Tuesday, April 14, 2020

New video: Jason Haas, general manager of Tablas Creek, on the art and commerce of blending

For producers of Rhone-style wines, blending is one of the most important things they do. Tablas Creek, one of the foremost producers of Rhone wines in the US (it's co-owned by the owners of France's Ch√Ęteau de Beaucastel), has 15 different Rhone grapes planted. How do they decide which grapes go into which wines?

Jason Haas, Tablas Creek general manager, explains that it's not just a decision about what makes the most delicious wine. When you only have 3 barrels of Clairette, what's the best way to use it -- in the high-end blend, or as a single-variety wine to sell to the wine club?

Jason is extremely frank in this discussion, as befits a man who not only runs one of the best wineries in Paso Robles, but is also one of the best wine-industry bloggers. (Here's the Tablas Creek blog if you want to check it out.) I learned some things, and no matter what your level of wine knowledge, you might learn something too. For example, did you know that Syrah is a bully?

I have one big regret about this conversation, and that's that Jason was holding out on me.

Sadie was apparently there the whole time, but you'll have to look really sharp if you want to see her brief foray into the background. We're not using Zoom backgrounds: That's really my living room, and that's really Jason's back yard. But we don't have enough Sadie. Everybody needs more Sadie.

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel!  
You can also follow me on Twitter @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


guren said...

Blake, thank you for the informative conversation with Jason Haas. It was interesting to hear about the strategy and blending decisions that go into winemaking at Tablas Creek.

Jason was indeed holding out on you, as Sadie is a beautiful dog. I have a blue merle sheltie that looks quite a bit like Sadie from the front. Do you know what breed of dog Sadie is? Anyway, thanks again for the interview, and next time more Sadie please.

Jason Haas said...

Thanks, Guren. Sadie is a red merle Australian shepherd. She's a sweetheart. She's a regular on the Tablas Creek social media feeds. This is one of my favorites: https://twitter.com/TablasCreek/status/1243239748035997696?s=20

Thank you Blake for inviting me!

guren said...

Thank you so much for the reply, Jason, and thanks for the link to the video. What a gorgeous sight to see Sadie running through the vineyards. I will need to follow the Tablas Creek social media more closely from now on.


Mine Lamps said...

Thanks, Blake and Jason for a great interview. I am a garagiste from back east and use grapes from California a majority of times. The last 3 years I have ventured into Rhone varieties, and I use Tablas as a reference/baseline and I also enjoy your blog. Continue to do great work! But I struggle with Syrah as it never goes to where I expect it to go.