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Aubert de Villaine and Napa venture aims to change image of California

The co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee Conti and a Napa producer hope the launch of their range will alter people's perceptions of Californian wine.

Hyde de Villaine, the joint venture between Aubert de Villaine and Larry Hyde, will launch in the UK next month.

The venture was established in 2000 between Larry Hyde and Aubert de Villaine, owner of Burgundy’s legendary Domaine de la Romanee Conti, who is married to Hyde’s cousin Pamela.

Rick Hyde, president of Hyde vineyards in Carneros, told Decanter.com they expected to come up against popular prejudice about California in the UK.

‘Perhaps the biggest challenge we foresee in the UK is overcoming some common perceptions of “California wines”. We find ourselves on the other end of the spectrum from wines that emphasize high alcohols, ultra-ripe fruit and heavy handed oak.’

Hyde’s range includes two Chardonnays, a Syrah and Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend but no Pinot Noir, despite the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti link, and the fact that Carneros’ cool, windy climate is ideally suited to the grape.

Hyde claims its wines are more refined than most in the region thanks to its Burgundy connections.

He said, ‘Many in [Napa] valley make the claim of French influence in their ‘style’, yet go on to exploit and manipulate the opulence that this region can deliver.

‘Our wines are farmed and coaxed to maturities that allow the minerality, natural acidity and flavor profiles of the vineyard to be displayed and not hidden’.

The Hyde de Villaine wines are DeLa Guerra Chardonnay, Hydede Villaine Chardonnay, Hydede Villaine Belle Cousine Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon and Hydede Villaine Syrah.

The wines will be sold by Corney & Barrow for between £140 and £200 per case of six.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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