At a recent New York Branch tasting of the wines of Jean-Luc Colombo, I discovered the 2014 Le Belle de Mai, a dry white wine, from St. Peray. I loved the wine. It was mouthfilling, bright with bright acidity and strong fruit flavors from Roussanne and Marsanne, and surprising length. What mostly stood out to me however, is that I had never heard of St.Peray! I looked it up in Hugh Johnson and Janis Robinson’s World Atlas of Wine and the region warranted less than a paragraph. I think this region deserves more. The bottle doesn’t offer much information, just some bland platitudes about Colombo’s love of nature. I wanted more.
St. Peray AOC is located just south of Cornas. Just 75 hectares are in production.The allowed grapes are Roussanne and Marsanne. 90% of the planted acreage is Marsanne according to Wikipedia, much of which is used to make sparkling wine. The region is dominated by a large granite and limestone mountain. I hear secondhand that a number of winemakers are buying property there looking to expand. Most suitable vineyard land in France has been bought up for decades; for a young producer, without a large bank account, there really aren’t many places to go. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from St. Peray over the next few years. I know I’ll be seeking out some of the wines from other producers and will update my opinions here.
Oh yes, about the Colombo effort. Go buy it with both hands. If this isn’t the kind of wine you want to drink with your fish, then you and I will simply have at agree to disagree.