Intelligent Design: Wine With a Soul’ is the mantra for the brain/love child of Jim Sloate. The name Wesley-Ashley come from the combination his middle name, “Wesley,” which is an old family nae and “Ashley,” his little girl’s middle name.)
The Genesis of Intelligent Design & ‘Wine with A Soul’
Jim was thinking about the label for his new wine, and one night, perusing photographs from various trips came across the picture of the bike, shot during a trip to Cuba. The bike looked like it belonged in a junkyard. But, it was also very functional, and it had obviously been kept working by a very resourceful person. Then, it hit him that the blends he wanted to make were very much like that bike—multiple components coming together to create something very functional, and even beautiful.
Jim thought – “That’s my label. Now what about the name?” Sitting there at the table sipping my glass, wine in my hand, my mind wandering randomly, it came to me: “Intelligent Design.”
Playing off of the debate between “Intelligent Design” and the theory of evolution, Wesley Ashley Wines asks you to ponder:
is a fine wine is simply the sum of its parts, or is there something else, something indefinable, that makes it truly special? Is a great wine a matter of science … or is it something more?
Jim feels ‘A working knowledge of enology is all you really need to make a good wine, but it takes a bit of the divine to make a great wine. A great wine has a soul.’
I for one, tend to agree…
Review: Wesley Ashley Wines – Intelligent Design Cuvee, Red Rhone Blend
On the Nose: Rhubarb. Spice. Black Cherry. Earth.
In the Mouth: The primary varietal is Carignane (52%) and it’s presence, while not overpowering, is a wonderful base 6 varietals total). Good red fruit, dark berry, earth, detectable all front, mid palate and a nice finish with excellent acidity and food friendly nature. Modest tannins, and 13.8% alcohol. A wine that is great by itself, shines brightly with food.
Rating: Outstanding. 90 points.
Varietals: 52% Carignane, 15% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Mourvedre
Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !
Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting – A Complete Rhone Weekend, not just a Tasting. Learn More & Win Tickets
The Rhone movement is underway. (I am still riding high from the recent Paso Robles Rhone Ranger experience, check out the video.)
The Bay’s area’s own Jon Bonné, esteemed wine writer for the San Francisco Chronicle published not one but two articles over the weekend about Grenache, a rising Rhone star, and such a beautiful wine when made properly. (Winemakers take note, we are not looking for your heavy hand here. Think minimal wine making technique, and Pinot Noir like, not Cabernet.) Some great examples of are in Jon’s article ‘The Chronicle recommends: American Grenache.’ As well as as “.. make way for Grenache” which explains the rise in popularity and nuance.
But Grenache is only one of the many Rhone varietals to be poured at the Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting event. Taste through Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Carignane on the reds; Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc and more on the whites. (Yes my beloved Sonoma-ites Grenache Blanc IS a white varietal – the Rhone Rangers primary goal is – education!) And of course the endless combinations of Rhone blends. At the end of this post is a contest too win tickets to the Grand Tasting – try and bear with me for a few paragraphs of Rhone rambling.
Why Rhones Are Popular, Unique
What makes Rhone wines unique in my opinion, as that while many of the varietals drink very well as a individual wine, Rhones in France are most commonly blended. Each varietal has something unique to offer, and far more variance than the traditional nobel Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet, Merlot,, Malbec etc). The sum of the whole often far exceeds the sum of the parts as they say, and there and almost endless number of combinations and end results when blending, both for red and whites.
Become a Rhone Ranger Sidekick & Save
The Rhone Rangers has launched a new version of its popular Sidekick consumer program. We have eliminated membership fees in favor of a more streamlined process. Sidekicks need only enter their contact information into the list signup form to get priority information about Rhone Rangers events, the opportunity to meet winemakers and growers of Rhone varietals, discounts at member wineries, special notice of member winery events, an information-packed educational newsletter and more.
Membership is free, carries no commitments, and can be cancelled at any time. Click here to become a Rhone Rangers Sidekick! Sidekicks also get a promo code for $5 off.
It Isn’t Just A Sunday Walk Around Tasting – Education Abounds
Many I talk to think of Rhone Rangers SF event as the big tasting at Ft. Mason. Actually thats only one part of it, and this year, I am more excited about the seminars than anything I think. There are 2 seminars on Saturday and one on Sunday, which include tastings. Bonus: Jon Bonné is the moderator.
March 26, 2011, 1:00 – 2:15 PM. Seminar #1 – GREEN RANGERS: SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC & BIODYNAMIC AMERICAN RHONES.
Sustainability has become a buzzword, but it has been an essential part of the practices of many Rhone Rangers wineries for decades. Discuss and taste wines of sustainable, organic and biodynamic producers, and taste wines from each as we explore how and why Rhone producers sit at the forefront of sustainability in American wine. Wineries include: AmByth Estate, Bonny Doon Vineyard, J. Lohr, Landmark, Montemaggiore, Qupe and Terre Rouge.
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM. Seminar #2 – MOURVEDRE ON THE MOVE
Dark, brooding, meaty, loamy, Mourvedre is a grape for Rhone fanatics. Long known for its ability to add structure and age-worthiness to blends, American Rhone producers are pushing Mourvedre to new heights both on its own and in its traditional blending role. Taste six different Mourvedre-based wines from up and down the west coast — both varietals and as leading roles in blends — and learn why Mourvedre is on the move! Wineries include: CORE, David Girard, Folin Cellars, Kenneth Volk, Quivira, Tablas Creek and Tercero
Sunday, March 27, 2011, 11 AM – 12:30 PM. Seminar #3 – WILD WINES AND THE STORIES OF HOW THEY CAME TO BE
Whether it’s a 12% alcohol Syrah, a Viognier made with a month of skin contact, a Rhone blend made from grapes that European winemakers consider suitable only for blending, or a dessert wine made from air-dried Mourvedre, Rhone Rangers producers are pushing the envelope. Come taste these unusual wines from eight winemaking pioneers, as they share with you the inside stories on their wildest wines and how and why they headed off into uncharted territory. Wineries include: Big Basin Vineyards, Caliza, Clos Saron, Katin, Pax Mahle Wines, Stolpman, Tarara and Terry Hoage. Ticket includes VIP early admission (at 12 noon) to the Grand Tasting.
Saturday Night Wine Makers Dinner – Rub Elbows with the Big Dogs
Saturday, March 26, 2011. 6:00 – 9:30 PM. Join more than 15 top Rhone Ranger wineries participating in a walk around tasting of current and library releases, dinner with the winemakers and live auction at Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee St in San Francisco. Catering will be provided by Girl & the Fig (the well-loved Sonoma food purveyor and restaurant, famous for its Rhone-Alone wine list).
Wineries include: Bonny Doon, Caliza, Clos Saron, Folin Cellars, J. Lohr, Kukkula, Landmark, Quady North, Quivira, Qupe, Ridge, Rock Wren Wines, Stolpman,Tablas Creek, Tarara, Terre Rouge, Terry Hoage, Thacher and Waterbrook. Proceeds benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. Attendance limited to 200. Advance tickets only; no tickets available at the door.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 2:00 – 5:00 PM. The weekend culminates with the Grand Tasting, come taste over 500 wines from more than 100 Rhone Rangers wineries. For a list of participating wineries, click here. Sample gourmet foods from 25 or more specialty food purveyors, including cheese, bread, olive oil, charcuterie, fruits and other sweets and chocolates. A silent auction will feature Rhone Rangers wines and wine-related items; proceeds from the auction will benefit the Rhone Rangers Scholarship Fund. This event takes place at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. Attended ZAP? You get a promo code for $5 off.
Make it a Rhone Immersion Weekend with the New Rhone Rangers Weekend Pass
New this year! Spend a weekend with the Rhone Rangers! The weekend pass ticket, new for includes tickets to all three educational seminars with early VIP admission (with the trade) to the Grand Tasting on Sunday. And the $150 price is a $40 savings over the price of the individual tickets. Winemaker dinner not included. Limited availability. TICKETS: $150/each.
OK OK – How do I Enter to Win Tickets Already?
It couldn’t be easier. Simple enter in comments one of three things:
- Your favorite Rhone Ranger member winery, and why. (List here.)
- Your favorite Rhone varietal or blend (Syrah, GSM, White Rhone blend etc)
OR (I told you this was easy)
- What varietal or blend would you be most excited to taste at the event.
Contest ends this Thursday night. Two winners will be drawn and announced then.
I will be streaming ‘live’ both days at the event. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and the Twitter hashtag #RRSF (hint, you can just click that hashtag and follow on the web, use of Twitter not required!)
Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !
Tick Tock, time is running out on the Wine Clock, although in my opinion and experience its acceptable to ship wine presents right through the New Year. Technically the 12 days of Christmas goes until January 6th!
Its not too late to order online and ship two day to get wine to your special someone, parent, boss, or (of age) child.
On a quick road tip yesterday to Paso Robles for barrel tasting with Rhone giant Tablas Creek, I was in awe as the UPS guy picked up two pallets of wine gift boxes, and realized was inspired to share two of my personal favorite small producers, who’s wines are sure to please everyone, and are literally flying off the shelves.
“Shipping included” specials abound around now. I am going to highlight offers of two of my personal favorites, because I know they are open, staffed and equipped to handle the influx and distribution. Small wineries may be closed, but best to check (suggest a live call) with your favorite winery or wine store.
If you aren’t familiar with Tablas Creek, this Paso Robles producer is a leader in the US evolution of Rhone varietals, and has helped further the cause both through the extensive viticulture program as well as their incredible wines, and played a major role in making Paso Robles the dominant force in Rhone wines.
Their holiday gift web page has a number of great ideas, but the one flying out the door is the 2010 Holiday Wine Gift Pack, of their two flagship blends the 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel and the 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc in a special decorative gift box. They are including shipping at no extra charge on the gift packs to any address in any of the 32 states can ship to.
Only $90 per pack, and just $72 per pack for VINsider Wine Club members, (shipping included). Orders to California will still make it today. For others, best to call live at 805 237 1231 and check.
The gift page also features gift cards, wine club memberships, and great non wine local artisan gifts.
Bonny Doon Shipping Included $99 and Special Gift Packs
Another personal favorite, both for their wines, and the huge respect for a lifetime of contribution to bringing Rhone varietals focus and quality to the US, has a number of incredible holiday offers.
- Free ground shipping for any order over $99. The $99 shipping included is ground. Orders placed today will make California, and a few surrounding states. If urgent, best to call live, the Bonny Doon team will work with you. 888.819.6789
- It’s easy to make a case order and not break the bank with Bonny Doon. Some of my personal faves that are my every day drinking wines include the Clos du Gilroy, Grenache base blend only $15, the Contra, Carignane based blend only $14, but there many more.
- Check out the special Mixed Six for $99, which includes; 2007 Syrah “Le Pousseur”, 2007 Angel Paille, 2008 Le Cigare Blanc, 2007 Le Cigare Volant – normale, 2009 Ca’ del Solo Muscat, certified biodynamic, 2009 Contra Carignane
- Holiday 6-pack Box ~2007 Le Cigare Volant
- Le Cigare Volant red Rhone blend is the wine that put Randall Grahm and Bonny Doon on the map, and there are great holiday bundles under the Holiday Specials on their storefront include:
- 2007 Le Cigare Volant – Holiday 6-pack in limited edition Cigar Box: $210
- Cigare Family 5-pack ~ 4 table wines, 1 dessert: $129;
- Cigare Family 3-pack ~ 2 table wines and 1 dessert: $79
- Le Cigare Volant red Rhone blend is the wine that put Randall Grahm and Bonny Doon on the map, and there are great holiday bundles under the Holiday Specials on their storefront include:
- Wine Club Membership gift special: Give the gift of wine all year long. Bonny Doon is offering a year long membership for $425, which includes shipping, and a 25% off coupon. There are quite a few other benefits and options, while these can be gifted online, it may be best to call.