2017 Eric Texier Côtes du Rhône Brézème Blanc
Region: France, Rhône
Grape Variety: Roussanne
Dry, med-bodied white; smoked pear skin | Roasted chicken with crispy skin
An indigenous grape to the region that is rarely seen unblended with Marsanne or red grapes. It is distinguished by its floral and tea notes. Eric's philosophy of minimum intervention comes into play with whole clusters, native yeast fermentation, aging on the lees in concrete vessels.
Roussanne is a difficult grape to work with in the vineyard, being susceptible to mildew and rot, and is usually late to ripen fully. If harvested unripe, it produces a bland, flat wine (Roussanne has low natural acidity); while over-ripe examples are oily and lifeless on the palate.
Eric’s example is very different – he manages to get the exotic, honeyed almond aromas without resorting to special yeasts and enzymes, while retaining as much acidity as possible through careful pruning and canopy management. You get some candied orange on the palate, with some intense depth of flavour that is juxtaposed with its weightlessness. Enjoy with pig trotters, or some aged comté.
Eric Texier made the unprecedented leap from nuclear engineer to winemaker in the early 1990s. In keeping with his rigorous academic background, he studied oenology in Bordeaux. While learning the ropes in the Mâcon at Verget by day, he burned the midnight oil reading handbooks and manuals from the 19th century to learn about long-lost styles and vinification techniques.
Brézème captured Eric's imagination as this once notorious appellation, rivaling the status of Hermitage, had dwindled to one hectare under vine by 1961. Located on the east bank at the southernmost tip of the Northern Rhône with clay-limestone soils, the area has a unique microclimate resulting from the cooling influence of the Vercors Massif and an altitude of 300 metres. Eric's annual production is around 20,000 bottles in total.
Find out more here.