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paso robles

The name of the Rozet

Edmunds St. John 2000 “Los Robles Viejos” Rozet (Paso Robles) – Undoubtedly much-victimized by a transatlantic voyage and then a good shaking from hotel to subway to restaurant, so when I mention the muted elements to come, they’re only partially due to a wine in its midlife crisis. But that’s a factor, as well…though the eventual signs of a more mature life can be very clearly glimpsed through the haze and miasma. Beefy, dark, scowling and broodish, with the mourvèdre taking a very prominent role (my drinking companion complains of mild brett; without lab work it’s hard to know for sure, but I feel it’s the animal stink of the grape rather than the animal stink of a yeast) and the other grapes of this southern Rhônish blend pacing around in the background. Structure is still fulsome and enveloping, and so while the fruit is well along its development curve, there’s still softening to be done. In another wine, I might caution about the future, but my experience with ESJ wines is that they always go longer – and often much longer – than my initial instinct suggests. So I’d say, more based on experience than the possibly traumatized state of this particular bottle, there’s absolutely no hurry, though given the right culinary conditions this could be coaxed into a state of reasonable enjoyability right now. I’ll wait on the rest of mine. (3/11)

Old El

Ridge 2005 Zinfandel (Paso Robles) – 15.2% alcohol, 100% zinfandel from Dusi Ranch. Wood of the vanilla/coconut variety still dominates, though there’s a hefty density of concentrated blackberry and boysenberry pushing against the wooden perimeter. There’s still a future here…a better one…but the wine’s definitely no longer quite as primary as it was. (12/10)

Wear a Côtes

Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Blanc (Paso Robles) – The bronzed stone fruit has not diminished in intensity since release, but it has taken on a deeper, richer tone, the metallics have been somewhat energized, and there’s more soil in evidence. This is a heavy wine in the grand scheme, though decidedly not so in its local idiom, and is still quite luscious and even a little blowsy. I’m convinced that age will continue to turn this wine, but those who require upfront fruit may want to think about drinking sooner rather than later. (9/10)

Their Tablas is our gain

Tablas Creek 2005 Syrah (Paso Robles) – Burly but not overbearing, loading up the wagon with blackberries and blueberries, leather, roasted nuts, and rich California ripeness. There’s earth and baritone to this wine, and it’s balanced and structured enough to reward a fair bit of cellaring, I think. (8/10)

Salbatting order

[label]Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Blanc (Paso Robles) – Reticent. Closing? Quite possibly, or it could just be in decline (the latter is more likely, however). What’s left for examination includes bony structure, nut skins and oils, and a bit of stone fruit. Hope lies in the fact that these bare minimums of expression linger for a good long while, but this is a minor wine at present. (8/09)

Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Blanc (Paso Robles) – See above note. (8/09)

Creek summer

[label]Tablas Creek 2006 Roussanne (Paso Robles) – Wax, ripe stone fruit, coppered cashews, and surprising balance; the usual fat and alcohol-tinged headiness is well-countered by fair acidity and a certain deftness of fruit. I suspect that this could age, and I’ve no reason to doubt it based on the raw materials at hand, but it’s quite approachable now. (7/09)

Tablas of contents

[label]Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Red (Paso Robles) – Though it’s no longer the bargain it once was, and there’s a good argument to be made that it’s not really worth the premium over similarly-styled Côtes-du-Rhône, it’s hard to deny the persistent quality and drinkability of this wine, which varies in complexity but gains a bit more polish with every passing year. All the purple, blue, red, and black fruits one could wish for, alongside earth and herb, and finishing with a pepper-dust grace note, yet smooth, round, and always ready with an extended, welcoming approachability. Californian, for sure, but neither brawny nor explosive…whether this is French-influenced winemaking or just an in-house preference doesn’t much matter; the wine is what it is. Very consistent, solid wine, and an easy case purchase for anyone interested in a wine on which they can rely. (7/09)

Mour or less

[label]Tablas Creek 2005 Mourvèdre (Paso Robles) – A fruit bomb, but a sufficiently structured one. A dark stew of fruit is lent a little leather and earthen blackness by the grape, and it’s an extremely enjoyable wine, but this is really very primary still. It would seem to have to stuffing to age, but I don’t really know for sure. (7/09)

Indian percussion

[label]Tablas Creek 2005 Rosé (Paso Robles) – Dead. (5/09)

Tablas Creek 2005 Rosé (Paso Robles) – Old orange, bronzed and with a background static of something vaguely metallic, like canned orange soda that’s been left just a bit too long. If one can get past that, the spice that’s developed is actually quite pleasurable, though the lack of intense, primary fruit leaves the wine’s alcohol – always on the high side for a rosé, though it’s among the majority of the genre in that sense – more present than one wants. There’s really not much to learn here, other than that this wine was much better in its youth…and as with almost all rosés, that was already a given. (5/09)

Without a paddle

[label]Tablas Creek 2006 “Côtes de Tablas” Red (Paso Robles) – While I wouldn’t say this wine swaggers, it walks with more polished confidence with each vintage. I presume maturing vines and maturing technique are to be credited, but whatever the reason, I feel as confident serving this wine to any gathering of New and/or Old World palates as any other California wine. (5/09)