ABOUT THIS WINE
From two parcels in brown schistous soils on the northern end of the appellation comprised of organically farmed younger (10-year-old) and older (70-year-old) vines. Fermentation is 50% whole cluster and the wines spend 18 months in a blend of demi-muids and used barrels. The robe is a dark purple to the meniscus. The nose is perfumed with heady aromas of violets, ripe raspberry, and cassis, with hints of tapenade, woody herbs, and subtle notes of black pepper. The mid-weight palate offers ripe berry and stone fruit flavors underlain by a spicy minerality and framed by fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins. There is good verve and style here on a long mouth-watering finish. This is lovely now, though should gain in sophistication and detail as the the pretty fruit integrates with the structural elements, perhaps after 5-7 years in the cellar.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Carmina Burana , the cantata composed by Carl Orff, combined the power of the choir, the purity of the voices, the complexity of the music and the sensuality of the songs. The carmine color symbolizes passion and strength.
History: Pliny and Plutarch celebrated wines from this vineyard as the " wine viennoi s ". The first references to the Côte-Rôtie back to the VI th century. The reputation of this wine continued to grow during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, until it was found on many princely tables in Europe. The vineyard reached its peak in 1890. The phylloxera and the First World War almost made it disappear. It was reborn in the 1960s under the impetus of enterprising winegrowers convinced of the potential of the appellation. Geographi e : the appellation covers 283 hectares in production. It extends to the south of Lyon on the right bank of the Rhône and over 3 municipalities: Saint-Cyr-sur-Rhône, Ampuis, Tupin-Semons. Soils : granitic terraces covered gneiss, clay and iron oxide. Clima t : moderate continental, dry and hot summer, regular rainfall during the other seasons.
Vinification: vintage partially broken, then sorted on a vibrating table and fed into tank by a conveyor belt. Maceration for about twenty days. REARiNG e : 18 to 24 months tank frustoconical timber, half barrels of 500 liters and barrels. Racking and blending 6 weeks before bottling.
Pierre Jean Villa is a solid, well-built man, and maybe that’s why he gravitates toward elegance in wine. He came from the Rhône Valley but learned to make wine in Burgundy, which may also explain his bent for finesse. He first learned the ropes working at Mommessin’s Clos de Tart. After Boisset bought the Mommessin firm, Pierre Jean worked in Beaujolais and then for three years at Domaine de la Vougeraie with Pascal Marchand.
In 2003 he returned to the Rhône and became the manager for Vins de Viennes. This is the company that Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard, and François Villard created to resurrect the ancient vineyard area of Seyssuel, just north of Vienne on the left bank, as well as to do business as a négociant. For seven years Pierre Jean handled the administration and winemaking at the firm, eventually becoming the fourth partner. The other partners had their own domains to run; Vins de Viennes was Pierre Jean’s bailiwick, and he made it what it is today.
In 2009, after a lot of thought, he handed in his keys and started his own Domaine Pierre Jean Villa from scratch. He began with parcels in St Joseph, Condrieu, and Côte-Rôtie, plus he had a parcel in Seyssuel for his Esprit d’Antan. He made vintage 2009 at his buddy Jean-Michel Gerin’s domain in Ampuis and moved into a refurbished fruit processing building in Chavanay the following year. That’s Chavanay below, and PJ’s Roussanne vines are in those hills.
The cellar work remains hands off: spontaneous ferments–many with a percentage of stems, some without any, a decision taken at each harvest–normally no fining or filtration, and racking and bottling is done according to the lunar calendar. The domain started in 2009 with a cellar full of new barrels, but by vintage 2015 Pierre Jean managed to transition to having most of his élevages take place in older barrels. Going forward, this will be the norm, with now and again a small percentage of new replacement barrels entering the cellar.
Stylistically, Pierre Jean’s wines are clean, pure, deep, mineral and elegant.
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