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Our friend Eric Texier is making some of the finest wines in the Rhône Valley, both in the south and the north. His Chateauneuf-du-Papes, red and white, are outstanding. His work in Brézème and St Julien-en-St Alban has resurrected forgotten vineyards and is producing magnificent wines. His inexpensive Côtes-du-Rhônes are wonderfully refreshing and balanced, unencumbered by high-alcohol and gobs of hedonistic fruit. In Cote-Rotie, he is one of the very few producers maintaining the traditions of past growers whose wines were known for finesse, purity and aromatic beauty rather than power, concentration and new oak. We are reminded of a party for winemakers in a NY apartment some years ago, when a beautiful Côte-Rôtie was opened, blind, and the assembled wine-lovers, including Eric Texier, guessed who the producer was. Gentaz-Dervieux was the consensus, but when the bag was removed it was from Texier himself, which of course made Eric very happy! We are offering a few bottles of his 2015 Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes, currently sourced from the Corps de Loup vineyard, specifically, a steep parcel of very old vines on gneiss in the southern part of the Côte Blonde. Eric's note: " 10% viognier. the Corps de Loup terroir was able to get over the vintage. My best red in 2015. Again a great potential of aging. A classic for me, a bit under 13%. Quite rare in Côte-Rôtie this vintage I think." (Please 2 btls per person only)
Viticulture in Brezeme, on the primarily limestone marl south facing steep hillsides, dates back to Roman times. Records from the early 1800's indicate plantings of Syrah from vines in Hermitage and Cornas. Eric Texier has been instrumental in reviving the vineyards, especially with his Domaine du Pergaud Vieilles Vignes and this lovely Syrah from younger vines. The 2015 Côtes du Rhône Brézème is a big, well structured wine that retains the freshness and lively character always present in this cuvée. The vineyard is farmed with organic and biodynamic methods and the 2015 was made with zero added sulfur. This is an extraordinary wine in 2015 and is highly recommended. Also on offer today are Eric's two superb Domaine Pergaud Vieilles Vignes cuvées from 2013, from the limestone soils in Brézème and the granite terroirs of Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban. These are beautifully complex, earthy, well-structured wines that can be enjoyed now, with decanting, or cellared for fifteen to twenty years - please see notes below.
One our favorite wines from Monsieur Texier is his Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes, made with Bourbolenc and Clairette. "Eric has worked closely with Jean Riché, the owner/farmer of the vines from whom he sources the fruit for his white Châteauneuf (and some of his red), a mere 1 km. from and above the Rhône River. The Bourbelenc and Clairette are bush-trained (the leaves help shade the fruit from the hot sun) on a flat, stony site kept cool by its clay-based soils over limestone mother rock; it is interspersed with vines of Grenache Blanc, but Eric stopped using the Grenache years ago, in order to keep the lower-alcohol, better-balanced, terroir-expressive profile which is his very strong preference for this wine (as with all of his wines!). To that end, Eric also harvests the fruit quite early and crushes it with the stems, to promote maximum freshness; sulfur use is kept to a scant 15 ppm. The wine is fermented with native yeasts in neutral oak and kept on its lees until bottling, which is usually about a year after harvest (November in the case of the 2015). For a warm vintage, the 2015 is incredibly light on its feet while still being creamy-textured; ripe white peach flavor leads into a clean finish of herbs and stones. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc is one of Téxier's personal favorites of his line-up from the vintage; he regards as a true vin de garde, powerful but balanced, ideally to be cellared for at least a few years. Approximately 125 cases made." (Thanks to Juliette Pope from Bowler Wines)
Rounding out today's offerings from Eric Texier are his two delightful "Chat Fou" bottlings - a superb and refreshing rosé and the simply delicious, light and lovely Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge - stock up on both for your summer entertaining!
"One of the most beautiful wines we have made in almost 20 years of vinification. As a classic example of Châteauneuf, the wine will find its place with long aging. But like many other 2015s, it is immediately seductive. Native yeasts, aged on its lees in old barrels. 1140 bottles produced." - Eric Texier
Viticulture in Brezeme, on the primarily limestone marl south facing steep hillsides, dates back to Roman times. Records from the early 1800's indicate plantings of Syrah from vines in Hermitage and Cornas. Eric Texier has been instrumental in reviving the vineyards, especially with his Domaine du Pergaud Vieilles Vignes and this lovely Syrah from younger vines. The 2015 Cotes du Rhone Brezeme is a big, well structured wine that retains the freshness and lively character always present in this cuvee. The wine was vinified naturally, without added sulfur. The wine shows vivid aromas of blackberry and black cherry with hints of musk, blueberry, earth and citrus. The palate is deep and textured with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate and mineral flavors, quite pure and long. Serve now, slightly chilled, with grilled meats, tagines and full-flavored cheeses, or cellar fo five to ten years or more. (As Eric notes below, open the day before, taste, recork, for best results if drinking now.) Lovely wine! DL Notes from Eric Texier: "The 2015 Brezeme is as expected. Tannic, more vintage than terroir driven, needs time. Very similar to 2005 in my book. I still find the later a bit young and closed right now. I hope people will give it a chance to age a bit. At least until this fall, to recover from the mise. Or open it the day before drinking. Bottles open the day before show much better than at opening. Huge potential of ageing."
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
From 70-year-old Syrah vines located on the west bank of the Rhône on granite soils that had been farmed exclusively by a protestant religious order known as D’Arbistes. There has never been a chemical introduced into this vineyard. The wine shows conplex, earthy aromas of blackberry, rose, black pepper and graphite with animal and smoky notes. The palate is dense and sapid with blackberry, prune, citrus and earth with a long finish with black fruit and mineral flavors. This is a bold and earthy Syrah (?) reflecting the granite terroirs and M. Texier's superb farming and natural vinifications. "The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered (this) cuvée surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional." - Eric Texier. Decant or open the nightr before if drinking now, best perhaps 2022 - 2030+. DL
80% Grenache and 20% Clairette/Viognier/Chasselas. Most of the Grenache and all of the white come from Éric's organically farmed parcels in the granite-rich vineyard in St-Julien en St-Alban on the western side of the Rhône River, south of Cornas; there is also some Grenache from his biodynamic holdings in Vaison-La-Romaine in the Vaucluse. Aged in concrete vat. His goal is a fresh, light style of Côtes-du-Rhône for his basic "Crazy Cat" bottling.
100% Cinsault. From old vines in granitic soils of the St-Julien en St-Alban vineyard on the western side of the Rhône River in the Ardèche. Grapes are crushed by foot-treading and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Light pink color, with vibrant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, rose and citrus peel. The palate is bone dry and refreshing with berry fruits and a hint of peach with citrusy acids in the finish. At 11.5% alcohol, this is a light and lovely rosé for warm weather quaffing...