The Girard family has a long history of grape growing in the Rhone Valley. After selling all their grapes since 1919, young S_bastien went to enology school and, along with his father Edgar, created the family's first winemaking domaine in 2006.
The effect S_bastien had on the property was immediate. Organic farming was implemented and the property will be fully through biodynamic conversion this year.
The vineyards of Ville Rouge are set on the three terraces of Le Chassis, an alluvial plain that composes the largest expanse of the appellation. Located south of the famous hill of Hermitage, it's one of the most dynamic sections of the appellation and boasts full exposure to sun and wind, marking these richly textured Syrahs with power and intensity.
The three terraces work their way up from the Rhone, with sandy soils closest to the river. Next up is the largest portion of Les Chassis, with rounded river and glacial stones, red clay, gravel and sand. Further up on the highest terrace, the soils are a broad mixture of red and white clays and calcium-rich loess, an Alpine wind-blown crystalline fine-grained sediment. Each of these soil types contributes its own personality into the blend of each of wine.
The Crozes-Hermitage 'Inspiration' is made from the estate's youngest vines (10-15 years old) grown on the aforementioned Le Chassis. The juice gets a four-day pre-fermentation soak, with 80% then aged for 12 months in stainless steel, the remainder in used oak barrique.