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We’re going going, back to back to, Cali Cali

A few years back I took a drive down South to San Luis Obispo to visit some family, but along the way I made it a point to stop in Paso Robles and visit some of it’s most popular wineries. Tablas Creek Winery was at the top of my list of places to visit. We also stopped at Turley, Halter Ranch, Justin to name a few, but Tablas Creek stood out among the rest and for good reason! California has so many phenomenal growing regions with a multitude of micro-climates that it’s not hard to stumble upon a winery while taking a leisurely drive. Paso Robles has cemented itself as one of the best places to grow grapes and have established themselves as the Rhone Rangers!

Paso Robles has a long history of wine making with grapes being planted as far back as 1797 by Spanish missionaries but not really as wineries until 1882 when a settler from Indiana found York Mountain and opened the first winery in the area. For as hot as it can get in Paso, the location of it’s mountains and the rolling hills make for a perfect place for the dense fog blowing in from the coast to settle and cool rising temperatures very quickly. The setting is very reminiscent of somewhere almost 6,000 miles away, the Southern Rhone in France. The Perrin family of famed Chateau de Beaucastel in France and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands found Paso Robles to be a perfect place to plant Rhone varietals and in 1989, Tablas Creek Winery was born. Tablas Creek is 100% Biodynamic and actually have their own Alpaca and Goats walking the vineyards to clear all of the “cover crop” or grass between growing seasons.

For this weeks selection, I thought a Red wine was in order, but with the heat wave in Sacramento I didn’t want to go too heavy. Tablas Creek Vineyard’s 2017 Patelin de Tablas Rouge is a perfectly blended representation of a wine from the Rhone but grown right here in California. This wine is made up of 48% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre and rounded out with a touch of Counoise for good measure. “Patelin” being a French slang word for “Neighborhood,” this is meant to be a wine to share with friends or neighbors. My first thought with this particular wine was backyard BBQ. Whether you pair this with baby back ribs, burgers, pulled pork, or a blackberry pie, it’s sure to hit the spot. Upon opening the bottle it smells slightly savory and then opens up to blackberries, cassis, notes of cherry and Asian spices, an intriguing bouquet indeed. The lightness in body lends itself to a slight chill in temperature as well. Just rest the bottle on top of a bowl of ice while you enjoy your glass.

The one thing I recommend if going to visit Tablas Creek is be prepared for the extremely windy roads that the mountains there have to offer. As I found out the hard way, windy roads plus a toddler drinking a bottle in the back seat on a 100 degree day do not make for the best combination and can make a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons!

But hey, at least I’ll always remember going to Tablas Creek Winery!

Check this wine out and start making your own memories as well!!

Nick Mallon, Certified Sommelier