2017 Tablas Creek, Picpoul Blanc, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
Beautiful pure, crisp and clean, the wonderful Tablas Creek Picpoul Blanc is a really lovely white wine that excels because of its zippy lightness and subtle depth of character, especially in a vintage like 2017, making this a delightful and flexible wine that is great to sip on with its refreshing qualities, but also great with food, proving this grape’s potential in the new world. Picpoul is one of the classic Chateauneuf du Pape grapes, usually used in the blends in the this famous Rhone region, though it is also the star in the Languedoc’s Picpoul de Pinet, where it is center stage and solo in the wines, where its intense lime and crisp acidity make them so desirable. Tablas brought over the cuttings from the famed Chateau de Beaucastel estate and has made single varietal and blended wine at their westside Paso Robles estate for just over a decade now, and with great results, leading to there grape’s expansion in the state with many fine other examples now available, like those from Desparada and in particular Randall Grahm’s Boon Doon Vineyard version from the organic Beeswax Vineyard in Arroyo Seco. I love Tablas’ own example, which seems to get more and more interesting as the years go by and this 2017 is a beauty with layers of lime and lime blossom, chalky wet stone, saline and mineral charm, adding a touch of leesy texture, tropical notes and zesty white peach, tangerine, melon and wild herbs.
The winemaking here is done with serious that to achieve the best results, focusing on Picpoul’s strengths with Neill Collins and team treating the freshly picked Picpoul grapes to a whole cluster pressing, and fermenting them using native yeasts in a mix of stainless steel and neutral 60-gallon acacia barrels to achieve, what they say, a balance of freshness and richness, which I noted in agreement, with all the grapes being sourced from estate plantings in the Adelaida District, close to the winery. Picpoul which is usually vibrant and brisk is also fairly low in natural alcohol, with this vintage being a touch riper at 13.2%, but still restraint and cool on the light/medium bodied palate and the acidity and steely form keeps things very elegant. Tablas, known for their Chateauneuf style reds and cool single varietal reds, including Mourvedre, Grenache, Counoise and Tannat, sometimes get overlooked for their whites, but that is a huge mistake as they are gorgeous and are some of the state’s best, I in particular love their classic Esprit de Tablas Blanc, a white Chateauneuf blend, as well as this little Picpoul, along with their other single varietal series that includes their Vermentino, super rare Picardan and the powerful 100% Roussanne. This 2017 Picpoul Blanc gets even more appealing with air, I have had many samples over the last year and I have been thoroughly impressed each time, (The winery says the new 2018 is even better!) and it goes great with many food pairings, I enjoy it with mixed sea food, including shellfish like oysters, claims and mussels, but it can do poultry dishes and soft cheeses easily as well.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive