Tablas Creek is the realization of the combined efforts of two of the international wine community’s leading families: the Perrin family, proprietors of Château de Beaucastel, and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands. Equally owned and run by the two families, the partnership begun in 1987 remains today as ever, even as the next generation of Haases and Perrins have stepped into leadership roles over recent decades.
Chateau de Beaucastel
Château de Beaucastel has been one of Chateauneuf-du-Pape's greatest estates for decades. First mentioned in the literature in 1549, when the noble Pierre de Beaucastel bought a plot of land in the commune of Coudoulet, it has been run by the Perrin family for five generations, since 1909.
Jacques Perrin, who oversaw the estate in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, has been recognized for bringing the region to recognition, for being a pioneer of organic farming, and for leading the regeneration of traditional grape varieties, most notably Mourvedre. His work has been carried on by his sons Jean-Pierre and Francois, now together with their children Marc, Pierre, Thomas, Cecile, Charles, Matthieu, and Cesar.
Beaucastel has won numerous international awards, including Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1991, Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin's joint "Man of the Year" award from Decanter in 2014, and induction into the prestigious Primum Familiae Vini (First Families of Wine).
Robert Haas played a leading role in the American wine industry for over half a century. As a buyer for his family's New York retailer M. Lehman starting in the 1950s, Haas traveled through the cellars of France, establishing a formidable reputation as a wine taster while forging lifelong relationships with premier wine producers.
In the mid-1960s he set out on his own to import fine estate wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace and the Rhône Valley, where he met the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel and convinced family patriarch Jacques Perrin to appoint him the Perrins' exclusive American importer. Through his importing business Vineyard Brands, he worked closely with Jacques' sons Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin, establishing Beaucastel as one of the international wine community's leading estates.
Over the course of two decades traveling around the United States together to promote their French wines, Haas and the Perrins became friends, and emerged convinced that the Rhone grape varieties so well suited to the sunny south of France would thrive in California's Mediterranean climate. In 1985, the families began looking for property.
Robert Haas was recognized by the Paso Robles Wine Community as 2007 Wine Industry Person of the Year, and in 2014 he received a lifetime achievement award from Rhone Rangers for his contributions to the American Rhone movement. Haas passed away in March 2018. Tributes to his remarkable career appeared in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. His son Jason, who has run the estate since the mid-2000's, was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year and 2017 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Person of the Year.
The Perrin family has received numerous international awards, including the prestigious 2018 Meininger Award for Wine Family of the Year. In addition, Jean-Pierre and Francois Perrin were named Men of the Year by Decanter Magazine in 2014.
The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal Ventura County in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel. In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in what is now the Adelaida District west of Paso Robles. They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.
The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel. Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity. Ample rainfall in the winter allows most of the vineyard to be dry-farmed each year.
To ensure that the vines at Tablas Creek were of the highest quality and same genetic source of those at Beaucastel, the partners imported vinifera from the French estate. Several clones each of Mourvédre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc were imported, as well as a variety of rootstocks. This diversity allows Tablas Creek to replicate the clonal selection of an established French vineyard.
In January 1990, the first vine cuttings were imported from France. Before arriving at Tablas Creek, they underwent a USDA-mandated three year indexing process that ensured that the vines were virus-free; the first imported vines were available for multiplication at Tablas Creek in 1993. In 2003 the partners decided to complete the Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape collection. These seven varieties (Cinsaut, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picardan, Clairette Blanche, and Bourboulenc) are now all in the vineyard at Tablas Creek and available to other interested growers.
Planting at the estate began in 1994, with 115 acres under vine as of 2020.
In order to multiply the imported vines into the quantities necessary for the vineyard, Tablas Creek constructed its own nursery complex of high-tech greenhouses and shadehouses. There, vinifera was multiplied, grafted onto rootstocks, and gradually hardened off to sun and wind in preparation for planting in the vineyard.
At its peak, the on-site nursery produced over 200,000 bench-grafted vines for planting in Tablas Creek’s own vineyard and for sale to interested growers each year. Although we no longer use the Tablas Creek’s nursery for commercial grafting, we are happy to connect interested growers with nurseries that have our budwood available. Please contact us.
The Tablas Creek Vineyard label debuted with the construction of the estate winery for the 1997 vintage.
Tablas Creek Vineyard follows the centuries-old Châteauneuf-du-Pape tradition of blending, to produce wines that balance richness and elegance, while ensuring complexity, freshness, and minerality. Winemaking techniques, including dry farming, native yeast fermentation, and the use of large, neutral French oak foudres for aging allow our wines to reflect authentically the grapes, place and vintage from which they come.
Red wines, comprising about 50% of the vineyard’s production, are made principally from Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise, with other red varieties playing smaller roles. White wines, comprising about 35% of production, are based on Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Grenache Blanc, again with additional white varieties in supporting roles. Two rosés, one based on Grenache and the other on Mourvèdre, account for the final 15% of production. Total production averages between 25,000-30,000 cases per year.