André Perret took control of the family domaine (half a hectare) in 1982. Like many small vignerons of the northern Rhône, the Perret family were small-scale farmers, growing fruit and keeping livestock as well as tending their small plot of vines. Soon after taking control, Perret purchased a number of plots of Condrieu, together with some in St Joseph, increasing the size of their holdings to over 8 hectares.
50 km south of Lyon, the Saint Joseph vineyard covers an area of 1000 hectares, along 60 km of the Rhône’s right bank. It includes 23 communes in Ardeche, 3 in the Loire. The soils of the region are characterized by metamorphic schist and gneissic granite. They are also shallow, light, permeable and warm — perfect for producing a high quality wine.
Terrace cultivation of these vines on steep hillsides involves some difficulties for wine-growers. Because of the narrowness of the terraces, the use of machines is impossible — all work must be done manually, so the vines are cultivated entirely by hand.
This is a blend of roughly 50/50 Marsanne and Roussanne, aged one year in barrel, 20% new. Aromatics of peach, white flowers with poached pear. On the palate, apricot, nectarine, honey with some light citrus notes and stony minerality. Rich but elegant. I expect this will be on my short list of best white wines for the year. I was impressed by the ripeness of the fruit, but it showed some restraint and was also well balanced and delineated. 14% alcohol. Imported by Robert Chadderddon Selections. Strongly recommended.