Day 12 – 12 days of Wine – United States, California and Tablas Creek
Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2021
The final stop of our tour is not too far from home. We are back in the United States.
Wine is currently being made in all 50 states (Yes, really!). But a few states stand out, producing significantly more wine, like Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, and…California.
California has an overwhelming portion of the market share at over 84%, with the next most productive being Washington State, with a little over 5%. This is not really a surprise, I suppose, as the economy of California is close to overtaking Germany as the world’s 4th largest economy.
Within the state, there are the famous regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma on the North Coast, the Central Valley, where more grapes are grown. 75% of the state’s wine comes from the Central Valley. Then you have the Central Coast from San Francisco to LA and the South Coast from LA south.
Our wine today comes from the Central Coast. This area includes a few of my favorite places, including Santa Barbara County and our stop for today, Paso Robles.
Okay, to sound like a local, just call it Paso. But if you say “Robles,” don’t try to go all Spanish on your pronunciation. It is simply “Row-bulls.”
32,000 acres of vineyards and over 200 wineries, this is a large region, and it has been divided into 11 Sub AVAs. The variety of grapes grown in this large region is vast, and we will focus on not just one variety but a collection.
White Rhône Style Blends (from California)
The wines of the Southern Rhone are not single varieties but are blends and typically contain Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, and perhaps Grenache Blanc. But more varieties might pop up in your blend, like Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Clairette Blanc, Picardin, & Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains.
What can you expect from a White Rhône Style Blend?
You will likely get Meyer lemon, apricot, white peach, orange zest, preserved lemon, and beeswax. There could be notes of butter, almond, Mediterranean herbs, orange blossom, melon, and possibly even pineapple.
Considering that this wine is from California, where the climate is a bit different from France, you might find the wine to be a bit richer and more fruit-forward.
We did a Côtes du Rhône Rouge a few days ago from the Famille Perrin in France’s Southern Rhône. Today we visit Tablas Creek in Paso Robles, a winery partnership between the Perrin Family and the Haas Family of Vineyard Brands. They found this place in the Adelaida Hills District of Paso Robles and determined it was perfect for growing Rhône Varieties.
Tablas Creek primarily grows Rhône varieties, although they have a little patch of Pinot Noir. They have gradually brought in cuttings from Château du Beaucastel in the Rhône so that now they have all 13 of the approved grapes from the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation.
Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2021
The Patelin de Tablas Blanc is a blend of 5 white grapes that hail from the Southern Rhône, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc. The blend leads with Grenache Blanc, which makes up 54% of this wine. Another 29% is Viognier, and the remaining bits are the other 3 varieties.
The name Patelin comes from the fact that this is not all estate fruit. It comes from ‘the neighborhood.’ They pull from respected growers around the Paso Robles area and include some of their own fruit (I mean, not everyone is growing Bourboulenc!)
The grapes are whole-cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel. Fermentation happens with native yeast.
This wine is lush and round with notes of white flowers and white peach. There is a bit of butter on the nose, pineapple (from the Bourboulenc), and preserved lemon.
12.5% abv $28.00 direct from Winery $26.99 Total Wine $28.00 Wine.com
Why we picked this wine
I’ll be honest. I knew that I wanted to end with a Tablas Creek Wine. If you want to talk sustainability…well, they have gone beyond. They were the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified vineyard, jumping on the Regenerative Organic Alliances Pilot Program. They were organic and biodynamic, and they are seeing the results.
Regenerative Agriculture is about not just ‘sustaining’ the quality of the land and the soil but improving it, ‘regenerating’ it.
You can read more on Regenerative Viticulture in a few pieces I’ve written (one was even published on Jancis Robinson as part of her WWC22.) I’ll drop some links to those articles at the bottom.
Another plus? They are working hard to push the needle on more environmentally friendly packaging. This wine was available (if you ordered fast enough) in a 3L box. Yes, my friends, high-quality boxed wine.
The Patelin de Tablas Blanc is a white wine meant to drink fresh, so putting this in bag-in-box is a sure way to keep it fresh. The carbon footprint on this is 84% less than glass bottles! It’s lighter, easier to ship (boxes stack, after all), and because the bag deflates and keeps air from getting in, it will stay fresh for weeks. Oh, and as I mentioned above, it’s delicious.
Of course, they sold out quickly! This gives us hope that they will continue and expand this program, and perhaps it will rub off on some other wineries in the industry!
Here is a link to Jason’s article on the Tablas Creek Blog https://tablascreek.typepad.com/tablas/2022/02/why-we-believe-the-time-is-right-for-a-95-box-of-wine.html
Spice-seared cod with fennel, shallot, and preserved lemon in a lemon butter sauce
The white Rhône-style blend that we chose pairs well with cod and fennel, so we put the two together and added some spices until we felt it had enough oomph to match the wine. We added a lemon butter sauce to punch up the acid at the end.
Having the fennel, both sautéd and fresh, adds depth to the dish, and the blend of spices, so often thought of for baking, really warmed the dish, which paired well with the viscosity of the wine, which was heavier and fuller than most white wines.
Thank you so much for joining us this year on our 12 Days of Wine Celebration. We hope that you have found a new wine that you love!
Stick with us as we get ready to dive into 2023!
Here’s to an Amazing New Year!
Links to Regenerative articles and organizations
- Regenerative Agriculture at Tablas Creek – a meaningful way to farm #WinePW
- Biodynamics and Troon Vineyard on Discovering Wine Country Season 1
- Regenerative Organic Alliance
- Kiss the Ground
- Discovering Wine Country – Down the Rabbit hole of Biodynamic and Regenerative Viticulture
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, this book creates “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
Robin has always had a love for spoons, with a drawer full of them in all different shapes and sizes. There is comfort in eating something from a spoon and something very sensual also.
Creating a spoon filled with flavors and aromas that will be eaten in a single bite, allowing the flavors to meld and pop in your mouth, is a joyful endeavor, and you are encouraged to make these your own.
The spoons range from savory to sweet, with something for everyone, and while they are paired with wines, they are delicious on their own.
These recipes are wonderful for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres or simple to create something delicious to spoil yourself, much like a pint of ice cream.
Each of these spoons is paired with a specific wine, and you get a bit of background on the wine, its flavors, aromas, and a bit of its story. She also includes other suggestions for wines to pair with the spoon.
The book is a feast for your eyes, with photos of each layered spoonful.
There are also photos of the wines with the elements of their flavor profile surrounding them. Those elements often inspire the pairing.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
Either of these books gives you wonderful recipes to create appetizer spoons to pair with wines for a party!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.