2017 Tablas Creek, Patelin de Tablas Blanc, Paso Robles.
An impressive California Rhone white blend that relies on brightness and tangerine tangy details, rather than the oily depth and density of the Esprit, the Patelin de Tablas Blanc feels lighter framed or lithe, exciting and with a sense heightened aromatics. Lacy, minerally and floral toned, which of course comes from the Viognier, which gives a glorious perfume of honeysuckle and jasmine while the palate stays crisp and dry with layers of pear, apricot and tangy citrus fruits, a touch of wild herb, steely focus, plus hints of wet stone/chalk and peppery crystallized ginger. The Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2017 vintage’s final assembly included 44% Grenache Blanc, 29% Viognier, 12% Marsanne, 12% Roussanne and 3% Clairette Blanc (Blanche) coming from mostly purchased grapes within the region, westside Paso, with all the varietals for the Patelin de Tablas Blanc being whole cluster pressed, and fermented in stainless steel to emphasize the clean brisk flavors and preserve the aromatics. Tablas employed only native yeasts on each of the lots, with the grapes being fermented separately, raised in only stainless, then after fermentation the wine was racked and blended to tank for early bottling, again to keep it racy.
The Patelin is a Paso white that features more Viognier than the higher end estate versions that use more Roussanne and Picpoul, but still relies on Grenache Blanc, and interestingly has a touch of Clairette Blanc, instead of the Picpoul. All the vineyards used are within the cooler zones and on limestone soils. I was really impressed with the vitality and driving energy in this 2017 and this white delivers plenty of charm and thrills on the palate and it has progressed well since I first tried it last fall, it seems to be in a wonderful sweet spot right now, but has the guts to age another 3 to 5 years with ease. The 2018 version looks set to be released soon and that will be maybe even a better vintage, so regardless of which year you find on the shelf, you should grab it. Along with this value packed Patelin Blanc, you shouldn’t miss Tablas’ set of Rosé(s) and explore their single varietal series, with the unique Picardan, Counoise, Picpoul, Vermentino and Mourvèdre being lovely, along with the stellar 2015 Esprit Rouge. Every time I taste Tablas Creek I find something intriguing in their wines, it never gets boring and the wines are not flashy or tricked up, they are just pure and naturally complex, making them wonderful with meals.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive