The Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas is a blend of four red Rhône varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise. The wine incorporates fruit from several of the top Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles, each vineyard selected for its quality. Like many red wines from the Rhône Valley, it is based on the dark fruit, mineral and spice of Syrah, with the brightness and fresh acidity of Grenache, the structure and meatiness of Mourvèdre and a small addition of Counoise for complexity.
Grapes for the Patelin de Tablas are sourced from four regions in Paso Robles. Three are limestone-rich: the warmer, higher-elevation Adelaida Hills near Tablas Creek, the cool, coastal-influenced Templeton Gap to our south, and the moderate, hilly El Pomar to our south-east. These regions provide structured, mineral-laced fruit and excellent acidity. We also source fruit from the warmer heartland of the Paso Robles AVA: the Estrella District, whose mixed sandy loam soils produce juicy, darkly-fruited Syrah.
The 2011 vintage was our second consecutive winter with healthy rainfall, but yields were dramatically reduced by two nights of frost on April 8th and 9th, impacting particularly the early-sprouting grapes like Grenache Noir and Syrah. Despite the low crop loads, ripening was slow due to a very cool summer, and harvest roughly three weeks later than normal. Warm, sunny weather during harvest allowed the later-ripening varieties to reach full maturity. The long hangtime and low yields combined to produce fruit with notable richness balanced by higher than usual acidity, all at low alcohol levels.
Because the April frosts decimated many of the vineyards from which we received grapes in 2010 and reduced crops throughout Paso Robles, we were forced to seek out additional sources of fruit for Patelin de Tablas. We were thrilled with what we were able to find. Harvest began with our first lots of Syrah from Estrella Farms on September 16th and continued through October. It concluded with our last lots of Mourvedre and Grenache from Paso Ridge, Beneso, Catherine's and Big Red on November 9th. The various lots from Tablas Creek were harvested between September 20th and November 10th.
All varietals for the Patelin de Tablas were destemmed and fermented in open-top and closed stainless steel fermenters as well as 1500-gallon oak upright casks. Only native yeasts were used. After fermentation, the wines were racked and blended, aged in a mix of stainless steel and 1200-gallon oak foudres, and bottled in May 2012.
The 2011 Patelin de Tablas marries the spice, mineral and structure of Syrah with the generous fruit of Grenache, the backbone of Mourvedre and the brightness of Counoise. Drink it now or over the next decade.