We gathered in the shade just outside the Tablas Creek tasting room. You could tell why we were here by our sturdy shoes. Yes it was almost 100 degrees, but we were wine lovers ready to brave the elements to find out more about this wonderful winery with a vineyard walk and tasting.
Levi Glenn, the Tablas Creek Viticulturist gave us some basics on the winery history before we got started. The Perrin and Haas families joined to find vineyard land here in California to grow the Rhone varieties that the Perrins’ have long grown at Chateau de Beaucastel in France’s Rhone Valley. The Tablas Creek property is on the same latitude, the climate and soil are both similar and when they bought this 102 acre property in 1989 they began the process of bringing the traditional Rhone varieties grown on the Perrins’ estate to this country. The cuttings from France had to go through a three year process to be sure that they were virus free. In order to have enough vines to actually make wine, they started a nursery, bench-grafting vines to plant on the estate and enough to sell to other vineyards. While they no longer have the nursery, they partner with NovaVine in Sonoma to create Tablas Creek clones from grafted vines and bud wood. Many wineries are now raising Tablas Creek clones to create their Rhone style wines.