Wine of the Week: 2016 Tablas Creek Vermentino

Vermentino might seem an incongruous wine for Tablas Creek, a Rhone specialist, to produce. But vermentino is another name for the rolle grape, which is fairly common in southern France — though not in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which provides the inspiration for Tablas Creek.

As the Tablas Creek website explains, the nursery guy for the Perrins – the French family who own Chateau de Beaucastel and are partners with the Haas family in Tablas Creek – recommended the importation of vermentino, thinking it would thrive in the estate’s calcareous soils. The winery has bottled it as a stand-alone variety since 2002, and it’s long been a favorite of mine.

The 2016 is very fresh and racy, with white fruit, notes of dry honey and fig and nice fleshiness. Its richness belies its modest 12.9 percent alcohol. The usual price is $27, although the winery has it on sale here through the end of June for $24.30. It’s a refreshing choice for summer quaffing.