Eric Texier, St Julien-en-St Alban, Vieille Serine, Northern Rhône, France, 2020
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.
A wine which reflects the classic granite profile of the northern Rhône, from vineyards on the northern bank of the Ouvèze in Ardèche. The Syrah vines are 70+ years old, locally known as "Serine".
Whole clusters are macerated for 8 to 10 days. With fermentation using indigenous yeasts in wooden vats. The wine is aged in foudre on its fine lees for 36 to 48 months, prior to bottling without fining or filtration.
36 to 48 Months
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
This 100% Syrah grown on granite soils yields a wine with huge character and intensity, blackberry, damsons, licorice and earthier notes all mingle, with a lifted smoky character coming from the barrel fermentation, although Eric uses no more than 10% new wood depending on vintage. Encapsulating his minimalistic approach, and funky with a classic twist.
Enjoy with roast meat such as venison or lamb and mature hard cheese.
12 x 75cl