Eric Texier, Brézème Blanc, Côtes du Rhône, Southern Rhône, France, 2022
A man of conviction but by no means a zealot, Eric Texier likes to push the boundaries.
Despite having no experience or contacts in wine, Eric decided to give up his career as a nuclear engineer and study winemaking in 1992, interning with Jean-Marie Guffens at Verget in Mâcon. Lacking the network to buy his own vineyard, Eric did his time with established winemakers then made négoce wines with the fruit of like-minded purists until he was introduced to François Pouchoulin, AKA the Godfather of Brézème. Eric was fascinated by the history of this tiny enclave on the southernmost edge of the Northern Rhone, on the left bank of the Rhone. It is South facing, has limestone-rich clay soils and, at 300 meters of elevation has an increasingly steep aspect with terrain that grows rockier as the slope rises. In the mid-19th century, its wines rivalled those of Hermitage but, by 1961, just one hectare remained. Thanks to Pouchoulin’s help and guidance, Texier eventually succeeded in purchasing a tiny parcel of vines in Brézème. Many years later, Éric has now put the Brézème appellation back on the map, and is the leading grower there. After Brézème, Eric and his wife Laurence (the backbone of their business-they are very much a team and travel everywhere together) purchased another tiny plot, this time in the Ouvèze valley in the Ardèche, on the right bank of the Rhone. This site has granite soils, is at a higher altitude than Brézème and has higher growing temperatures. According to Eric, both of these classic Northern Rhone plots had almost been forgotten because of their isolated geographic position and small surface areas. Today, Eric and Laurence have 12 hectares under vine, with vines aged from 30 to 90 years old on both sides of the Rhone, all worked organically. This is not a sudden conversion or a response to trend, Eric has worked organically since the beginning. As for biodynamics, he follows some of its principles but is not dogmatic about it.
Vineyards were planted in 1936 on favourable south-facing slopes in Brézème, where limestone-marl is the dominant soil type, with a further parcel planted from massale selection in 2003. Organically farmed and hand-harvested.
Bunches are direct-pressed, with fermentation starting spontaneously, and without sulphur. Part aged in tinaja (Spanish clay amphora) and part in old oak barrels, which gives the wine unparalleled freshness and mouthfeel, and a defined minerality. Aged in concrete tanks on its lees for 6 to 8 months. Only around 100 cases produced each vintage.
No oak ageing
100% Roussanne, locally referred to as 'Roussette'. Classic herbal and floral varietal characters, with stone fruit and all enveloped with a wonderful creamy soft mouthfeel, whilst maintaining freshness and minerality from the use of amphora. Packed full of flavour and complex to the finish.
Serve with roast chicken, pork, veal and creamy sauces. It also works well with spicier flavours and Asian dishes due to its freshness and mellow texture.
12 x 75cl