Eric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vieilles Vignes Blanc, Southern Rhône, France, 2019
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.
An exquisite expression of this well-known appellation, from 50% Bourbolenc & 50% Clairette. Grapes are from 50-year-old bush vines, on a small organic plot in the lieu-dit of Bois Sénéchaux. The northerly exposure and classic galets roulés over cooler, clay-based soils provide warmth for perfect ripening, and maintain soil moisture.
Grapes are direct pressed followed by a natural cold settling. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place in oak barrels using indigenous yeasts, with ageing for 16-20 months without racking. MLF takes place in barrel. Bottled without fining, filtration or the addition of sulphur. Only about 4 barrels are made each year.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
A magical blend that displays real intensity in its youth, with herbs, nuts and a mineral depth, which evolve into more complex notes of pine nuts, cannabis, and honey with time in bottle.
Match this full-flavoured wine with full-flavoured dishes, but delicious with simpler foods such as roast chicken or whole roast Turbot for a real treat.
12 x 75cl