Brézème Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhône
100% Roussanne. Brézème is a small viticultural area 18 kilometers south of Valence. Like Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, Brézème sits on the eastern side of the Rhône but in the Ardèche, a less celebrated but increasingly, thanks to Téxier, a quality-driven growing area which includes many old vines. The soils are notably rich in limestone. His parcel of Roussanne is a southwest-facing clos, a true walled vineyard, with the biodynamically-farmed vines averaging 25 years old. For the Brézème Côtes-du-Rhône, Eric uses the youngest of them, planted in 2009. The fruit is hand-harvested and fermented as whole clusters with native yeasts in concrete tanks; the wine is also aged in concrete tank and bottled with only 30mg/liter of sulfur at bottling.
Roussanne is an uncommon, difficult varietal which ripens late, yields unevenly and suffers powdery mildew readily. Not surprisingly, its plantings declined over decades, but it is experiencing a Rhône revival, helped along by Téxier in fact. When grown and vinified with meticulous care, Roussanne can produce a rich, complex, age-worthy wine. Eric is currently the only producer of Roussanne in Brézème, where he feels the cooler microclimate and soils help temper Roussanne's natural fruit confiture-like tendencies.