We met Eric Texier and his wife Laurence on a roasting hot afternoon at their property of the beautiful town of Charnay, France. Eric made the unprecedented leap from nuclear engineer to winemaker in the early 1990s. Eric's inspiration in terms of wine came from an older generation of Rhône producers like Marius Gentaz and Pouchoulin. That is also where he derived his purist approach to winemaking from, using whole cluster fermentation and only using native yeasts and over time developed his own techniques. Despite the labels not claiming it all the grapes are grown organically and even biodynamically.
Maturation is carried out in old demi-muids and sulphur dioxide is never used during vinification, only at bottling. All of these methods are applied in order to ensure the terroir is reflected as much as possible of these incredible places where the vines grow.
Eric explained 'My winemaking is very old school and very minimalist : direct pressing for the whites, native yeasts fermentation, mostly in concrete vats. No fining ever. For the reds : no destemming, then crushing in most of the cases. Ageing from 10 to 48 months mostly in big concrete vats and big foudres. No fining no filtration. No addition of nothing prior to bottling. SO2 can be added up to 30ppm for the reds and 40ppm for the whites then according to the terroir and the vintages. About 20% are bottled without SO2 addition.
My main concern as a vigneron is the soil. After growing in a very academic organic way for a few years, I had the feeling that replacing herbicide by plowing, and chemical fertilizers by compost was a dead end. For the past 6-7 years, we’ve tried to tune up a no or minimum-till, no exogen input agronomic philosophy inspired by the works of M. Fukuoka, B. Mollison or M. Altieri.'
Brézème is a territory of two soils, divided by a valley. One, which Eric refers to as the “vrai Côte de Brézème” and would refer to Hermitage. This soil is made up of calcareous marls while the other is more alluvial with rolled pebbels. In the microclimate of Brézème there is a unique microclimate, 300 metres above sea-level with a cooling influence from the Vercors Massif to the east. St Julien is, much hotter than Brézème though it is just across the Rhône river and 200 metres higher. Eric’s Syrah and Roussanne vines are the original local varieties and not clones, which is why the old-vine red and white cuvées are called “Serine” and “Roussette” respectively which you will find referenced in the product listings.
He is the only organic producer both in Brézème and St Julien, and could be seen as a pioneer of both appellations. Eric's wines are of incredible quality and the ways of working perfectly align with TERRA's philosophy.
At TERRA we were immediately enticed when first opening a bottle of Brézème, a 100% syrah which was so fragrant we were instantly convinced about the quality of these wines. And each single one of them is a master piece on its own. We invite you to try for yourself.