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Tablas Creek: Cotes de Tablas 2003, Paso Robles

December 8, 2007

~$16US 60% Grenache /24% Syrah /12% Mourvèdre /4% Counoise, Paso Robles, CA

This is my first Tablas Creek wine – A joint venture between the Perrin Family of the Rhone, (Chat. Beaucastel) and their longtime importer, Robert Haas. This, their entry-level offering, was a medium transparent ruby. The nose was shy at first but opened with time to reveal syrupy cherry, raspberry, and saline. The palate was medium-to-full-bodied and hot (15.2% ABV difficult to integrate here), but very juicy and lush. A nice surprising minerality and unique maritime character supported the upfront fruitinesss, with some great dried herb notes – oregano and anise. The herbal notes continued to the finish, but the alcoholic bite bittered the final impression.

This is an exciting wine. There are more complex wines in this price point, but there is nothing wrong with a linear, fruit-forward wine when it delivers the goods without going to Candyland. Most importantly, it achieves real character and a sense of place, which is (arguably) the most profound expression a wine can make. It might have been a tad more alcoholic than it’s framework could support, but the overall feeling was a fine counterpoint and challenge to the typical Cotes-du-Rhone.

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