By: Cecily G
It’s our favorite day of the week, Wine Wednesday! Grab a glass and enjoy our continued journey to learn all things Rhône. This week’s topic: Saint-Péray AOC.
Located in the southernmost part of the northern Rhône appellations, this AOC is made up of 75 hectares of vineyards that produce grapes for predominantly sparkling wine. All Saint-Péray wines are white, either Marsanne or Roussanne.
The area of Saint-Péray was first settled and planted in the 15th century. The village was originally named Saint-Pierre-d’Ay, however, with local dialect, the name became Saint-Péray.
While earlier wines from the region had been popular among royals and within the Church, 1826 brought innovation to the area with the production of the first sparkling wine, inspired by the methods used in Champagne. Wines of Saint-Péray reached peak popularity by the 19th century, with the wines being enjoyed by many, from Russian rulers, to the Queen of England, Richard Wagner to Baudelaire, to the Popes in Rome. Finally in 1936, Saint-Péray received AOC status.
Saint-Péray's AOC still white wines are generally light in color, body, and acidity. Though most often dominated by Marsanne, the proportions between Roussanne and Marsanne are up to the winemaker. Aromas of beeswax, dried apricots, peaches, spices, nuts, florals, and cooked apples are followed by a citrusy, fruity palate.
One third of the wine production in the region is dedicated to sparkling wine. These wines are produced in the methode traditionelle, and are generally lighter in body.