Clairette de Die Wine
It's frightfully fashionable to farm organically in the 21st Century but the Achard-Vincent family have been doing so since 1968 so deserve citation as pioneering early adopters. Based in the hamlet of Sainte-Croix, 6 kilometres west of Die, in the foothills of the Alps, father and son Jean-Pierre and Thomas Achard represent the 5th and 6th generations of the family to make wine here and currently tend 12 hectares of vines that are all certified as biodynamic.
Their principal focus is on the local speciality of Clairette de Die – a gently-frothy, fruity sweet sparkling wine that is redolent of mountain air and ripe table grapes. It is produced by the ancient Méthode Dieoise, believed to pre-date Champagne production, which uses a combination of chilling and filtration to leave enough active yeast cells to induce effervescence. With relatively low alcohol, at around 8% ABV, it makes for a lovely al fresco aperitif or partner to fruit-based desserts.
J-P and T also make a fine Crémant de Die by the much more widely used Méthode Traditionelle from a base wine blended from Muscat, Clairette and Aligoté. With a lively mousse, ripe orchard fruit scents and flavours and an elegant, dry finish it is a crowd-pleasing fizz that is weighty enough to stand up to all manner of canapés.