The 2003 Tablas Creek Vineyard Tannat is Tablas Creek’s second bottling of this traditional varietal from South-West France, known principally in the Pyrenees foothills appellation of Madiran, but originally native to the Basque region. The Tannat grape has intense fruit, spice, and tannins that produce wines capable of long aging, and it is traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.
- 87% Tannat
- 13% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 14.8% Alcohol by Volume
- 180 Cases Produced
When we imported our Châteauneuf du Pape clones, the Perrins’ French nurseryman included the Tannat because he believed it would thrive in the rocky limestone soils of Paso Robles. We have planted just under an acre of Tannat, and it has indeed thrived here.
The 2003 vintage was tremendous: warm and sunny, with cool nights that prolonged the hangtime of the grapes and led to wines with excellent acidity. A relatively early flowering, combined with a warm but not overly hot summer produced unusually long hangtime, and grapes with concentrated flavors and a distinct minerality. The Tannat was harvested on one day on September 23rd, and our small block of Cabernet Sauvignon on October 16th.
The Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are destemmed and fermented using native yeasts. The wines were then moved to small barrels where they were aged for 18 months. The wine was bottled in July of 2005, and we aged it a further 9 months in bottle before releasing it in April of 2006.
The 2003 Tannat shows a dense purple-red color and has a nose of tobacco, smoke, and ripe berries. The rich palate has juicy flavors of raspberry and plum, with ripe tannins surrounded by fruit, and a long, generous finish. Although the wine is surprisingly approachable (for a Tannat) now, we believe that it will benefit from 3–5 years of bottle aging.