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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Bourboulenc is our first varietal bottling of this rare grape, and one of the only ones in the world. Bourboulenc is prized in the Southern Rhone for producing whites with rich texture that still have good acidity. The half-acre of estate grapes we own were propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate and are some of just a handful of acres outside France.
Medium gold color. A nose of lychee and wet rocks, lightly floral, with an unusual and appealing fresh almond note. On the palate, richly textured and softly mineral, with pineapple fruit and a little mintiness, pretty and delicate and lovely. We have no idea how this will age, but suggest you drink it over the next few years.
View tasting notes on the Tablas Creek YouTube page: 2019 Bourboulenc Tasting with Chelsea and the Shepherd.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Bourboulenc
- 12.8% Alcohol by Volume
- 135 Cases Produced
Bourboulenc is an ancient grape, first mentioned in the literature in the early 16th century, and from its earliest times identified with the south of France, particularly the area around Avignon. In the Rhone, it is valued for its ability to make wines with citrus aromatics and a distinctive smoky character, with fairly good acids and relatively low alcohol. 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 2014, planted in 2016, and its first harvest was 2019. Our small (half-acre) block on our certified organic and biodynamic estate vineyard is one of the only ones in California.
The 2019 vintage began with ample rainfall the preceding winter. The wet soils delayed budbreak to a little after normal, and a cool first half of the summer delayed flowering and the ripening of our earlier varieties. Beginning the second week of July, the weather turned warm but never so warm to engage the vines' self-defense mechanism of shutting down, accelerating ripening of our later varieties and producing intense flavors. The resulting compressed harvest was completed under ideal conditions and the vintage shows both concentration and freshness, with bright acids framing ample fruit.
As we have no road map for this wine, never having harvested or fermented it before, we treated it gently, running it through our whole cluster press before fermenting with our signature native yeasts in neutral oak barrels. It had a distinctive orange color (not that different from Roussanne) coming out of the press, and while much of that settled out in fermentation, it's still a lovely rich gold. It was bottled in June 2020.