The hill country of the Drôme valley has long been a specialist enclave of viticulture where the local méthode Dieoise is believed to pre-date the méthode Champenoise in inducing effervescence. The basic principle is the same in both locations - in that yeast cells induce fermentation. However, in Champagne this is performed by introducing yeast and sugar within a liqueur de tirage whereas in Die the yeasts were originally left to work on sugars in the grape juice. The resultant wines have a distinctive, creamy mousse, relatively low alcohol (at around 7 to 8 percent ABV), Alpine flower scents and a wonderfully fruity palate redolent of ripe table grapes. It consequently makes a reliable daytime aperitif or partner to another local specialty - walnuts. The Achard family have been producing Clairette de Die organically from a blend of 85% Muscat and 15% Clairette since 1982 so have long championed the genre.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they also deploy the better known 'Champagne' method to make a Crémant de Die from a blend of Clairette, Aligoté and Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains. With a crab-apple bouquet, rounded orchard fruit palate and elegant, dry finish, it too is a versatile, crowd-pleasing 'pick-me-up'.