Food and wine are never far apart in the Rhône. This is hardly surprising when one considers that some of the world's greatest eating houses can be found between Lyon and Valence. So for Francois Villard's professional life began at the age of 20 as a waiter and wine-waiter when the wine bug really hit home.
He bought vines in Condrieu and set up cellars behind those of his friend Yves Cuilleron. He then built offices and cellar space on the plateau, above the vines of Condrieu. His idea of wine making is like cooking, forever searching, for ever questioning and trying new things out. It took him a while to get the hang of making red wine.
There was a time when the wines were too inky. Not so today when on the contrary they surprise by their delicacy as well as by their depth and power. Like many of his colleagues, Villard has his fingers in lots of different pies, including the one of reconstructing the Roman vineyards that existed around the town of Vienne and that became abandoned at the time of phylloxera and the Great War. The vines all tend to have cuvée names and are not necessarily linked to any one vineyard. Reflets for example is a blend of old vines selected from top sites and aged extensively in barrel.
Read our 15-minute interview with François Villard >