After graduating from the École Militaire in Paris in 1785, Napoleon Bonaparte was posted to Valance with the 'La Fère' artillery regiment and is alleged to have developed a penchant for the local wine of Saint-Péray. Whether he's the poster boy you'd want for your wares is debatable but fairly academic as, with just 85 hectares under vine, paucity of production has prevented Saint-Péray developing large export markets.
We have been shipping the Clape family's wines since 1972 and, following a hiatus caused by a virulent vine malady, are delighted to once more be receiving an allocation of their excellent still Saint-Péray. Made from a blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne it has a bouquet of poached orchard fruit and a smooth texture with delicate apricot and hazelnut notes preceding an elegant, dry finish.
Jean-Louis Thiers is one of a handful of vignerons who are first and foremost producers of Saint-Péray. Much of the output here represents satellite bottling from larger concerns in neighbouring appellations keen to add breath to their (predominantly red) portfolios with sparkling and still white wines. His Domaine du Biguet is based in the eponymous hamlet in the south-west of the appellation, below the 'Crussol' escarpment. The vineyards are planted predominantly with Marsanne and 75% of the yield is deployed to produce a consistently high-quality, bottle-fermented, sparkling 'Mousseux'. With apple and pear aromas, a lively mousse and bracing palate it makes for an uplifting celebratory aperitif. The still wine in these parts is known, rather charmingly, as Tranquil and the Domaine du Biguet version has a bouquet of apricot and almonds and a mid-weight stone fruit palate. It drinks well from release and poulet à l'estragon is Jean-Louis' recommended food pairing.