Saint-Péray, an original appellation of the Northern Rhône Valley
It is the most southern of the appellations of the Northern Rhône Valley. And this is not the only particularity of the AOC Saint-Péray. Here, it is not the Syrah and the Viognier which dominate, but the Roussanne and the Marsanne. These two grape varieties give birth to aromatic and fresh white wines, but also to light and refreshing sparkling wines. The latter represent 2/3 of the production. The Saint-Péray appellation stands out from its prestigious neighbours and offers a range of wines that is as original as it is seductive.
General presentation of saint-péray
The AOC Saint-Péray is located in the Ardèche, in the very south of the Northern Rhône Valley vineyards, in the communes of Saint-Péray and Toulaud. The AOC spreads out its fifty hectares on the right bank of the Rhône, just opposite Valence. It is at the foot of a rocky spur and in the shelter of the Crussol castle that the vines are spread out on a gentle slope.
Saint-Péray is located in the continuation of the Cornas and Saint Joseph appellations. But whereas Cornas gives pride of place to Syrah, Saint-Péray fully exploits the virtues of the delicate white grape varieties Marsanne and Roussanne, just like the famous AOC Hermitage and the Saint Joseph appellation through its rare white wines. The Northern Rhône Valley is the realm of red wine, with Côte-Rôtie leading the way. As for Condrieu, it has chosen Viognier, another emblematic white grape variety of the region.
In Saint-Péray, marsanne dominates. But the white wines play the card of marsanne-roussanne blends according to proportions freely chosen by the winemaker. Sparkling wines make up 2/3 of the production. It was in 1829 that the still white wines of this Rhone vineyard were made sparkling, under the auspices of the Faure company. They are the only sparkling wines in the Rhône Valley.
Characteristics of Saint-Péray
The white wines known as "still" of the Saint-Péray appellation have a pale yellow colour which can evolve towards straw gold with time. Their floral nose is their identity card: violets, acacia and hawthorn form a pleasant aromatic bouquet. Citrus fruits such as bergamot and fruits such as apricot, apple, quince, lychee and peach complete the range of aromas, to which can be added touches of dried fruits such as almond, hazelnut and walnut. These white wines are full-bodied, fresh, rich and balanced, with a touch of minerality that is also found in sparkling wines.
The sparkling wines of the AOC Saint-Péray are also characterised by a pale yellow colour and a floral nose. Their aromas can also take on notes of chestnut, apricot, toast, honey and almond. Their bubbles are fine, abundant and elegant; their foam is dense and airy.
Sparkling wines are best drunk young. Still white wines can be aged for 2 to 10 years.
How to taste a Saint-Péray
Serve a white Saint-Péray with fish or seafood dishes: snacked scallops, fish tartar, oyster platter, trout, fish tajine, etc. White meat and poultry also represent a great opportunity for a food-wine pairing. A Saint-Péray AOC can also accompany goat's cheeses such as Picodon, Saint-Marcellin, mountain tomme from the Ardèche... For dessert, let it be served with marrons glacés or chestnut mousse. Serve it at a temperature of about 10°.
An effervescent Saint-Péray will be ideal as an aperitif, with foie gras for example, or with dessert. Serve it at a temperature of about 8°C.