Éric Texier became a winemaker after a prior career and without any background in vines or wines. As such, his methods developed not from years of schooling, but from his readings, his visiting winemakers around the world, and working in Burgundy with Jean-Marie Guffens at Verget. After giving up the idea of buying vineyards, which was too costly a proposition for a beginner with his ambitions, he started a small negoce where he selected interesting vineyard plots from hard-working farmers who grew the healthy grapes he wanted to buy and vinify.
He re-discovered nearly forgotten areas of ancient fame, like Breze`me in the northern Cotes-du-Rhone and the new St.-Julien en St.-Alban, a heretofore unknown plot of ancient Syrah vines on the west bank of the Rhone that had been tended by protestant monks and has never seen artificial fertilizers or pesticides. The wines are vinified in their areas of production, and when they have obtained their AOC, the young wines are transported to Charnay-en-Beaujolais, just north of Lyon, where Eric lives and has recently acquired a wonderful elevage cellar. Exact steps in vinification vary according to the varietals, terroirs and vintages, but the goal is always to provide the grapes, musts and wines with the best environment and intervene as little as possible.
The 2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a classic blend of plush Grenache and spicy Mourvèdre. The Grenache comes from La Crau, one of the top vineyards in Chateauneuf where the tannins reach phenolic ripeness slowly but surely and without an overwhelmingly high alcohol level. Many of the vines are 70 years old or more. The Mourvèdre comes from head-pruned vineyard harvested relatively early to contribute acidity to the wine's structure. Whole clusters are fermented with native yeasts and a scant one-week maceration without punchdowns. The wine is aged in old oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered.