Even better, the 2017 Saint-Péray Pur Blanc is straight-up sensational juicy and one of the finest whites from the appellation. Offering Hermitage-like notes of orange blossom, white flowers, caramelized peach, and honeyed minerality, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a concentrated, layered mouthfeel, and a huge finish. Count me in as a huge fan and readers should do their best to latch onto as many bottles of this elixir as they can. Made from 100% Marsanne, I’d lean toward drinking bottles over the coming 3-4 years, but it should keep for 15+ years or more.
The 2017 Saint Peray Pur Blanc is sourced from 100-year-old Marsanne vines in the heart of Saint-Péray. While that may account for its appeal if you know what it is, I also loved this wine when tasted blind at the Maison des Vins in Tain l'Hermitage. Toasted marshmallow and melon notes provide a broad foundation, but they're reinforced and tightened by electric notes of white pepper, brine and citrus zest. Rich, long and intense, it should have a lifespan of a decade or more. Tasted twice, with consistent results. Stéphane Robert's winery sits perched on the side of the hill above the village of St-Péray, the domaine named for an old tunnel (which serves as a barrel hall) dug into the hill. The last whites of the day had been pressed, and the team was hosing down the crush pad when I arrived. Here, in St-Péray, Robert said, "The strength of the appellation is the ability to retain freshness, even in hot vintages." Robert likes the 2017s, saying they're between 2015 and 2016 in style. He says 2016 is a bit overshadowed by 2015 and 2017 but gives a lot of pleasure. "For me, 2017 and 2018 are like 2015, but 2015 is a bit harder, for longer cellaring," he said. "I prefer the style of 2017 and 2018." His 2017 Cornas offerings certainly looked impressive from barrel. (JC)
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