A collaboration inspired by history, Les Vins de Vienne is a partnership of Yves Cuilleron, Francois Villard and Pierre Gaillard, three superstar, Syrah-specialist vignerons in Rhone.
Beginning at Rhone’s northernmost point in 1996, this trio purchased and rejuvenated the old terroir of the vineyard of Seyssuel, located on the left bank of the Rhone, just 25km from Lyon, north of Côte-Rôtie. It was Gaillard’s readings of historic writers that led him to Seyssuel, home to famed wines during the Roman era, the Middle Ages, and the 19th century. Purchasing his first vineyard in Malleval in 1981, in addition to Les Vins de Vienne, Pierre now manages 77ha of his own vineyards through the estates that he created at Malleval, Madeloc and Cottebrune.
When Cuilleron first visited Seyssuel, he looked up at the rising slopes and noted their exposure to the sun. As the vigneron and proprietor at Cave Yves Cuilleron, which was established by his grandfather in 1920, Yves remains committed to the entire process from vine-planting to bottling, controlling every aspect of his wines. Practicing “viticulture raisonnable”, he aims to “produce the best possible grapes” to make “100% homemade wines” both at his own estate and at Les Vins de Vienne.
While Yves was looking up, Francois was gazing down at the Mediterranean-like scrubland, examining the potential of the soil at Seyssuel. Comprised of mostly granite, with schist and slate, the soil sits in the form of terraces that face south and south-west. A former chef who learned winemaking on his own, the acclaimed Villard has his own domaine in Condrieu, along with holdings in St Joseph, St Veray and Côte Rôtie.
This wine is made from a parcel acquired in 2006 on the Ardeche hillsides of Saras. Situated at an altitude of around 300 meters, the vineyard is planted on a fine sand of decomposed granite, bringing about fresh characteristics.