For many years at the start of our tastings, winemaker Denis Basset would give us a small taste of his only white cuvée. “Just to set the palate,” he’d explain, before continuing on to his rich, syrah-based reds. The white was always lovely — floral and fresh, beautifully expressive, and a perfect way to start a tasting.
And every year, when we asked how much we could buy, he’d smile and shake his head — already all spoken for. At last, a few years ago, we finally received our first allocation — at first just enough for Futures, and then a bit for inventory as well.
Today we’re excited to release the few cases we have available of this perfect winter white: exotic, unusual, and simply delicious.
Denis Basset runs the Domaine Saint-Clair, which he started several years ago after spending the first decade of his working life in the family’s flower business. He has rapidly gained confidence and acclaim; both Decanter and the Guide Hachette have listed him in a dynamic new generation of Crozes-Hermitage winemakers.
Basset’s white is a Rousanne-Marsanne blend (70/30), in the style of a classic northern Rhône. The nose is soft and enveloping, with tropical notes of mango, pineapple, and green tea. The mouth is rich and round, but with excellent concentration and length — it’s at once soft and sturdy, showing nectarine and honey notes.
This works well year round, but it’s most perfect in the winter, as the distilled citrus perfume wafts welcomingly from the glass. Serve some with a salty triple cream cheese and crusty bread.
Saint Clair Crozes-Hermitage blanc 2019
bottle price: $28
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