Archive for September, 2009

IMG_1374Tablas Creek Vineyard was founded by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, the longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands. Tablas Creek is dedicated to the production of wines made from Rhône grape varietals. All of their wines are made with grapes from their 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard.

Tablas Creek called the 2007 vintage the best to date — and so I was excited about the Côtes de Tablas Rouge given that I am generally a big fan of their wines. The 2007 Côtes de Tablas is 50% Grenache with equal parts Syrah and Counoise.  All of the varietals were fermented in stainless steel with the use of native yeasts: the Syrah in open-top fermenters, punched down manually, and the other varietals in closed fermenters with pump-over aeration. After pressing, the wines were racked, blended, aged for a year in 1200-gallon French oak foudres, and then bottled in February 2009. The wines underwent a light filtration before bottling.

On the nose, raspberry and cherry with some strawberry rhubarb and peppered bacon. On the palate, cherry with raspberry and some red licorice, a little leather with herbaceousness, pepper and mineral undertones — good backbone with ripe tannins and soft edges. The Grenache really shines and while this is juicy, it is not overdone, is very well balanced and actually a bit restrained. This is the best Côtes de Tablas from last three vintages and a great bargain at under $18 a bottle. 14.8% alcohol. Strongly recommended.

Other wines from Tablas Creek:
Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Rouge 2006
Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc 2006
Côtes de Tablas Creek Vermentino 2008
Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2006

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IMG_1366The Cuilleron family domaine, located in the town of Chavanay, was founded several generations ago. Yves Cuilleron’s grandfather was the first to bottle wine for commercial purposes in 1947. The estate is now in the hands of Yves Cuilleron. He took over in 1986, though at the time he had no viticultural experience, his professional experience was as a mechanic. Today, he is considered a superstar of the Northern Rhône with a reputation for very fine white wines from Condrieu, though he also produces outstanding Côte-Rôtie and St Joseph.

The Yves Cuilleron Viognier 2007 is golden yellow in color and a bit cloudy. Nose of apricot and peach with lemon curd, sea foam and a little must. On the palate, stone and tropical fruit with hints of bay leaf, white pepper and jalepeno. Good richness with steely minerality. Perhaps a little heavy handed and a bit front loaded. 13.5% alcohol. 21,000 bottles produced. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants.

A very good bottle of wine, but have had better values and better whites from the Rhône for money, at this price point I would probably opt for one of the following:

André Perret Saint Jospeh 2007
Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Blanc Les Oliviers 2007

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