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A Discovery in the Rhône

Jean-Louis Thiers St.-Péray Domaine du Biguet 2007
James Molesworth
Posted: March 11, 2010

After an uncommonly smooth day of traveling, I arrived in the Northern Rhône on Sunday afternoon and dropped my bags in my room at Domaine de Clairefontaine before heading down for lunch.

First things first—a large bottle of Evian. But soon after, I ordered a glass of white from the St.-Péray appellation, from a producer I haven’t seen in the United States yet.

St.-Péray is a small appellation featuring limestone soils, located just south of Cornas. In the past, the appellation produced more sparkling wine than still, though that’s changed in recent years and the wines are gaining a following outside of the area.

Typically the wines are 100 percent Marsanne, though in this case there’s some Roussanne in the blend. The wine also gets a touch of oak, according to the sommelier, which lends it a slightly plumper feel, with notes of ripe apple, quince and honeysuckle. It was a touch broad on its own, but showed its inherent zip and delineation when drunk alongside a warm vegetable and mushroom terrine sitting in a delightful beurre blanc. 88 points, non-blind, and fairly priced at 10 euros a glass. members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated white wines from St.-Péray.

Member comments   5 comment(s)

Michael Garcia — bakersfield,ca —  March 11, 2010 11:05am ET

10 euros is about $15 U.S.for a glass of 88 point wine????

James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  March 11, 2010 12:14pm ET

Michael: A little less than that. Plus 88 points is 'very good' on our scale, and I love drinking 88 point wines, as I try not to throw the points around...!

Jeff Vogel — Kaiserslautern, Germany —  March 14, 2010 6:14pm ET

Are you still in the Rhone Valley? I and two of my best drinking pals are here for a 9-day Chateauneuf-du-Pape bonanza. We're staying in Rasteau just down the street from St. Didier--any chance for lunch Monday or Tuesday if you're still here? Location: Your choice. E-mail: Blog:

Warmest Regards,
Jeff, Tom and Don (who, by the way, is a huge fan)

James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  March 15, 2010 3:48am ET

Jeff: Thanks for the invite. I am here through Wednesday, but just in the northern Rhone. And while it sounds like fun, I doubt my work schedule and your party schedule could coincide...;-)

Enjoy the region though and try to get to Gigondas if you can. It's a great contrast to Chateauneuf and there are some superb wines being made there now...

Aaron Meeker — Kansas City, KS —  March 15, 2010 6:27pm ET

James nice note. I've really been looking for some white rhône value that have acid.

Michael, isn't having a glass of wine far more about points? Food, atmosphere, company, etc make the glass...not a point system.

I've never seen a good wine list with "90 points and above" listed or a "88pt Best Buy" noted to the right of the region.

Just a thought.

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