Skip to content

California Wine And The Rhône Rangers

To explore California style Rhône varietal wines, Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles is one of the Central Coast wineries focused on Rhône style blends. Grape varietals like Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne, Picpoul Blanc and Viognier grow well in the south of France and Paso Robles California’s central coast.

The winery sprouted when wine importer Robert Haas imported Francois Perrin’s Château de Beaucastel wine to the US. The two became friends and then business partners here in California. In 1989 they purchased 120 acres of Paso Robles rolling hills.

Clones of grape from Château de Beaucastel were planted in 1994. In the following years Tablas sold 5 million grape clones to other wineries. They became part of the Rhône Rangers movement here in California.

Their Rhône style blends are a cacophony of wine varietals. As an example their 2021 Cotes de Tablas blend is Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvedre. Their 2022 white blend, Patelin de Tablas Blanc comprises seven varietals. It’s made up of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Vermentino, Roussanne, Picopoul Blanc and Bourboulenc.

Many of these wines we have tasted but there are plenty new to us and probably very new to you. All total they farm 16 varietals on 270 acres and take joy blending them together. Can you imagine tasting all the variations of Patelin de Tablas Blanc with seven varietels and unknown numbers of variations? That’s one long blending session (or two or three.) And tasting seven or eight varietels in one glass is a challenge for your palate.

We’re so used to tasting a dominant varietal with one or two additive grapes that trying to parse seven grapes becomes difficult. As one of our party sipped the Patelin de Tablas Blanc she said, “There are so many wines here I can’t tell what this is.”

What did we taste?

2021 Cotes de Tablas $40 ✰+

2020 Tannat $45 ✰+

2020 Syrah $45 ✰+

2020 Esprit de Tablas $65 ✰

2018 Esprit de Tablas $70 ✰+

2020 Le Complice (club only) ✰+

2020 En Goblet (club only) ✰

So, we may need to revisit Tablas Creek to get our palates around so many blended varietals in one glass of wine. It requires a lot of work to parse so many varietals. But that’s the Rhône style of wine, lots of blending and playful versions of grape in a glass.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.