Domaine Achard-Vincent is a Biodynamic estate winery in the Rhône Valley region of France. It makes still white wines under the Coteaux de Die AOC, and traditional method sparkling wines under the Crémant de Die AOC and Clairette de Die Méthode Diois Ancestrale AOC.
Owner: SCEA Achard Vincent. Jean-Pierre Achard, his wife Claudie and their son Thomas Achard (born 1980).
Estate vineyards: On 27th March 2013 I was told by ‘phone there were 11ha of vines: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (80%), Clairette Blanche (17.3%) and Aligoté (0.3ha or 2.7%). Guyot simple. 2.20 metres x 0.90 metres = 4,400 vines/ha.
Terroir: Clay-limestone. 400 metres. Cold winters, hot summer days but with cool mountain nights.
Organics & Biodynamics: 1971: Domaine Achard-Vincent was one of France’s organic pioneers, converting to organics (Lemaire-Boucher method) in 1971 under Jean-Pierre Achard’s father who started a form of organic farming from 1968, it appears. Jean-Pierre attended Biodynamic course days hosted by the late François Bouchet (d.2005) for groups of wine-growers but was not working biodynamically nor was aware of any growers in Clairette de Die working this way when I called him by ‘phone on Thursday lunchtime 4th December 2003.
2008: In 2008 however the estate converted to biodynamics under Thomas Achard. He bought a copper dynamiser from Eco-Dyn (110 litres) and preparations including 500P from Pierre Masson. Compost was made initially from organic sheep manure from a neighbour with the biodynamic compost preps 502-507.
2012: At Millésime Bio 2012 Thomas Achard said he was now applying manure from an organic herd of milk cows located around 6 miles (10km) from the estate. He added that he left allowed an indigenous sward to grow between the vine rows, and every so often would scarify it (‘griffage’) to lightly aerate the topsoil.
Certification: 1978 Joined Nature et Progrès. | 1998 First vintage with organic certification. | 2009 Certified Biodynamic from 2009 Demeter for the first time. | 2016 Still Demeter certified Biodynamic.
Winemaking: Stainless steel tanks. Bucher press. Temperature control. No chaptalisation, no bentonite, ‘no must adjusters’. Sulfur dioxide used at low levels.
Clairette de Die AOC Méthode Dioise Ancestrale: Made by the Méthode Ancestrale. 85%% Muscat à Petits Grains, 15% Clairette. Doux. NV 80% Muscat à Petit Grains, 20% Clairette.
Clairette de Die AOC Brut: Traditional method. 100% Clairette Blanche.
Clairette de Die AOC, Cuvée Bio-Sûre: Sweet. 100% Muscat à Petits Grains. 7% alcohol. Méthode ancestrale. Doux.
Clairette de Die AOC Méthode Dioise Ancestrale, Gabrielle de Richaud: Doux. 7% alc. I think this is like the Bio Sûre but which has longer ageing in bottle. NV Aged 36 months in bottle. Traditional method. Blue bottle. More autolytic than the ‘tradition’, clean again if light, good style.
Clairette de Die AOC Méthode Diois Ancestrale, Topaze: 7% alcohol.
Clairette de Die AOC Privilège: A sweet (‘roux’) sparkling white. 75% Muscat, 25% Clairette. 7.5% alc. Made via the Méthode dioise. Drink within two years.
Clairette de Die AOC, Topaze: 100% Muscat à Petits Grains. Doux. A selection from the best vats.
Clairette de Die AOC, P’tite Gaby Sans Soufre Ajouté: 100% Muscat à Petits Grains. 7% alcohol. Doux. No added sulphites.
Crémant de Die AOC Brut: A traditional method sparkling wine. 80% Aligoté, 15% Clairette, 5% Muscat à Petits Grains.
Crémant de Die AOC, P’tit Jules: A ‘vin sec from ‘raisins bien murs’. As an aperitif or with desserts.
Côteaux de Die DOC Blanc Sec, Clos du Vignon: 100% Clairette. Aged on fine lees. 11.5% alcohol. No longer made (Millésime Bio 2015).
Wine Production & sales: 1998 640 hl (80% sold in France). | 2002 654 hl. | 2005 740 hl.
Le Village, F-26150 Sainte-Croix (Drôme), France
Tel +33 (0)18.104.22.168.73 | www.achard-vincent.com