Francois Villard, Saint Joseph Rouge ‘Poivre et Sol’ 2017

£23.50 (75cl)

Only 3 left in stock

SKU: RHVI0917B

About the wine

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Description

100% Syrah from 20-year-old vineyards in the towns of St Pierre de Boeuf, Ardoix, and Chavanay - the name translates to ‘Pepper and Soil’. 60% whole cluster, no punch down. Aged in neutral barrels (2 to 4 years old) for 15 months.

About the producer

François Villard worked in the restaurant business until 1985, before spending 3 years as a chef in the Vienne hospital. His thoughts then turned to becoming a sommelier, but he thought it would be easier to become a vigneron!
Villard is a self-taught winemaker; his father, a smallholder mainly growing cereals in the Isère, did not even drink wine! However, François has a close friendship with Yves Cuilleron, from whom he learned a great deal. “I had been fired by an enthusiasm for wine since I was 20”, recalls François. “We grew a few hybrid vines and I bought some books on winemaking and set off. I do admit that I was a kept man, by my wife, for 10 years”.

François planted his first vines in 1989. He became a full-time vigneron in 1991 and built his own winery in 1997. His total production is approximately 250,000 bottles, covering almost 30 cuvées in a variety of appellations: Vin de France (white, red, rosé and Moëlleux), Saint Péray, St Joseph Rouge and Blanc, Condrieu and Côte Rôtie. François owns about 30 hectares of vines in all, as well as buying in some grapes for a few cuvées as part of his négoce operation.
As far as his viticultural approach is concerned, he does not use any pesticides and only uses very light herbicide treatments if it proves to be absolutely necessary. He aims to reduce treatments to zero when and where possible, but not at the price of quality and flavour. All the grapes are hand-harvested. François is not shy of having a little botrytis on his white grapes, be they Marsanne for his St Joseph or Viognier for his Condrieu. For him botrytis brings complexity. His wines can be found on the tables of most of the best restaurants around the world!



Jancis Robinson (Purple Pages jancisrobinson.com):

Tasted blind. Herbal notes thanks to subtle stemmy influence that integrates brilliantly with the pure black-cherry fruit on the palate. Spicy, fragrant, lengthy and expertly balanced. Has the effortless quality of high-quality fruit from a ripe vintage in the hands of a thoughtful producer. (RH) Points: 17 +. Date Tasted: 07/11/2018

Regions Vintage Report:

“After two exceptional vintages it’s difficult to believe that 2017 could match up to let alone deliver wines of similar quality. The styles though are different, with richer and often riper fruit in the North the wines are fuller than 2016 without the high concentration and balance of 2015. The South is another story, with once again a large deficit in volume, particularly for the Grenache. The season was quite warm and dry resulting in very low yields, sometimes up to 50% down. The North A relatively hot and dry vintage often resulting richer whites across the board, with the best producers managing to retain enough freshness and acidity for conveyance, for the majority these will be best consumed in youth. The reds are more of a mixed crew with some wines approaching the maturity and intensity of the 2015s, whilst others are more forward with softer tannins providing an earlier drinking window. The best producers harvested their whites early to keep the freshness but the reds much later to intensify the concentration and gain in complexity, especially for the tannin structure. The South The year started awkwardly with large amounts of “coulure” for the Grenache with the rest of the season not much easier, with a very dry summer reducing the crop further. The result is still very impressive and not too far from the highly lauded 2016 vintage. The wines are often very concentrated and, even if the acidity is a little low, the result is very impressive. Given the quality of 2017 it could have been considered as the vintage of the decade, but 2016 is still present in our minds and will be difficult to replace from the top of the pedestal. Many wines are very close in quality to the previous two vintages and I don’t think that we will see 3 successive star vintages like these for a while, furthermore 2018 is looking promising too although much more uneven between producers and appellations. The less precocious appellations fared best especially on soils less exposed to dry weather. In short, 2017 is another superb vintage if it was not for the very low volume produced. Christian Honorez, Director November 2018 ©adVINture 2020

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