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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Vaccarese is our first (and California's first-ever) varietal bottling of this rare Chateauneuf-du-Pape grape, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate.
Vaccarese is a little-known blending grape from the south of France; at less than 30 acres planted in France in 2016 it is one of Chateauneuf du Pape's rarest, and the two-thirds of an acre that we planted here in Paso Robles is California's first.
The 2019 Vaccarese is a lovely deep purple color, with a nose of pine forest, graphite, and minty juniper. The mouth shows notes of tobacco and spice, medium body, some tannic grip, and a lovely chalky textural note on the long finish. For now, the wine's fruit flavors play a secondary role to the spice, herb and mineral elements. We have no idea how it will age, but are looking forward to finding out.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 13.0% Alcohol by Volume
- 160 Cases Produced
- 100% Vaccarese
Recipes & Pairings
- Dried sausages
- Salty cheeses
- Santa Maria tri tip
- Coq au vin
Vaccarese is large berried and yet quite dark, and produces wines with dark color, aromas of pine forest and juniper, flavors of tobacco, graphite, and spice, medium body, and some tannic grip. While we expect to ultimately use it in our red blends, with these early vintages, we are exploring what a seminal French ampelography calls its "indisputable aromatic floral originality" and "very fresh and very elegant flavor".
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. Our Vaccarese (California's first-ever harvest) came in on September 26th.
The Vaccarese grapes were grown on our certified organic and biodynamic estate vineyard.
The fruit was destemmed and fermented on the skins for two weeks in a 1-ton microfermenter, punched down twice daily. Only native yeasts we used. After two weeks, the berries were pressed and this was combined with the free run juice into neutral oak barrels. It aged there on its lees until we bottled it in April of 2021.