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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2018 Tannat is Tablas Creek’s seventeenth 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. Tannat typically has intense fruit, spice, and tannins that produce wines capable of long aging.
On the nose, black cherry, wood smoke, Worcestershire sauce, sweet licorice and brambly spice. The mouth is dense and savory, with flavors of black licorice and eucalyptus, blackberry, black tea, and dark chocolate truffle. A lovely saline mineral note comes out on the finish with plum skin tannins and cedary spice. Relatively elegant and approachable for a Tannat at this stage. A wine to drink any time over the next two decades.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 97% Tannat
- 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 13.5% Alcohol by Volume
- 1250 Cases Produced
When we imported our Châteauneuf du Pape clones, the Perrins’ French nurseryman included Tannat cuttings because he believed the grape would thrive in the rocky limestone soils of Paso Robles. We have planted 3.5 acres of Tannat, and it has indeed thrived here.
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 Tannat grapes were destemmed and fermented using native yeasts. As we do many years, we blended in our small harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon, making the wine is 97% Tannat and 3% Cabernet. We aged it in one foudre and a mix of new and older smaller barrels for nearly 2 years before bottling it in April 2020, and then aged it another 10 months in bottle before release.