In considering where I would want to place this project–its “home” vineyard or winery–there was only one place I felt really (REALLY) strongly about. Tablas Creek Vineyard.
So much so, in fact, that I had braced for serious disappointment if Tablas turned down my proposal. It had to be at Tablas as far as I was concerned (so it’s a good thing they said yes!).
I am somewhat provincial in my wine tastes–I love California wine. Passionately. And over the last 6-8 years, I’ve come to believe strongly that some of the most promising, interesting and stellar wines coming out of California come from Paso Robles. There is some serious magic happening there, and there is no greater ambassador for that than Tablas Creek.
It isn’t just that they work hard to raise the profile of all Paso wineries (Jason Haas was named Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year in 2015); it’s that they’ve made a serious ground-up commitment to doing everything the right way, and with the varietals best-suited for their west Paso climate (Rhône, of course). Their nursery program with the French clones (now more appropriately referred to as the Tablas clones) is unprecedented–and their willingness to open sales of the clones to other wineries was both generous and helped to increase the quality generally of Rhône wines coming out of Paso and the rest of California.
Paired with that is an equally strong commitment to treating the land with respect and care in order to get the best expression of its terroir in the wines they produce. Those who are familiar with my work already (or if you read the “about this project” page) will understand how important this is to me. Especially in this time of drought and the ever-evident signs of climate change, being a responsible steward of the land you work is critically important. And Tablas is a wonderful example of how doing so not only keeps the land healthy, but also enables them to produce consistently highly rated wines.
As you’ll see as this year in the life of wine progresses, Tablas Creek’s approach to winemaking is fully holistic, from the animals who graze and fertilize the vineyard, to their new bee program, to their introduction of solar power, to dry farming their vines to save water. They approach every aspect of their work with the same level of thoughtfulness and care, and that’s something I have immeasurable respect for. And that kind of commitment makes them the only choice for my project. Bonus? The wine is really good.