Grapelive: Wine of the Day February 28, 2020

2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Esprit Blanc de Tablas, Adelaida District, Paso Robles -photo grapelive

2017 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Esprit Blanc de Tablas, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
One of California’s great white whites and certainly the class of the field when it comes to mostly Roussanne, the Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit Blanc de Tablas is an amazing Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Rhone style wine with rich density and an energetic lively tension that makes it a thrill on the palate. With a brisk intensity and slightly lower natural alcohol, this vintage has really found that perfect groove of balance and impact, at only 13% it doesn’t fall into a heady or heavy performance, instead keeping a restraint poise that really impresses and refreshes with every sip. The Esprit Blanc, made from 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul, 4% Clairette Blanche and 4% of the the incredibly rare Picardan, all from cuttings sourced at Chateau de Beaucastel and the Perrin Family, who partner with the Haas family at Tablas Creek, is gorgeously layered with Roussanne’s notable mouth filling and oily smooth texture and phenolic extract with tangerine, apricot, melon and bosc pear fruits along with chalky crushed wet stones, jasmine, bitter almond, clove spices, mineral tones and a delicate hint of lingering butterscotch. That said, there’s a bright vein of lemon, like a ray of California sunshine, as well as mouth watering saline element that helps curb the impression of weight, making this pale gold wine excellent with many food choices and will allow this wine to age with a graceful arc. We in California are truly blessed with climate and terroir with this wine doing its best to highlight this, its flavor and balance comes from Paso’s limestone soils and the cooling influence from the Templeton Gap

The top series, or Cru, of wines at Tablas, the Esprit line is selected from the top 15%-20% of the estate grown lots each vintage, and as the winery notes is aged in 1200-gallon foudres, large French casks for an extended period to allow the wines to integrate and deepen, this Esprit Blanc has especially gained from this careful selection of grapes and the old world treatment in the cellar. The Winery also notes that this is the first vintage to incorporate two new varieties to the final Esprit Blanc blend, adding that the Picardan brings an elegance and Clairette Blanche gives a fresh crispness, clarity and is gently citrusy. With time in the glass even more complexity comes through with subtle wild fennel, brioche (leesy notes), honey and a touch of the wood, all delivering an extra dimension and harmony to this wonderful wine. I always imagine having crab cakes and lobster roll with this wine, but it goes sublimely with roast chicken, swordfish steaks, wild mushroom pasta dishes and an array of soft cheeses. This is an elite example of a white Rhone and sets a high standard, as do all of Tablas’ sensational lineup, it is always a treat to sample these wines, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to try them, in particular I suggest this one if you like Roussanne, and are looking for an alternative to a fine Chardonnay, but don’t miss their 100% Picpoul and Vermentino bottlings either, both are delightfully vivid and absolutely must haves for warm days! I have always admired these wines from Tablas, was well as of course the Perrin’s Beaucastel classics, but in recent years I have gained a true appreciation for the contribution the Haas and Perrin families have made to California’s wine history, for which we should all be grateful for.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive