François Villard
Lovely wines from this northern Rhône star

francois villard

François Villard is one of the stars of the northern Rhône. He came to winegrowing after a career in restaurants, where he caught the wine bug and moved from chef to sommelier. He went full time as a winegrower in 1991, and was entirely self taught, although he has a close friendship with Yves Cuilleron.

His domaine has gradually grown, as has the range he offers, and he now owns and sources from 30 hectares across five crus. François Villard was also one of the three winemakers involved with the Vins de Vienne project, who planted vines on the wrong side of the Rhône in Seyssuel, which has a Côte-Rôtie-like terroir and had been planted in ancient times.


These wines are quite lovely, and he’s clearly moved away a bit from the modernist, new-oak-heavy style that he used to flirt with in the past. Instead, he's moved to less extractive winemaking. And he's using more whole cluster.

'For me it is important to get some energy in the mouth,' says Villard, 'We stopped punchdowns five years ago. We use short cuvasions. I disagree that short cuvaisons are for early drinking wines.'

villard francois


François Villard Saint-Peray ‘Version’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
75% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne. Textured, rounded, supple and smooth with a spicy edge to he pear fruit. Stylish with nice definition and richness. 91/100

François Villard Saint-Joseph Blanc ‘Mairlant’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
50/50 Marsanne and Roussanne. Very pretty white peach and pear fruit with good texture. Rounded and pure with some freshness and finesse. 92/100

François Villard Condrieu ‘Les Terrasses du Palat’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
Real finesse here: rich pear, spice and apricot fruit with lovely texture and a bit of spiciness. Nice concentration and richness but still fresh. 94/100

François Villard Condrieu ‘Le Grand Vallon’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
Lovely open, fresh pear and citrus fruit with a hint of spiciness. Real finesse here: good acidity but still has the trademark luscious soft texture. Serious. 94/100

François Villard Condrieu ‘De Poncins’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
Powerful and broad, yet with elegance. Rich pear and peach fruit with a soft texture. Fine, stylish, broad. 94/100

François Villard L’Appel des Sereines Syrah 2012 Northern Rhône, France
Pure, aromatic nose is very floral. Detailed palate is fresh and pure with some meatiness and a bit of spice. Nice grip. Such freshness and finesse. Juicy. 93/100

François Villard Crozes Hermitage ‘Comme une Évidence’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France (cask sample)
This is whole bunch, short cuvaison, no pump down, aged in neutral Burgundy barrels. Grippy, dense and vivid with primary raspberry and black cherry fruit. Tannisn still firm. Lovely. 92-94/100

François Villard Saint-Joseph ‘Poivre et Sol’ 2013 Northern Rhône, France
Fresh, beautifully pure and elegant with nice definition. Lovely vivid fruit here with precision and purity. Nice peppery notes. 93/100

François Villard Saint-Joseph Rough ‘Mairlant’ Northern Rhône, France
Lovely purity here: focused and quite elegant with peppery notes and nice definition. Lovely wine. 94/100

François Villard Saint Joseph 'Reflet' 2012 Northern Rhône, France
There's a bit of roast coffee and spice here, and some black cherry and raspberry fruit with nice grip. Tasty and structured with good acid and focus. 94/100

François Villard Cornas 'Jouvet' 2013 Northern Rhône, France (cask sample)
This is the third vintage of this wine. Vivid and intense with high acidity. Good structure and lovely purity. Grippy, youthful and with amazing definition, this is a special wine. 94-96/100

François Villard Côte Rôtie 'Galet Blanc' 2013 Northern Rhône, France (cask sample
60% whole cluster. 2014 will be 75%. Lively and intense with freshness and lovely acidity. Very fresh and grippy with nice tannins, black cherries and spice. Floral, perfumed and fine. 94-96/100

See also:

Visiting Chapoutier

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