Eric Texier became a winemaker after a first career 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 and 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. He has since acquired plots in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu in the northern Rhône, and replanted several hectares in Brézème, with Syrah and Roussanne.
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 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 fermentation (less than 10% new wood), aging on fine lees, malolactic fermentation for all dry wines, minimal use of SO2, no pumping, fining and filtration only when absolutely necessary.
For his red wines, he does the same sorting at harvest, 100% destemming most of the time, bringing the grapes to the press by conveyer belts, cold maceration under a CO2 blanket for aromatic extraction, natural yeasts, pigeage and remontage twice a day, during maceration and fermentation. The temperatures are controlled not to exceed 34 degrees C (93F), aging is done in 2 to 5 year old barrels of 228L and demi-muids of 450L, with only limited use of new oak, no filtration and egg white fining only when necessary.