2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Le Complice, Rhone Blend, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
A wine that I have not tried before the Le Complice Rouge from Talbas Creek in Paso Robles is a classic California Rhone that is uniquely different from their flagship Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge that features Mourvedre more dominantly. While this Le Complice is an alternative Chateauneuf style blend of 60% Syrah, 24% Grenache and intriguingly 15% Terre Noir, one of the rarest Chateauneuf du Pape red grapes, and one that provides a bit of ying and yang to the heavy dose of the dark fruited Syrah here, as it is lighter and brighter toned, meanwhile the Grenache adds some forward fruit density and hedonism, all making this wine incredibly attractive, elegant and complex on the palate. The rich palate of black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and blueberry compote fruits has a lively energy behind it and the layering is especially beautiful and it show a real nuanced delicacy with a fine mineral detail, brambly spice, a touch of earthiness and well judged oak framing with a full bodied texture, as well as excellent length. With some air the nose opens up delivering some dark florals, a hint of graphite, pepper and anise that also echo in the mouth and linger on with a bit of fig and creme de cassis. The Syrah allows the other grapes to really lift this wine and it is absolutely brilliant as a total package, making it a delicious version to enjoy with robust cuisine.

The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2018 Le Complice, is the third vintage of their first new blend in a decade, and interestingly one that doesn’t rely on Mourvedre, it celebrates, as the winery puts it, the kinship between Syrah and the vineyard’s newest red grape, Terret Noir. In French, the winery adds, Le Complice means, roughly, “partners in crime” with the note that although the Syrah is dark and the Terret light, both share some common characteristics, including wild herbs and black spice, and Terret’s high acids bolster (the) Syrah’s tendency, what Tablas says, toward stolidity. Tablas explains that they added some Grenache for mid-palate fleshiness, which I noted above, and there was a touch of Roussanne, that was co-fermented with a Syrah lot, but it didn’t equal a percentage. The grapes for the Tablas Le Complice were grown on their Regenerative Organic Certified™ and biodynamic estate vineyard in the Adelaida District AVA and the wine, which was fermented in separate varietal lots was blended after 9 months and raised for close to 10 months in large French oak foudres. There is a lot to love here and shows the quality and flexibility of Tablas Creek in crafting some ultra small lot bottlings that shine with vastly different combinations of varietals and percentages, it highlights the terroir and vintage perfectly, it should drink nicely for years to come as well.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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