Our first visit to Viret, we navigated the winding driveway, surrounded by a sprawling amphitheater of vines planted in various configurations (north-south rows, east-west rows, square grids, and yes, spirals), and pulled up to the mesmerizing building whose dimensions up close were even more staggering. Given our trip-typical dearth of proper rest, the uncanny quality of the mise en scène struck us with exceptional force: Is this actually a winery? Are we inside a Stanley Kubrick film? Am I still asleep? Half-expecting a procession of cloaked druids or reanimated mummies to emerge from the colossal lower-level double doors, we were surprised when, ten minutes later, a car—not even a DeLorean—pulled up and a man in blue jeans stepped out: it was Philippe Viret.
Atop a hill in Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues, in the southern Côtes-du-Rhône, a structure looms at once imposing and beautiful. Constructed of rectangular earthen-yellow stones broader than a human’s wingspan, it is flanked on the entirety of its left side by an Ionic-columned portico, and punctuated on its upper level by three large circle-top windows. Read More