Eric Texier made the unprecedented leap from nuclear engineer to winemaker in the early nineties. He was fed up with the “Soviet” side of working for big companies and craved the freedom that working for himself could bring. Although his passion for wine was began from the wines of Burgundy and, like many other vignerons, his first choice would have been to acquire some Burgundian vines, he lacked the small fortune required. He was inspired by an older generation of Rhône producers like Marius Gentaz, Noel Verset, Raymond Trollat and Pouchoulin, and felt that a successor was needed. Drawing on their methods of only using natural yeasts and leaving the bunches intact, he developed some of his own ideas and techniques as well.
Eric Texier Brezeme Roussanne 2018
From soils rich in limestone, Eric’s parcel of Roussanne is a southwest-facing clos, a true walled vineyard, with organically farmed vines averaging 25 years old. The fruit is hand-harvested and fermented as whole clusters with native yeasts in concrete tanks; the wine is also aged in concrete tank and bottled. Like his Syrah, the Roussanne is the original local clone and the old clone selection is labelled as Roussette to highlight this. Beautifully textured and elegant but with great energy. Restrained, with floral and nutty notes.
Brézème is a small appellation in the northern Rhône that Éric is now the king of. He was fascinated by the fact that in the mid-19th century, its wines rivalled those of Hermitage. By 1961, however, just one hectare remained. Éric has now put the appellation back on the map, and is the leading grower there. He now works his own vineyards biodynamically, and makes all his wines in a natural manner, only adding sulfur dioxide at bottling.
Since 2004 he has been working exclusively with whole clusters (including the stems in the ferment) for his reds. ‘This was due to a change in vineyard management,’ says Éric. ‘I get stems ripe—not green—even in a vintage like 2008. The key is getting the stems ripe.’ He has decided not to plough the vineyards any more between the rows, and seeds three times a year with cover crops. ‘The idea is not to bring any more organic compounds from outside.’ He reports that the stems now ripen earlier. -wineanorak.com