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Bordeaux native Éric Texier came to winemaking as a second career, without any background in it but as a scientist with a passion for wine. He taught himself through extensive reading and research, visits to winemakers around the world, and hands-on training with winemaker Jean-Marie Guffens at Verget in Burgundy. His dream of buying vineyard property in Burgundy was beyond his financial reach, so instead he took the advice of some well-respected, old-guard northern Rhône vignerons, focused on long-neglected-but-once-celebrated vineyard areas of the Rhône--notably Brézème and St. Julien et St. Alban--and began working with the farmers of small plots of old-vine, old-clone Syrah (plus some other classic local varietals). Éric's first vintage was in 1995. His approximately 30 different bottlings today are made in the environs of the individual vineyard locations, enabling them to attain the appropriate AOC classification, and then transported for aging to his cellar in his adopted home village of Charnay in the Beaujolais region.
Éric has acquired some vines of his own over time, particularly in Brézème, which he virtually singlehandedly restored as a viable vine-growing area; he also still works closely with and sources fruit from seasoned growers in various undersung northern Rhône zones, as well as in more famous appellations, including in the southern Rhône and the Maconnais. He remains deeply committed to organic farming, which he believes is crucial for achieving his goal of clear, precise expression of terroir, varietal and vintage in his wines. Éric conforms to no one else's notions or standards of "natural" or any other winemaking style, but minimal manipulation of vine and wine are at the heart of his work. While vinification specifics will vary according to vintage particulars, his winemaking practices are consistent: in his own words, he is "very old-school and very minimalist": whole-cluster, native-yeast fermentation (for whites and reds); gentle pressing; minimal to no sulfur use; vinification and aging in a combination of cement vat, steel tank and used barriques and foudres; time on the lees (no bâtonnage for the whites and no racking for the reds); no fining or filtering.
Perhaps it is best to let Éric express his none-too-shy outlook on on winegrowing and winemaking: "My wines are not "nice" or "fun". I believe that they express where they come from and truly show a sense of regional identity. They are clear and precise. I don't give a ---- what people are drinking at hipster wine bars in Paris or what a 1000 euro bottle of Bordeaux tastes like. I'm very happy that people like my grandma and François Pouchoulin, the father of Brézème, like them."