Today’s three wines: a trip to Paso Robles and tastes of Sonoma.
The Rhone-focused Tablas Creek Vineyard is a role model in California: terroir-driven, state-of-the-art cellar; organic farming; sustainable everything. And that’s because of the passion, expertise and investment of the owners — the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the southern Rhone Valley of France and the American wine importer Robert Haas, the founder of Vineyard Brands. It was 1989 when the Perrins and Haas decided on the rugged, dusty, hot hills of Paso Robles for their joint venture. Tablas Creek produces single varietal wines and proprietary blends in addition to their core portfolio of the Reserve tier called Esprit de Tablas from their organic vineyard; Cotes de Tablas, also from estate grapes; and the more gently priced Patelin de Tablas using purchased grapes from select growers in the Paso area.
Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Paso Robles 2014, $25: This Syrah-based dry red is from the winery’s more affordable Patelin de Tablas line. The 2014 vintage made vibrant, rich wines, as this blend shows. This latest release is a bold, meaty wine with flavors of dark plum, raspberry, tons of spice and minerality, and nice creaminess on the palate. It’s 55 percent Syrah and 29 percent Grenache filled out with Mourvedre and Counoise. It’s the wine you want to pour with smoked beef brisket or a charred steak.
Note to Chardonnay lovers: You love elegant fruit, a kiss of oak, good body and structure? You must be talking about wines from the Sonoma Coast — the appellation that stretches from the wildly diverse Pacific coastline to the mouth of the Russian River and inland over rolling hills. With its predictable morning fog and sunny afternoons, Sonoma Coast is a preferred appellation for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s home to a number of iconic vineyards.
La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2014, $23: This is the quality you expect for a wine by the glass at a high-end restaurant. It has intensity, ripe fruit, oak, alcohol all seamlessly woven together. Flavors are baked apple, pear, white stone fruit and brown baking spices. Aromas, flavors, finish: This wine is all about style.
After eight years of research in cooler climate regions of California, Duckhorn Wine Company’s Migration brand, which specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, settled on Sonoma’s Russian River Valley in Sonoma County for its home. Winemaker Bo Felton focuses on vibrant, full-bodied flavors with bright acidity and seamless integration of oak like this Pinot Noir. The name Migration comes from Dan Duckhorn’s interest in waterfowl and the fact the cool coastal areas of Sonoma are part of the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds.
Migration Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2014, $38: This dark beauty is like an essence of Pinot Noir with cherry, dark berry fruit and notes of brown baking spice, dark chocolate and rose petal. It’s like liquid cherry pie; it’s a show all to itself with that creamy texture, supple tannins, juicy acidity and touch of smoke and spice from French oak.
You can reach Sandra Silfven at firstname.lastname@example.org.