Thursday night’s Tablas Creek and Beaucastel class turned out to be one of the most extensive tastings ever for the store. When we started talking to Danny Haas of Vineyard Brands about which wines to show, we knew it would end up being a bigger than usual class, with more wines, but Danny outdid himself. With every email and phone call, it seemed, he added more wines – slow down, Danny, we thought, or we’ll all have to spend the night at the store!
In the end, though, he was right – such an extensive tasting allowed everyone to gain a real perspective on the range of styles from these two biodynamically farmed estates.
Danny has grown up in the business, working for his father for Vineyard Brands, and helping to form Tablas Creek through their work with Ch Beaucastel, so it was great to hear his firsthand perspective on the two wineries.
We started with a range of whites from Ch Beaucastel’s sister winery in Paso Robles, Tablas Creek. Made all from Rhone varietals taken from cuttings at Beaucastel, these displayed a minerality and freshness you don’t normally associate with wines made in a warm area like Paso. In many warm growing areas, white wines (and sometimes reds) are acidified to bring their ripe fruit into balance, but at Tablas Creek this isn’t necessary. Minimal irrigation, organic farming, and carefully chosen vineyard sites help make this possible.
The white of the night, though, was the Ch Beaucastel Blanc 2010. At once rich, mouth filling, and vibrant, it had so many layers of flavor and clearly so many years left ahead to evolve and express itself.
The reds represented the full range of Perrin family projects, from the Nicolas Perrin Syrah, whose earthy meatiness was balanced by a dash of aromatic Viognier, to the crown jewel of the Perrin family, the Ch Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2010. Though this is a wine meant for aging, it was wonderfully approachable. The buy of the night, though, was the Coudoulet du Beaucastel 2010, a ‘baby’ Chateauneuf that, in the hands of any other producer, would simply be labeled Chateauneuf du Pape. With rich, ripe fruit and vibrancy, this is a fantastic step up from weeknight wine, perfect for hanger steak or a nice grilled lamb chop.
Plenty of smiling faces and a huge lineup of fantastic wines – what more could you want? Thanks to Danny Haas and Olivier Lotterie of Vineyard Brands and Mark Longsworth of Country Vintner for their support in setting up this tasting. Peruse the links below to see some of what we tasted!