2008 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Rouge

Year: 2008
Appellation: Paso Robles
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 91-93
Vinous Media: 93
California Grapevine: 91
Red Wine
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"Offers a complex array of ripe cherry, wild berry and plum, with touches of mineral, presented in a supple, elegant, well-integrated style, with dark red berry flavors forming the core. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 3,000 cases made." (WS)

"A blend of 38% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 36% Syrah, and the rest Counoise, the 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel has notes of graphite, damp earth, forest floor, underbrush, and loads of blue and red fruits. A distinctively peppery, spicy, earthy wine with medium to full body, this will be an early drinker and best consumed in its first 5-7 years of life.

Robert Haas, the iconic French wine importer, who was one of the first to bring estate-bottled French wines into the United States, continues to go from strength to strength at Tablas Creek. His partner remains the Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape. They have had three tiny vintages in a row, all producing very small yields, but the quality of their 2007s is the best in the history of the winery, and 2008 is certainly a strong vintage as well. These are wonderful, food-friendly wines with considerable complexity. While they do some varietal naming, the strength of Tablas Creek is their extraordinary Rhone Ranger blends, whether white or red. The 2009 vintage turned out to be an even smaller crop than 2008 and 2007 as a result of spring frost." (WA)

"($50; 38% mourvedre, 30% grenache, 26% syrah and 6% counoise) Bright red. Enticing aromas of raspberry, potpourri, licorice and fresh herbs. Lush, broad and sweet but structured, with an exotic candied fruit quality giving this dense, well-constituted wine plenty of early sex appeal. Finishes sweet and spicy, with a fine dusting of tannins and outstanding length. This is already delicious but has the balance to age." (IWC)

"4. 2008 Tablas Creek Vineyard, “Esprit de Beaucastel,” Paso Robles ($50) – Medium ruby; attractive, complex, earthy, raspberry and cherry fruit aroma with hints of smoked meat and licorice; medium-full to full body; rich, textured, dark currant, raspberry and black cherry fruit flavors with hints of sage and mint; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Approachable now with excellent balance and structure and showing some elegance and complexity that should continue to develop with bottle aging. Very highly recommended. 14.5% alcohol; 3,000 cases; a blend of 38% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 26% Syrah, and 6% Counoise; released Fall 2010. (Group Score: 16.1, 1/2/1; My Score: 17 [91/100], second place)" (CAGV)

Winery Notes:
The Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Beaucastel 2008 is a blend of four estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate. The wine is based on the dark red fruit, earth, spice and mid-palate richness of Mourvedre, with additions of Grenache for forward fruit, approachability and lushness, Syrah for mineral, aromatics, and back-palate tannins, and Counoise for brambly spice and acidity.

The 2008 vintage was our second consecutive drought vintage, with low yields, cool-climate characteristics, and a persistent elegance across both whites and reds. A late spring and moderate summer combined with beautiful harvest weather to produce gradual ripening and red wines that were unusually fresh and approachable despite appealing lushness. Syrah began the harvest of our reds between September 9th and October 7th, followed by Grenache between September 23th and October 24th, Counoise between October 2nd and 28th, and Mourvedre between September 30th and October 30th.

As with all our wines, the grapes for our Esprit de Beaucastel were grown on our 120-acre certified organic estate vineyard.

The grapes were fermented using native yeasts in open and closed stainless steel fermenters. After pressing, the wines were moved into barrel, blended, and aged in 1200-gallon French oak foudres before being bottled in July 2010.

The 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel shows a deep, spicy nose with waves of fruit alternating between red and black raspberry and cherry, grilled meat, balsamic, and licorice. The palate shows raspberry, currant and black cherry fruit highlighted by beautiful acidity, an appealing mintiness, and substantial but fine-grained tannins. The wine is remarkably approachable despite its youth, and we think it will only get better. Enjoy over the next two decades.