Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas 2020


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“Opaque violet. Lush dark berry and floral scents pick up suggestions of candied flowers, allspice and espresso as the wine opens up. Pliant and expansive on the palate, offering appealingly sweet blackberry, blueberry and fruitcake flavors sharpened by a spicy jolt of cracked pepper. Velvety tannins build steadily through the finish, which hangs on with strong, spicy persistence. 93-94 points

The sprawling range of offerings from Tablas Creek Vineyard, a pioneering Paso Robles winery established in 1989, has been consistently excellent from the outset and, if anything, seems to have become even more refined in recent years. Balance and even understatement have long been the calling cards here, which I think makes some people underestimate these wines. Unlike those made by other top producers in the region, the Tablas Creek bottlings, made by long-time winemaker Neil Collins in close conjunction with proprietor Jason Haas, can initially come off demure and understated. And that’s exactly the character that has contributed to the winery’s large and loyal following. It also doesn’t hurt that many of the wines here are made in relatively large quantities and widely distributed worldwide. The 2019s are as strong a set of releases as I have tasted here and are maybe even better than the excellent 2018s. I was also able to try a wide selection of 2020s, which look solid as well, but I will admit that I was and will likely always be gun shy about possible smoke influence. The red wines will soon be or already are in bottle, so I look forward to checking them out this fall.”

Josh Raynolds, Vinous (07/22)