Patelin upstream

Tablas Creek 2010 “Patelin de Tablas” (Paso Robles) – 14.1% alcohol, a blend of syrah, grenache, and mourvèdre with a little counoise. With this wine, Tablas Creek has perfected, to the extent that they hadn’t quite in the past, the fully-approachable collation of philosophies and agriculture that any winery’s entry-levels are supposed to provide. Vibrant, fulsome, yet non-boisterous fruit (black, purple, red, even a little meat-infused), dashes of liquid black pepper, a structure that hangs about in the background, unassertive but fully supportive…this is a Tablas Creek version of a fruit bomb without being anything like the boozy fruit bomb-esque duds that plague their appellation. I’ve been drinking the formerly lower-end Côtes de Tablas since before it was called that, and while it (I speak of the red here) was often quite approachable, it never released itself from yearning – sometimes more strongly than in other years – for seriousness. This is, aside from semi-commercial and mostly notional bottlings, the least serious red wine I’ve ever tasted from Tablas Creek. That is, by the way, a compliment, because I think that here, result very clearly proceeds from intent. (2/12)

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