Texier, Éric

Éric Texier

Thank you to Louis/Dressner for this Texier profile

(Click here  to go to Louis/Dressner's Texier notes, photos and interview)

It is no exaggeration that Eric Texier is one of the most important people we have come to know in our 30+ years of wine importing. Not important in a boisterous or regal sense, but rather from an evolutionary perspective. People like Eric and his wife Laurence helped us discover that mutual respect, growth and friendship were possible in this line of work, that a "business relationship" could shape philosophies, world views, values and even our senses of humor! For this we are grateful.

A Bordeaux native who has lived in or around Lyon since 1979, Eric is a jovial, energetic and fun-loving person who wants his wines to make their drinkers happy. But he is also a boundary pusher, endlessly questioning his own work (and, let's be honest, that of others) for the sake of moving viticulture and winemaking forward.

Eric is a trailblazer, putting all the but extinct regions of Brézème  and Saint Julien en Saint Alban on the map. He experiments with concepts you rarely if ever hear about elsewhere: finding acidity in Marsanne through anforas, not working the soil in favor of cover crops, "infusion" macerations, working on his own grafts, rediscovering forgotten grapes adaptable to the very real threat of climate change...

Strongly opinionated, he is not afraid to ruffle feathers or call people out on their bullsheeeeet in his heavily accented but perfect English. And since Eric always backs his claims with serious research, careful thought and true care for the subject matter, you'd best think twice before writing him off. I mean, the guy used to be a nuclear engineer!

Having said that, Eric loves to learn and exchange. And can even admit when he's wrong! One of the things we are most proud of here at LDM is the cross-pollination of growers we work with: growers who've befriended each other, talked shop for hours and drawn inspiration from each other's know-how and techniques. Eric truly is the poster child and "the glue" of so many of these friendships.

He originally became a winemaker after a first career as an engineer in the nuclear industry and without any family background in vines or wines. As such, his goals and methods developed not so much from his 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 négoce where he selected particularly interesting vineyard plots worked by the sincere, hard-working farmers who grew the healthy grapes he wanted to buy and vinify. He rediscovered nearly forgotten areas of ancient fame, like Brézème in the northern Côtes-du-Rhône, and nurtured relationships with people who tend their vines with passion and care. Over the years, the shift from négociant to vigneron has occurred, and today Eric owns and rents the vast majority of the vines that go into his production. He has also replanted several hectares in Brézème and in Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban with Syrah and Roussanne.

In his purely négoce days, Eric was producing 30 different wines from 10 different origins, mostly but not limited to the Northern Rhône. As a land owner and vigneron, he produces 12 different wines from four different origins, with the Côte Rotie, Rasteau and Châteauneuf du Pape the only remaining cuvées made with purchased fruit. 

The wines are vinified in their areas of production, which means a lot of time management and traveling at the time of harvest. When they have obtained their AOC, the young wines are transported to Charnay-en-Beaujolais, just north of Lyon, where Eric lives and owns a wonderful élevage cellar. This beautiful underground, vaulted cellar was built in the 16th century, and temperatures stay cool and stable through the year.

Like all good winemakers, Eric strongly believes that wines are made in the vineyard, and that his work, after the harvest, consists in following the lead of the vintage and accompanying the wines so they fulfill their potential. 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 to intervene as little as possible.

His techniques for white wines include sorting in the vines and at the winery, whole clusters pressed in a vertical press (that’s the old fashioned wood kind), no added yeasts, barrel, concrete and ceramic fermentation (no new wood), aging on fine lees, malolactic fermentation for all the wines, minimal use of SO2 at bottling only, no pump-overs, fining and filtration only when absolutely necessary.

For his red wines, he does the same sorting at harvest, no destemming most of the time, bringing the grapes to the press by conveyor belts, cold maceration under a CO2 blanket for aromatic extraction, natural yeasts, very little to no extraction during maceration and fermentation. The temperatures are controlled not to exceed 34 degrees C (93F), aging is done mostly in concrete, old foudres and demi-muids of 450L,  no filtration and egg white fining only when necessary.

Image PRODUCT Description

DB0053-17
Organic
Adèle Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc
2017
Clairette
SOLD OUT. 100% Clairette (sometimes contains Marsanne). These Texier vines are planted in the granitic clay-limestone soils of the Saint-... Read More

DB8942-17
Organic
Brézème Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône
2017
Roussanne
SOLD OUT. 100% Roussanne. From Texier's young vines in the cooler, more limestone-driven vineyard area of Brézème. Whole cluster, direct... Read More

DB5723-15
Organic
Pergaud Brézème Vieille Roussette Côtes-du-Rhône
2015
Roussette (Altesse)
100% Roussanne, aka Roussanne. From Texier's oldest Roussanne vines, planted in 1936 on pure limestone in Brézème. 2015 is the last vintage... Read More

DB8944-17
Organic
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
2017
Clairette
50% Bourbolenc/50%Clairette. Eric has worked closely for many years with Jean Riché, the owner/farmer of these vines which lie 1 km. from... Read More

DB8940-18
Organic
Chat Fou Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge
2018
Red blend (mostly Grenache)
85% Grenache/15% Clairette/Viognier/Chasselas/other. All of the fruit comes from the warm site and granite soils of Texier's St.Julien-... Read More

DB8941-18
Organic
Brézème Syrah Côtes-du-Rhône
2018
Syrah
100% Syrah. From Texier's younger, i.e. 35-40-year-old vines, in the limestone-rich, cooler Brézème vineyard area (on the eastern side of... Read More

DB1024-17
Organic
St. Julien-en-St. Alban Côtes-du-Rhône Syrah
2017
Syrah
100% Syrah. From Texier's younger, i.e. 35-40-year-old vines on granite soilis in the very warm St-Julien en St-Alban vineyard area (on the... Read More

DB1143-16
Organic
Pergaud St. Julien-en-St. Alban Marsanne
2016
Marsanne
100% Marsanne. From 80-year-old vines in St. Julien. Eric changed it up for the Marsanne this vintage: instead of 8 months on the skins in... Read More

DB8943-14
Organic
Pergaud Brézème Vieille Serine Côtes-du-Rhône
2014
Syrah
100% Syrah.  From Texier's oldest vines, planted in the 1930's, on the limestone soils of the Brézème ineyard area (on the eastern side of... Read More

DB1024-16
Organic
St. Julien-en-St. Alban Côtes-du-Rhône Syrah
2016
Syrah
100% Syrah. From Texier's younger, i.e. 35-40-year-old vines on granite soils in the very warm St-Julien en St-Alban vineyard area (on the... Read More

DB0396-14
Organic
Pergaud St. Julien-en-St. Alban Vieille Serine Côtes-du-Rhône
2014
Syrah
100% Syrah.  From Texier's oldest vines, planted in the 1930's, on the granite soils of the warm St-Julien en St-Alban vineyard area (on... Read More

DB8945-16
Organic
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge VV
2016
Red blend (mostly Grenache)
95% Grenache and 5% Mourvèdre. The Grenache comes from La Crau, a north-facing vineyard in the NE part of the appellation, where the... Read More

DB8946-17
Organic
Côte-Rôtie Vieilles Vignes
2017
Syrah
100% Syrah. Whole-cluster fermentation; aged 20 months in 7-10 year-old barriques. Very low SO2 added.In years past, Éric had been... Read More

DB5818-16
Organic
Le Clau Serine
2016
Serine
MAGNUM ONLY 100% Serine. 2016 is the very first vintage of this new magnum-only bottling from Eric and Laurence Texier. It comes... Read More