If you like to drink Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre or any other Rhone varieties made in California, you can thank Tablas Creek. Not only were they one of the original wineries in Paso Robles, but they are one of the pioneers of the California Rhone wine movement. And, they are celebrating 30 years! Jason Haas shared his family's story with me and then we tasted verticals of their top of the line Esprit de Tablas Blanc and Rouge which I wrote about in the Napa Valley Register and am sharing here.
Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is a popular destination for wine travel. Today, there are more than 200 wineries in Paso Robles, which is primarily planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay. It is hard to believe that only 30 years ago, Paso Robles was a relatively undiscovered region in the middle of nowhere.
Thirty years ago, a partnership was formed between importer Robert Haas and the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape and they established a winery, Tablas Creek, in Paso Robles. Not only was Tablas Creek one of the original wineries in Paso Robles, but they are one of the pioneers of the California Rhone wine movement.
I stood holding a glass of rosé wine at a recent wine lunch with Chateau La Nerthe when the export director Christophe Bristiel looked at me and told me that I was holding a glass of a wine that was 800 years old.
He did not mean that the actual wine in my glass was that old but rather that the rosé wine was from a winery dating to 1199. Prieuré de Montézargues was a monastery in Tavel, France and the French King had granted the monks the right to make wine. Today, the 84-acre property is owned by the Richard family who also own Chateau La Nerthe in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Domaine de La Renjarde in Cotes du Rhone Villages.
After enjoying the structured Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel 2015 made with 55 percent grenache, 30 percent cinsault, 13 percent clairette and 2 percent of syrah, mourvedre, carignan and courboulanc and with its notes of strawberry and gooseberry, we sat down for lunch and to taste the wines of Chateau La Nerthe.