2019 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Counoise, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
The freshly vivid and medium bodied Tablas Creek single varietal bottling of Counoise, one of the rare Chateauneuf du Pape grapes, drinks very well with a crisp and bright character that is kind of like the Gamay of the Southern Rhone, best served slightly chilled, with lively acidity and tart dark fruits, it was a perfect foil to some powerfully ripe/dense Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and earthy Northern Rhone Syrah(s) last night. The 2019 Tablas Creek Vineyard Counoise, according to the winery, is Tablas Creek’s tenth varietal bottling of this traditional blending grape from the Southern Rhone and like their Cinsault is on the lighter side with an array of vibrant blueberry, cranberry, tangy cherry and plum fruits along with some baking spices, delicate florals, a touch of chalky mineral and clove spiced fig on the finish. This 100% Counsoise is a great Summer red that goes nicely with a range of food choices with Tablas whetting the saliva glands and appetite suggesting herb crusted pork loin, roast chicken, veal and my favorite choice, spicy sausages, as I like this would be awesome with Cajun versions!

The Tablas Counoise is sourced from estate vines in Paso’s Adelaida District on the westside where there is that fantastic limestone soils and the Templeton wind gap that allows a cooling influence to this warm region and promotes balance in these wines, the Counoise ripens late and never gets to heavy in natural alcohol, which makes it perfect to blend with the more dense varietals, especially the Grenache and Mourvedre. The 2019 vintage, which like 2018, provided perfect conditions for exceptional quality of fruit, with a slightly cooler and longer season with mostly a bit less fruit on the vine made for some fabulous intensity of flavors, which this ruby red Counoise shows with some flourish. Tablas went with very clean winemaking on this wine with stainless steel and cool fermentation and then aged this red in neutral French oak to preserve its zesty personality, it was also bottled in screwcap to let you it is meant to be enjoyed in its youth and capture the pure detailing in this fun and tasty wine. The 2019 Tablas Creek Counoise finished with 13% natural alcohol and is easy to enjoy, but still quite serious and well worth your attention, and it will give added incentive to visit Tablas Creek and or join their wine club, as they get first shot at this limited offering.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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