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François Villard has firmly established himself as one of Condrieu`s greatest winemakers. His wines are bright, poised and vivacious with a spine-tingling minerality, combined with amazing depth and intensity. François has 7 hectares of vineyard, which include parcels in Condrieu, as well as small pockets of Côte-Rôtie and Saint-Joseph. He firmly believes in the importance of the soil, more so than exposure, although he is very lucky to have both working in his favour. As a result of optimal ripening his wines are rich and concentrated with complex aromas of peaches, apricots, honeysuckle, and honey for the whites and leather and spice for the reds. The whites are often allowed to develop botrytis and most of the wines pass through wood ageing for an extended amount of time to prepare them for a very long time in the winery, no expense is spared in production either, from the painstaking selection in the vineyard to the use of new oak barrels. His wines are the epitome of the Northern Rhône – rich, full-bodied, complex and elegant.
Villard farms sustainably and hopes to be certified organic by 2022. He works his soils and uses organic fertilizers and organic treatments for disease as needed. He’s working with spontaneous fermentations and he’s begun experiments with making wine with very minimal sulphur during vinification and it’s gone well, so he’ll expand on that in the coming years. He has no intention of eliminating sulphur altogether and plans to continue to use a minimum amount of sulphur at bottling. He filters the wines if he needs too, but tries to avoid it.
A young-vine Viognier from two villages known for Condrieu, Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône and Verin. The soil is sandy granite and mica.
In terms of style, Villard tends to harvest later than his neighbours, optimizing ripeness, with all grapes being hand-harvested. He uses whole clusters during vinification as the stems give freshness to the wine. For his Condrieu, he likes to work with botrytis if possible, but he will only wait if the potential alcohol does not get too high, balance being the key. Villard never chaptalizes his whites (and very rarely the reds) and will make several passes in the vineyards to wait for the fruit to ripen. He’s using barrels and foudres for aging, some new depending on the cuvée. The whites are bounding with succulent fruit, a rich texture, and have a deft balance. The reds strike a nice harmony between red fruit notes and spicy earth, classic Northern Rhône.
This wine is fermented in barrel with native yeasts and aged in French barrels on its lees for 11 months (without racking) with frequent battonage.
Condrieu in all but name, this has a classic rich and complex nose with aromas of peach, apricot and wild flowers which transfers through to the palate yet there is a bite to this wine with a touch of bitter lemon that adds to the complex flavours which linger in the mouth.
Pan-roasted chicken with mediterranean vegetables.
2 – 5 years.