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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Clairette Blanche is our fifth 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.
94 points; "beautiful finesse and texture, as the wine comes off very seamless and pure": Owen Bargreen (Apr. 2022)
91 points; "solid thrust and lingering spice, citrus pith and pear nectar notes": Vinous (Dec. 2020)
92 Points; "Love the devotion to alternative white varieties at Tablas Creek.": Purely Domestic Wine Report (Oct. 2020)
The 2019 Clairette Blanche has a clean mineral nose of lemongrass, lychee, and honeydew melon. The palate is bright and yet mouth-filling, with flavors of fresh apricot, lemon, chalky minerality, and a little sweet anise-tinged spice. The finish is clean, long, and mouth-watering, with a lingering citrus note.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Clairette Blanche
- 12.8% Alcohol by Volume
- 70 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 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.
The fruit was whole cluster pressed, and fermented with native yeasts in a small variable capacity stainless steel fermenter until bottling in June 2020.