André Perret is one of Condrieu's absolute top producers. His St Joseph's are also absolute gems and well worth seeking out.
Perret’s winery is located in Verlieu-Chavanay, a small village just south of Vienne. He graduated in biology, but a passion for vines led him back to the village of Verlieu-Chavanay where he grew up, and he succeeded his father in 1982. The farmland was then largely taken up with fruit trees; André planted it with vines and through acquisitions extended it to its present 13 hectares of steep hillside terraces thus helping with the badly needed renaissance of Viognier in the Rhône. He has since become one of the legends of Condrieu, motivated by a deep respect for terroir (his top wines are all single vineyards) and detailed attention to the vineyards to avoid the need for chemical treatments.
Terrace cultivation is needed on the extremely steep slopes making vineyard maintenance extremely labour intensive and the use of any machine impossible. Yields are minuscule.
The generic wines set an exceedingly high standard and are among the best of their kind. The Condrieu is legendary and since we only receive a small amount, it sells out quickly. The St Joseph is also well worth seeking out. 100% Syrah from granite soils, it spends a year in oak to give a wine whose hallmarks are depth, concentration and silky tannins.
The special cuvées, Chéry and Grisières take the level a notch higher. Chéry combines elegance and power thanks to the exceptional exposure of its single vineyard and the age of its vines. Two thirds of the blend is aged for one year in barrel (as opposed to one third for the generic Condrieu). Grisières is a blend of the best parcels of Saint Joseph and receives a little more time in barrel: it has an extra degree of intensity, density and tannins over its younger sibling.