Apr 6, 2008

Tablas Creek

Tablas Creek is one of those wineries that everyone inevitably hears about in Paso, and I think that's for good reason. Many of the local wineries recommend a visit to Tablas Creek and after a quick google-ing it's clear that not only is Tablas Creek one of the older establishments in the area, but the Haas family plays a substantial role in the local wine industry. Robert Haas (the boss man) was honored in 2007 by the local Wine Country Alliance (www.pasowine.com) as the Paso Robles Wine Person of the Year and the honor of the American Wine Blog of the Year was recently bestowed upon Jason Haas, Robert Haas's son. As a wannabe wine blogger myself I think the Tablas blog (tablascreek.typepad.com) is a nice way to give a more personal touch to the Tablas Creek website. And as a side note, I was very excited to learn of the American Wine Blog Awards in the first place and maybe someday I will be the bestowed upon!

Anyway, the Tablas Creek tasting room is attached to the winery in the far reaches of Adelaida Road. It's a bit of a drive to find the building but once you're out there it's hard to miss. The tasting room itself is mostly made up of bartops with nice-enough pourers. I must admit I wasn't bowled over by the effusive friendliness of the lady that helped me but she was very knowledgeable and she recommended I take the tour, which I really enjoyed. The tour was low-key but informational, the highlights being the nursery and the barrel room. I also found the tour was a great way to hear more about the Tablas Creek story, which is a tale of a French-American bond, 3 years of quarantined grapevines, organic farming practices, and award-winning Paso Robles wines. The short version of the story goes something like this: the Perrin family from France in conjunction with the Haas family from the U.S. decided to transplant French grapevines in a new terroir to see what kinds of wines those vines would produce in a different place. To quell the agricultural-bureaucratic establishment in the U.S. (aka the USDA) the vines were quarantined for three years to ensure that they would not bring any evil French-ness across our borders! The vines were finally planted about 1993 and since then the Tablas Creek vines have produced not only the fruit for Tablas Creek but the budwood has been sold throughout California.

Overall I really enjoy visiting Tablas Creek. The wines are delicious and this place is a staple of the Paso wine scene. They've got a great story and between the website, the blog, the tasting room staff, and the tour, there's a wealth of good information about Tablas Creek wines. My only complaint is the sometimes-prickly disposition of the pourers...maybe something weird was happening on the days I visited but the energy-level wasn't super high. But minor-prickliness aside, Tablas is worth a stop and a great place to learn about one of the earlier Paso wineries.

As always, all photos were taken from the official Tablas Creek website: www.tablascreek.com

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