Jason Haas from Tablas Creek just sent me the following press release, which I found super interesting. With the new addition of Muscardin, their Paso Robles vineyards finally can claim the same varietal diversity as their vineyards in France!
Here are some highlights:
Château de Beaucastel is renowned for using all the permitted Châteauneuf du Pape varieties in their blends.
While historically the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation in France's Rhone Valley recognized thirteen different grapes, there are fourteen planted at Beaucastel, counting Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc separately. Tablas Creek Vineyard brought in high quality clones of six of these when they began their project in 1989. These were Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc (they also brought in Viognier and Marsanne, which are traditional Côtes du Rhone grapes though not permitted in Châteauneuf du Pape). In 1998, Tablas Creek imported Picpoul Blanc.
In 2003 Haas worked out an agreement with Deborah Golino, Director of Foundation Plant Services at U.C. Davis to bring in the remaining grapes (Cinsaut, Clairette Blanche, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Bourbelenc, and Picardan). These vines underwent a rigorous indexing process conducted at U.C. Davis, and have been released to Tablas Creek Vineyard one by one as they have been found to be virus-free. Three of the grapes (Clairette Blanche, Terret Noir, and Picardan) are currently in production at Tablas Creek. Three more (Bourboulenc, Vaccarese, and Cinsaut) were planted in 2017. Muscardin was released from quarantine last year and has been propagated at NovaVine Nursery in Sonoma, California since then. With the grafting of 250 buds onto rootstocks at Tablas Creek this week, the winery looks forward to having all fourteen in production within a few years.