In France’s Rhône Valley, Éric Texier produces vibrant, distinctive wines using as little intervention as possible in the vineyards and in the winemaking.
His wines include offerings from such storied appellations as Côte-Rôtie in the northern Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the south.
From the middle of the Rhône, there are Texier’s wines from Brézème, a small, little-known area that he has championed and from which he offers both a red, made from Syrah, and a white made from Roussanne, two of the Rhône’s signature varieties. Both carry the Côtes du Rhône Brézème appellation.
As the $30 Roussanne reminded me, Texier’s wines are singular and memorable. Made from young vines in limestone soils that are unusual in this part of the Rhône, the Roussanne has delicious, ripe fruit balanced by nervy acidity.
This is the antithesis of industrial, large-production Côtes du Rhône, made from grapes grown organically and hand-harvested, fermented with native yeasts, not filtered, and with only minimal amounts of sulfites added.
The result is a wine of character and complexity, with notes of pear, tropical fruit, a hint of orange, and subtle almond and spice tastes. Some cream and minerals linger on the long finish. “Everything in proportion,” I wrote in my notes. Alcohol is a modest 13 percent.
There is no oak in the equation; aging is on the lees in concrete tanks, which lets the wine speak for itself – a remarkably focused and pure expression of one of the great white varieties of the Rhône.
Enjoy this one with chicken, pork, and fish dishes, or simply on its own.