• By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 3:52 pm   |     |   Print   |   Permalink

Keeping up with my current theme of More than the Wine, I recall an unexpected stop in Chateauneuf-du-Pape almost thirty years ago on a very hot summer’s day because I saw a man watering a flower garden near a driveway bearing a winery sign. I was alone and asked about a tasting. Cordially he escorted me into a side building and poured me a glass of white wine. I didn’t realize he was a member of the Perrin family and that I was at the Chateau Beaucastel where visits are by appointment only. Needless to say, I have been a fan of Beaucastel wines ever since.

Jump ahead almost twenty years when I received an invitation to come meet Jason Haas visiting Bloomington from his family wine estate in Paso Robles. He was pouring a white wine for three or four other guests when I arrived, and, as he introduced himself, handed me a glass. One sip and I said aloud: “I’m back in the Rhone Valley.”

Last week, both Jason and I remembered his trip to Indiana but we couldn’t agree on the year. And again, we started a visit with a glass of that white wine — Espirit de Tablas Blanc, the Tablas flagship white. And why shouldn’t it taste like a Rhone? The Haas Family and the Perrins have been friends for generations. Together they found this rugged, almost violent California terrain along Tablas Creek that greatly resembled the driest, rockiest part of the Rhone Valley and started a winery named for the creek.

Same grapes. Same techniques. Same landscape. Very similar climate, very similar soils. A visit to the Tablas Creek Winery is almost like a visit to Chateau Beaucastel, except nothing in the California winery dates back to 1549 when the current chateau got started nor to 1321 when the Beaucastel vineyards were first farmed.

The grapes at Tablas trace their origin to the Rhone Valley — Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Noir, Marsanne, Roussanne, Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise.  Those really interested in wines of the Rhone can join Jason and his wife on an eight-day river cruise from Avignon to Lyon next July. Details on the website: www.tablascreek.com.

The Tablas Creek tasting room is open daily from 10:00am to 5:00 pm at 9339  Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA  93446.

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