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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Terret Noir is our fourth varietal bottling -- and our first since 2015 -- of this rarely-seen Chateauneuf-du-Pape grape, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate.
While we have also begun using Terret Noir in our red blends, it is a fascinating grape on its own, unlike anything else from the Rhone. As a varietal bottling, we feel it expresses well what our 1904-edition French ampelography calls its "qualities of lightness, freshness, and bouquet".
A vibrant nose of orange peel, aromatic bitters, watermelon rind, juniper berry and rose petal. The palate shows salted strawberry over chalky minerality, with Terret’s characteristic grippy tannins coming out on the finish and leaving a lingering impression of Provencal herbs, cherry skin, and wet rocks.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 12.5% Alcohol by Volume
- 55 Cases Produced
- 100% Terret Noir
Recipes & Pairings
- Dried sausages
- Salty cheeses
- Santa Maria tri tip
- Coq au vin
Terret Noir is a little-known blending grape from the south of France; in addition to being one of the permitted grapes in Chateauneuf du Pape, it was once (before 1850) the most planted variety in the department of Herault. The half-acre that we planted here in Paso Robles is California's first. Terret Noir is a large-berried grape that produces wines with pale color, good acidity, and a spicy, floral, earthy wildness.
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 destemmed and fermented on the skins for two weeks in a 1-ton microfermenter, punched down twice daily, to extract maximum flavor from this thin-skinned grape. Only native yeasts were used. After two weeks, the berries were pressed and this was combined with the free-run juice into neutral oak barrels. In May of 2020 we blended about two-thirds of the vintage's Terret Noir into our Le Complice blend. The remaining two barrels of Terret, selected for their balance of juiciness and tannic grip, aged in neutral barrels until April of 2021, when they were racked and bottled.