2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Vermentino, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
The Tablas Vermentino is an amazing dry white wine with crisp minerally detail and plenty, fresh fruit of zesty zippiness, but also with a beautiful textural charm, reminding me somewhat of Yves Leccia’s Patrimonio Blanc (Biancu in Corsican dialect), which is high praise as Leccia’s wines are some of my favorites, especially his 100% Vermentinu (Vermentino). Vermentino, one of the great Mediterranean varietals can be found from Corsica to Sardinia, as well as mainland Italy from Liguria to Piedmonte, where it is known as Favorita, because it was the Duchess of Savoy’s favorite white wine, hence the name, though because it has mutated slightly, as has Pigato, it is listed as a separate grape, while in France it is known as Rolle, though can be labeled either Vermentino or Rolle. None other than the iconic California Rhone pioneer Randall Grahm, of the Bonny Doon Vineyard, believes Vermentino might be the best grape for the central coast and thinks it can be the next big thing, in fact he is going to include it more prominently in his famous Rhone white style Cigare Blanc blend, and other wineries are interested in Vermentino too, such as Ryme Cellars, which do two distinct single varietal versions that are awesome. The Tablas version is a classic example to get a feel for the grape, and in much the same way as they did with Picpoul, have made this wine extremely popular for the alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc crowd, it is a stylish and vibrant wine that has enough mouth feel, depth and complexity to satisfy serious connoisseurs as well. Vermentino, while not a household name is waking waves and there is a lot to admire in terms of quality and personality, especially with this intriguing Tablas Creek all stainless wine.
The estate grown Tablas Creek Vermentino comes from all organic and biodynamic vines from their own Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape clones in the Adelaida District of Westside Paso Robles, which is set on most limestone, just like it is back home in the Rhone and as well in Provence. This 2017 is Tablas’ 15th vintage of Vermentino and it’s a beauty, it delivers a worthy performance in the glass with rich layers of racy fruits on the medium bodied palate including tangerine, white peach, lemon/lime and tangy green melon along with lime blossom, tart grapefruit, orange zest/peel, light herbs and a touch of savory/briny salty elements. With air and a slight warming in the glass this ultra pale wine gains a certain creamy density and glycerin level, making an impact and while brisk throughout and steely dry it can hold your attention and go with a richer selection of cuisine options from tuna and swordfish steaks to pasta and basil dishes and or claim linguine, as well as even salads, oysters and picnic fare. Vermentino should be on your radar and you should be drinking a lot of it, be sure to check Tablas Creek’s 2017, and look for their 2018, which looks even better vintage wise, and while you are at it explore Ryme’s set, Chesebro’s extra crispy version from Arroyo Seco, the mentioned upcoming wines from Bonny Doon as well as the old world wines of which Kermit Lynch, who’s a huge fan of Vermentino, imports, like the Yves Leccia and Antoine Arena on Corsica and Clos Sainte Magdeleine in the Provence village of Cassis, who use Vermentino in their non AOC white as well as the Languedoc Pic St. Loup estate Château La Roque. Visiting Tablas Creek is a must do when in Paso Robles and Vermentino is a required highlight and you’ll be surprised to find it is featured in many wines, sometime in the rose as well as a single varietal, this one is drinking great now, enjoy.
($27 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive