This is part deux in a two-part series featuring Tablas Creek Vineyards new (Summer 2020) releases. If you didn’t get a chance to read the winery’s background story and reviews of their red wines, hop over to Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2018 Counoise, Grenache, and Mourvédre.
Did you know: Tablas Creek Vineyard is certified both organic and biodynamic? I think it’s a testament to the integrity of both certifications that they don’t flaunt these facts. Indeed, many folks I speak to who are familiar with the name and wines don’t realize these amazing efforts. Fun Fact: In February of 2019, Tablas Creek began taking part part in a pilot program of yet another, new farming practice called Regenerative Organic.
Regenerative farming makes soil health a priority; building up that soil, the main focus. But it’s a bit more strict than that: the farm must (already) be certified organic and specific practices must be in place, such as no-till cover cropping, incorporation of livestock and mob grazing, and providing a happy place for beneficial insects. But wait there’s more: “Regenerative organic builds in requirements that participants also certify the humane treatment of any animals on the farm and that the farming crews are paid living wages, work in safe conditions, and understand their rights. Therefore, this certification incorporates three pillars; soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness,” Haas explains in a blog post.
Indeed, the Regenerative Organic Alliance theme song is “Farm like the world depends upon it.” I could get down to that tune…
Tablas Creek Newest Releases: 2019 Picpoul Blanc, Picardan, and Bourboulenc
About the Wine: Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Picpoul Blanc is made from 100% Picpoul Blanc grapes. Grapes were whole cluster pressed and underwent indigenous yeast fermentation. Primary fermentation took place in combination stainless steel and acacia barrels. The wine then went through malolactic fermentation in barrel.
Appearance: pale lemon
Aroma: Pronounced aromas of lemon, lime, pomelo, green apple, wet stone/mineral, blossom, gooseberry, floral perfume, and a kind of yeasty-ness.
Palate: This is a dry wine with medium (+) acidity, a moderate level of alcohol and an overall medium (-) body. The flavor intensity is just as pronounced as the aromas and the flavor profile in agreement with those notes above. I did find, however, that on the palate, that wet stone minerality was even more distinct than I initially interpreted on the nose.
And the finish is undeniably long.
It’s often noted that Picpoul translates to “lip stinger,” meant to reference the grape’s innate searing acidity. And I’ve had some lip-smacking, puckering Picpouls in the past. As a girl that can eat lemons like an apple, that’s not a bad thing in my book. But a point of difference, at least for me, is Tablas’s delicate use of ML (not enough to make the wine smell milky or creamy, but enough to keep that acid in check), the small percentage of neutral barrel (not enough to impart any wood aromas or flavors, but again aiding the softening of the mouthfeel).
Yes, the acidity is still present, but it’s complemented by the soft(er) round(er) mouthfeel. There’s some umph to this wine, some structure, some intrigue.
Conclusion: Based on all of those notes and using the WSET criteria, I determine that the Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Picpoul Blanc is a very good quality and one that you should enjoy now.
Food Pairing: I enjoyed my Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Picpoul Blanc with a barbecue chicken breast and a fennel salad sprinkled with blue cheese. May not sound like your typical pairing but what I will say is that the medium (+) acidity perfectly cut through the sweetness of the sauce, while the fresher fruit notes complemented the herbal components of the salad and the cheese highlighted the softness of this wine. Que delicioso.
About the Wine: Tablas Creek Vineyard 2019 Picardan is made from 100% Picardan grapes. Grapes were whole cluster press and fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel.
Appearance: pale lemon
Aroma: Pronounced aromas of mandarin oranges, agave nectar, green melon, vanilla, white peach, Asian pear, wet stone/mineral, floral perfume, and apples.
Palate: This is a dry white wine with a medium (+) level of acidity, a moderate level of alcohol, and a medium (-) body. The palate is pronounced, bringing together all the notes above onto the palate in perfect harmony. There is an extra note that I almost couldn’t place, but have decided to describe as “caramel-y.” I wrote down mirin and even miso, but I’ve decided “caramel-y” is my final answer.
Has anyone else tasted this wine? Did you get this note as well? How did you describe it?
Whatever you call it, it’s beautiful. And it all leads to a satisfying medium (+) finish.
Conclusion: Again, I applaud the ability to keep such a good level of natural acidity while creating a slight roundness to the mouthfeel, so the wine is both refreshing and substantial. Balance—tick. Perhaps it’s the use of native yeast, but there are levels to this wine, an added textural note that means: Complexity—tick. And there’s no denying that both the aroma and flavors jump out of the glass. Intensity—tick. The finish fell just shy of long for me. And I mean just shy. But if it left my palate, it did not leave my mind, because this was a wine we were discussing all throughout dinner.
Food Pairing: See below
About the Wine: Tablas Creek 2019 Bourboulenc made from 100% Bourboulenc grapes. This is the first vintage of Bourboulenc for Tablas Creek. (Yay!)
Grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented with native yeasts in neutral oak barrels.
12.8% Alcohol by Volume
135 Cases Produced
Appearance: medium gold (yeah, it totally surprised me)
Aroma: medium (+) intensity of aromas: caramel, vanilla, apple, pear, mineral, blossom, agave (maybe more like nasturtium nectar), lemongrass, ripe peach, and just a hint of ginger
Palate: The Tablas Creek 2019 Bourboulenc is a dry wine, high in acid, with moderate alcohol, and an overall medium body. The flavor intensity also comes in at a medium (+) intensity and confirms much of my aromatic expectancies: apple, pear, caramel, vanilla, with florals lingering in the back. I had a question mark next to ginger in my aroma notes, but the palate confirms a subtle aura of this flavor component. I also added almond—something I didn’t quite pick up on on the nose but couldn’t ignore on the palate.
Conclusion: Based on the WSET criteria, I’m calling this an outstanding wine from Tablas Creek. There’s an undeniable complexity to this wine: a richness in the mouthfeel leading to that medium body that’s contrasted nicely with the high acidity, and the inclusion of (what can be deemed) tertiary flavors (I’m looking at you caramel, almond, and ginger) that juxtaposes those fresher fruit flavors (that, again, carry through the taste from start to finish due to that acidity).
Given all of that, I’m also going to make the argument that this wine can age. Absolutely, go ahead and enjoy it now. But I’m thinking this is one I’m going to invest in at least one other bottle and just *see* what happens in a few years. The expectation is that those richer flavors that are incorporated with the fresher flavors at the moment (hey, I’m still looking at you caramel, almond, and ginger) will sneakily slide to the front. The acidity may appear more subtle and the mouthfeel, as a result, may feel a bit rounder and richer.
Food Pairing: Love this wine with Asian-inspired dishes: shrimp in a red curry sauce with coconut rice; grilled swordfish with pineapple salsa; halibut with a mango chutney. See where I’m going with this?
More Info: I received these wines as samples. (Cheers Jason and the whole Tablas crew!) For more information about Tablas Creek, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Tablas Creek Vineyard website.
Learn more about the Restorative Organic Alliance and read more about Tablas Creek’s adventure into the program.
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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**