Wine of the Week – 2017 Esprit Blanc
“The Esprit Blanc is the wine that made me want to work at Tablas Creek. I remember the first time I had it, and how it changed everything for me. People that love Rhone varieties tend to have a story behind how they got into them. For a lot of people, it’s the red Rhone varieties they were drawn to. I love the reds, please don’t get me wrong, but there is something ethereal and magical about white varieties from the Rhone. Their density, weight, structure, their richness and depth, the way they carry themselves with so much poise.
The Esprit Blanc is everything I am drawn to with Rhone whites. Crafting this wine during blending is always such a treat and an honor for me; to be able to participate in putting together something I find so beautiful has an air of unreality sometimes.
The 2017 vintage is the first year since 2003 that the blend has been changed – in 2017, we found the Picardan and Clairette Blanche to add interest and depth to the blend and made the decision to add them both into the wine. To see these two varieties come into their own and be considered of high enough quality to be included in our flagship white is incredibly exciting. On top of that, we are (currently) the only producers in the United States with a blend like this, which I absolutely love.” – Chelsea Franchi, Assistant Winemaker at Tablas Creek Vineyards
The Tablas Creek Vineyard 2017 Esprit de Tablas Blanc is a blend of five estate-grown varietals, propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel estate.
68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan, and 4% Clairette Blanche. This is the first vintage incorporating Picardan and Clairette Blanche to the blend. This is a beautiful wine with layers of complexity. Primary aromas/flavors of Green apple, pear, pineapple and white flowers mix with baking spices, oak and minerality. Elegant, balanced and delicious. This wine will continue to evolve and gain complexity for years to come.
Chelsea Franchi grew up in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California with a family that encouraged (and applauded) her enthusiasm and fascination for wine. She attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study Agricultural Business and Wine and Viticulture.
While working on her degree, she got a job at Tablas Creek as a Greeter/Hostess and from there, moved into the tasting room. Upon graduation in 2008, she started her production career working hard as a “cellar rat” under the guidance of Winemaker Neil Collins. To further her knowledge and appreciation of wine, she took the first level sommelier exam in the middle of her first harvest. Her hard work and eagerness to learn paid off when she was offered the title of Assistant Winemaker in 2009.
To learn more, check out our interview with Chelsea here.