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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2018 Clairette Blanche is our fourth varietal bottling of this rare grape, prized in the Southern Rhone for producing whites that maintain their acidity and minerality in a warm climate. The half-acre of estate grapes we own were propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate.
The 2018 Clairette Blanche has a bright, mineral nose of nectarine, sea spray, and lemongrass. The palate is bright but smooth and persistent, with flavors of preserved lemon, peach pit, and wet rocks. The finish is clean, long, and mouth-watering, with a lingering citrus note.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Clairette Blanche
- 13.2% Alcohol by Volume
- 50 Cases Produced
Clairette Blanche, once one of the most widely planted white grapes in the Rhone, saw decades of decline before a recent resurgence of interest thanks to its ability to maintain freshness in a warming climate. We imported it into the United States in 2003 as part of our goal to have all the Chateauneuf du Pape varieties. It was released to us in 2009, planted in 2010, and its first harvest was 2013. Our small (half-acre) block on our certified organic and biodynamic estate vineyard is one of the only ones in California.
The 2018 vintage saw an almost ideal balance of vine health and stress, as is often the case with the first dry year after a very wet one. Although rainfall was just 70% of normal, the rains came late, delaying the onset of bud-break and the beginning of the growing season. The cool weather continued most of the year, punctuated by a six-week heat wave in July and early August. But temperatures moderated before picking began, and harvest proceeded under slightly cooler than normal conditions, allowing us to pick without stress and producing fruit (and wines) with intense flavors and good balancing acidity.
The fruit was whole cluster pressed, and fermented with native yeasts in a small variable capacity stainless steel fermenter until bottling in June 2019.