Préface comes from the Latin prae: before and fari: to speak. This is the estate’s first wine, preceding the others and soliciting their discovery.
History: Charlemagne particularly appreciated the wines from these slopes, called ‘Vin des Mauves’ (The wines of Mauve) named after the village situated in the heart of the appellation. In the XVIIth century the Jesuits of Tournon named them Saint Joseph in honour of the Virgin Mary’s husband.
Geography: the appellation covers 1160 hectares and is 60 kms long. On the right bank of the Rhône, it begins at Chavanay in the north finishing in Valence in the west. It stretches over 26 communes of which 23 are in the Ardèche and 3 in the Loire. Between 1959 and 1969, the vineyards situated in this part of the Rhône were regrouped under the same appellation of Saint-Joseph.
Soils: light, composed of schist and gneiss on a granite base. South/South East exposure.
Climate: moderate continental with hot, dry summers and regular rain fall the other seasons.
Whether in Spain or France, the Villa family has always worked the land. Pierre-Jean never inherited a vineyard but he has harvested, visited cellars, tasted wines, and roamed the wine routes with friends. 1992: it's the heyday for Burgundy and its prestigious vineyards, Mommessin, Clos de Tart... Pierre-Jean Villa follows the wine from its production to its commercialization. 2003: Pierre-Jean Villa returns to his homestead and joins the trio of the Wines of Vienne. He is the keeper of the temple until 2009. 2009: Pierre-Jean Villa creates his domain in the heart of the northern Rhone and begins his new life as a one hundred per cent independent wine-grower. 2020: last year before organic certification, the domain has become one of the essential addresses in the northern Rhône with 17 hectares of vines for major wines spread across the right and left bank of the Rhône: Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and on the slopes of Seyssuel to the north of Vienne.
A great wine is ultimately born from the respect of the land and its fruit. This is both an evidence and a work-ethic for Pierre-Jean Villa. He doesn't let anything pass him by. In the vineyard, the only logic is to preserve the life of the soil whilst producing wines true to their terroir. In the cellar, he treats the grapes with non-interventionist wine making : indigenous yeast and respect for the lunar calender when racking and bottling. In the end, the wine must express this just and delicate balance between the typicity of the terroir and the wine maker's ethics.
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