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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2020 Terret Noir is our fifth varietal bottling 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 lovely pale garnet color, with a spicy, high-toned floral nose of aromatic bitters, watermelon rind, juniper berry and rose petal. The mouth is salty and tangy, with Terret’s characteristic grippy tannins coming out on the finish and leaving a lingering impression of cherry skin, sweetgrass, and pepper spice.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 12.5% Alcohol by Volume
- 58 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 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, noteworthy lushness, and lovely spice.
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 2021 we blended about half of the vintage's Terret Noir into our Le Complice blend. The remaining three barrels of Terret, selected for their balance of juiciness and tannic grip, were aged in neutral barrels until their bottling in June of 2022.