Old World meets New World in this family partnership between the Hydes of Hyde Vineyard (Carneros, Napa), their cousin Pamela (née Fairbanks), and her husband, Aubert de Villaine, co-director of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Burgundy). From the very first vintage in 2000, Hyde de Villaine wines have shown their pedigree, fusing the finesse and balance of Old-World winemaking with the exuberance of California fruit from the legendary Hyde Vineyard.
Hyde de Villaine (HdV) represents the shared history, experience and vision of these two families. Bringing the rich traditions of France's winemaking techniques, Aubert drives Hyde de Villaine's viticulture and winemaking philosophy -- one that espouses minimal intervention by the winemaker in order to express the varietal, the vineyard and the vintage. Larry brings a legacy of family farming in California and over four decades of experience growing wine grapes in Napa Valley, particularly Carneros. Aubert and Larry are both innovators with a desire for continuous improvement in the vineyard, and they have established a culture around the pursuit of excellence for Hyde de Villaine wines over the past 23 years.
Hyde de Villaine wines are produced exclusively from Hyde Vineyard in Carneros. Originally purchased by the Hyde family over 33 years ago, Hyde Vineyard is the source of some of the best single-vineyard wines in the country (e.g., Patz & Hall, Paul Hobbs, Ramey, Staglin, Joseph Phelps, DuMol, Schramsberg, Robert Mondavi). Larry Hyde has gained national recognition for his viticultural talents as Hyde de Villaine was poured multiple times at various White House dinners.
Spread over sedimentary terraces, Hyde Vineyard is blessed with shallow loamy soil and ancient streambeds that work in conjunction with the cool Carneros climate and gentle winds to create moderate hydric stress within the vines. It is this condition of moderate stress that encourages the vines to maximize their potential.
The temperature-moderating winds and fog of the Carneros region result in a prolonged growing season. This extended growing season is vital to the completion of phenolic maturation that brings both intensity and balance to the wines.
Hyde Vineyard is cultivated to minimize compaction of the soil, thus encouraging a healthy microbial ecosystem and a naturally balanced substructure for the vine roots. Sustainably farmed, the vines flourish in a naturally balanced environment that allows a certain amount of vine disease to occur. Though seemingly counter-intuitive, the great growths of France have long understood that a certain amount of disease is not only natural, but provides assistance in naturally stressing the vine into producing its finest wines. By avoiding chemical fertilizers and herbicides, biodiversity flourishes in the soil and allows the vines to naturally repel most disease through the presence of beneficial organisms and bacteria. In substitute of utilizing pesticides, Hyde Vineyard plants insectary flowers throughout the vineyard to fight intrusive pests.
All grapes are hand-picked and meticulously sorted so that only the finest clusters arrive in the cool morning hours at the Hyde de Villaine winery in Napa. The winery was specially designed to respect every aspect of the harvest, insuring the gentlest handling of the grapes and minimal intervention in the wines. Custom-designed equipment maximizes the use of gravity and minimizes the exposure to mechanical pumping. From the press, the fruit is taken to an assortment of tanks that allow co-fermentation of specific lots in order to marry together the distinctive characteristics of each one. Once the wines are in barrel, winemaker Stéphane Vivier carefully follows each barrel personally until it is time to bring them back together to make the ultimate blend. In each vintage, only the finest barrels will make it into the Hyde de Villaine wines.
Seeking to express the terroir of Hyde Vineyard, winemaker Stéphane Vivier must be both viticulturist and vintner. Joining the venture in 2002, Stéphane brings refined skills in vineyard management and winemaking. Born and raised in Meloisey, a small village near Saint-Romain in France's Burgundy region, Stéphane earned a Master of Science in viticulture and enology from the Université de Bourgogne. His skills were honed in the vineyards and cellars of Pommard, Meursault and Chassagne-Montrachet. Stéphane works closely with Aubert and Larry to adapt and implement the strictest viticultural and vinification techniques of France to the fruit of Hyde Vineyard.
Hyde de Villaine (HdV) Chardonnay is distinctive from its Californian counterparts for its minerality, structure and natural acidity, all of which provide a fresh, seamless wine that pairs beautifully with food. Sourced from older-vine blocks at Hyde Vineyard, the 30-plus-year-old vines produce a wine of character and concentration. This wine is aged in French oak (20 percent new) for 12 months, followed by three months in stainless steel and an additional 14 months of bottle maturation. Reminiscent of grand cru Burgundy, this wine will age gracefully for two decades.
Hyde de Villaine (HdV) Belle Cousine is a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend from 22-year-old vines planted on the eastern edge of the Carneros District. Its name is a reference to Pamela Fairbanks de Villaine, Larry Hyde's lovely cousin. It is Pamela who brings these visionary viticultural families from Burgundy and the Carneros region of Napa Valley together to make wines that express the character of place, with the rare minerality so dear to the Burgundian palate.
The Coat of Arms
Hyde de Villaine's labels bear the coat of arms of the De la Guerra family from which Pamela de Villaine and the Hydes descend. The De la Guerra family is one of the oldest winemaking families in California and traces its winemaking history back to a gold medal received at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair. This coat of arms symbolizes the sense of tradition, family and winemaking history that Hyde de Villaine embodies in its philosophy.