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The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2021 Bourboulenc is our third 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.
A nose of sea spray, mandarin, and citrus blossom. On the palate, rich but bright like lemon curd, with additional notes of vanilla shortbread and chalky minerals. Clean and long on the palate, with a lingering finish of preserved lemon and a verbena-like green herb character. Unique and delicious. Our experience aging Bourboulenc is limited, but we plan to drink ours over the next few years.
- Adelaida District Paso Robles
- 13.5% Alcohol by Volume
- 209 Cases Produced
- 100% Bourboulenc
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.
The 2021 vintage came after a chilly, relatively dry winter, the exception being a single storm that dropped more than a foot of rain on us in late January. The cold, dry winter produced a fruit set with smaller clusters and smaller berries, and yields were down about 25% compared to our average. The growing season was ideal, with each hot stretch followed by a cool period that allowed the vines to recover, and that combined with the low yields to produce some of our most intense fruit ever and our highest average acids since the chilly 2011 vintage. We believe that 2021 has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster year.
In just a few years, it's become a favorite here, making it into the Esprit Blanc the last two years. Still, this 209-case varietal bottling is its primary showcase, and represents about 75% of our total harvest. It was blended in May 2022 and bottled in June.