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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2020 Bourboulenc is our second 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.
Classic light gold. A nose of fresh pineapple and chalky minerality, as well as lusher notes of lychee and poached pear. The mouth shows flavors of fresh mango, orange blossom, and limestone minerality. Lovely acids come out on the finish, emphasizing the pineapple fruit and leaving a lingering note of petrichor. Our experience aging Bourboulenc is limited, but we plan to drink ours over the next few years.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 100% Bourboulenc
- 12.5% Alcohol by Volume
- 165 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 2020 vintage began benignly, with a cool spring that delayed budbreak to a little after normal, and continued below-average temperatures through July. Beginning in August, the weather turned hot, accelerating ripening and producing intense flavors. The state's terrible fires stayed well north of us, and the harvest finished early, under a compressed timeline but good conditions. The vintage shows concentrated flavors and a distinctive savory, spicy character.
After an unusually golden color from our debut vintage in 2019, we were more conscious of protecting the clusters from the sun, and were rewarded by a more classic, tropical result. It was good enough that we included 5% in the 2020 Esprit Blanc, but this 165-case varietal bottling still represents more than 60% of our total harvest. It was blended in May 2021 and bottled in June.