Bright dark ruby with wide pink edges. Somewhat staining and a few tartrate crystals. Spicy-pepper cedar-plank library-sultry unfolds tiny doses of roiling dirty fruit methodically, never showing too much skin and all business. Be smart, and she’ll probably sleep with you, but you’re going to have to appreciate the intelligence. This tight little thing is so smart, it isn’t even going to flirt, and if you push it too hard it will shut down. Grasping at anything I can get out of the glass, it is concentrated in ways concentrated wines only dream of. Old-cellar funk toys with vibrant minerality and sparky fruit–CLEARLY Syrah, but not anything you are likely to taste anywhere else in Paso Robles.
I’m so torn on these wines. Of course–living here on the Central Coast–I get asked almost weekly what I think of Tablas Creek. I have to be honest: It’s a great story, I usually start, wonderful story. Great group of people, incredible location and really a great story. Doing everything right, extremely consistent, wonderful story–read up on them, you’ll be blown away. By now they have usually been so re-directed by the story they forgot their original question about the wine. I’m so torn on these wines. Drank them forever, in various stages of life. Here’s the deal: I love Tablas Creek. I’ve just never been blown away by their blends. Yes, these are the marketed ones. The Esprit and Patelin have underwhelmed me for decades. Young they are too fruity, old they are not fruity enough. That’s my thing, sorry: I just am always looking for too much in these two wines and am almost always disappointed. But the SINGLE VARIETIES!!! This is where I sit up and listen at Tablas Creek. While I nearly always have issues with their blends, the single variety bottlings I feel are their greatest offerings. They aren’t as easy to find–some are extremely limited, often tasting-room only, sometimes skipping vintages altogether. This Syrah is no exception.
In the mouth, as lean as the nose. Fruit haltingly exposes itself in various stages along the taste, all of it clean and bright–some alcohol visible–racheting acids and tannin taking hold from initial and progressing alongside the cigar-box and burnt leaf body of this darling until finally, far into the finish, the fruit lets go and gut-wrenching, mouth-wracking tannins take over. But still…. there is fruit lingering!
Ridiculously good wine–well OBVIOUSLY, because I visited the winery and came home with these–but so baby baby young and wound up so tightly, it really is not an entry-level wine, nor one for early consumption. Think of this as a barrel-tasting: and I am recommending you buy at least a 6-pack and not touch it for 5 years. These are going to polish wonderfully, I promise. Find your densest, darkest, most acidic, mineralific North Coast cool-climate Syrah and plonk this down alongside. I don’t know how they do this in Paso, but they do, and this wine speaks volumes to the quality possible from Tablas Creek.
2013 TABLAS CREEK VINEYARD Syrah Adelaida District Paso Robles 14.5