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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes Oregon, Washington, California Zinfandel and Rhône-style reds, and U.S. sparkling wines.
Tim Fish

Racy California Rhône Red with a Mexican Feast

Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2007

Tim Fish
Posted: November 10, 2009

Cooking with kids can be a lot of fun as long as you don’t get uptight about the mess. Tacos are my 10-year-old’s specialty, and we keep things pretty simple. While he focuses on cutting tomatoes, grating cheese and trying not to burn the ground beef, I prepare something on the side to make dinner more adult-friendly. Often I’ll marinate a flank steak the night before and make fresh salsa or guacamole.

Of course, the right wine is imperative. Recently I uncorked Tablas Creek’s Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2007 ($25). A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise, the red offers a hint of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from California’s Central Coast. In fact, Château de Beaucastel, one of the leading estates in Châteauneuf, is a partner in the Tablas Creek and supplied the bud wood.

Fermented in stainless steel and aged for a year in large French oak casks, the Côtes de Tablas is vibrant and fresh, with crisp yet racy, spicy fruit. I rated it 88 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2007 (87, $25).

• Plus, get our quick list of Easy Finds among California reds.

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