SuperNormal: Clape St. Péray 2016
I have contemplated the question of value and wine for quite some time and it seems to me that wine has become an increasingly expensive affair, in the last few years. The prices of quite a few wines have rocketed so high that they have become more of an asset, a luxury brand or a trophy, rather than a drink made of the complex development of grape juice that is meant to be savoured, appreciated, shared and, most of all, enjoyed. And despite the fact that these wines are ultimately beautiful it makes you wonder if wine is losing (in some cases) its essence and perhaps its soul.
Nowadays, as soon as a wine becomes well known and sought after, it takes little more than a few vintages before its price spirals upwards. And, I'm not only referring to the top regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone. This column arose from my perception of an empty space. The legendary wines are often praised by all, but can be afforded by very few. Nevertheless, there didn't seem to be much written about wines that are distinctive, interesting, and sensibly priced. Suggestions of wines with character, that are actually an amazing bargain for their quality. So, here I will be focusing on beautiful, top value, wines that should not be missed. Of course, I had to set a reasonable upper limit; exactly the point of this column. The limit for wines from Greece is up to 15 euros and for those from around the world, up to 35 euros. Welcome to the world of super+normal.
Domaine Auguste Clape St. Péray Blanc 2016
This is on the limit of 35 euros and it may exceed this price (see here)), but it is so distinctive that I could not resist including it. Clape is well known for being one of the fathers of Northern Rhone's Syrah; his Cornas is one of the most sought after wines. Nevertheless, he produces an under the radar white from St. Péray, which is Marsanne 100% from a 1 hectare plot, with the vines on clay and granite soils. Wine is fermented in cement vats, and matures in stainless steel for 8 months.
Lemon coloured. On the nose ripe with marzipan and apricot. On the palate it is slightly grassy and very Marsanne like, with all the phenolic grip it delivers. Textural, mealy and rich but not heavy with 13.5% abv. and an appetising bitterness, which brings all the pieces together. Get your hands on it; a superb gastronomic wine to be enjoyed over the next 5 years.
* Imported in Greece by Deals S.A Suggested retail price, 35 euros plus VAT