Éric Texier > The Wines > Northern Rhône > Brézème

CÔTES DU RHÔNE
Brézème
Brézème is a small, and at one point nearly forgotten, viticulture area located near the town of Livron-sur-Drôme about 18 kilometers south of Valence. Like Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, Brézème sits on the eastern bank of the Rhône and produces both red and white wine.

In 1990, Éric became intrigued when reading about the little know region of Brézème in the 1880's book Les Grands Vins de France by Dr. Ramain. After exploring Brézème, Éric believed the steep, southward facing slopes of primarily limestone and clay had the potential to produce truly great Syrahs. Shortly thereafter, Éric made his first Brézème and is the number one bottler of Brézème producing three wines: Brézème, Brézème Vieilles Vignes and Brézème Roussanne.
 

Brezeme Label

-100% Syrah 
-Harvest is usually late September to early October
-A.O.C. 84 HA, 22 HA in production

-Vines are between 10 to 15 years old and mainly located on the Côteau
-Southwest facing slope
-Rocky, talus soil of clay and limestone

Vintage Notes

 

Wines   This untamed, brawny wine is usually a deep garnet color, with a big bouquet of ripe but spicy fruit sitting atop an earthy base. A fleshy mouth, long finish and wonderful combination of acid to tannins makes these powerful young wines that have the potential to age for at least 10 years. These lively wines are best enjoyed after decanting.

 

 
Vineyards The main Brézème vineyard is located in the middle to lower section of the steepest and largest hill and is planted with 100% Syrah. The vines average 15 years in age and the rows are spaced at about 1.5 meters, running perpendicular to the slope of the hill.

Terroir  The côteau of Brézème shares topographical and geological characteristics with Hermitage, a mere 36 kilometers to the North. The slope is south facing with vineyards planted from the base of the hill all the way to the top. The slope increases as one climbs the hill, becoming terraced nearer the top. The older terraces date to Roman times and many are now overgrown with native plants. The ruin of the Tower of Diable stands as a proud pinnacle at the top of the slope and dates from 1208 A.D.

The soil of Brézème varies as one climbs the slope. The base of the hill is a combination of limestone and clay and as one travels up the soil becomes talus dominated by decomposed limestone.

Its is cloudy in Brézème on average 150 days a year, rains about 875 mm and, like all of the Rhône, can be very windy with le mistral. Because of its unique mesoclimate, Brézème is usually harvested two to three weeks later than Hermitage in late September or early October.

History  The first written mention of Brézème dates to 1422 and the region reached its apogee in the mid 1800s when wines from Brézème rivaled Hermitage and sold for nearly as much. In 1943, the region was awarded it's own A.O.C. comprising of a mere 10 hectares and called Côtes du Rhône - Brézème. However, soon thereafter the region began its decline and slipped into obscurity as most of the vineyards were abandoned. By 1961, there was less than one hectare planted with vines.

But there remained a few producers who continued to believe in the promise of Brézème. One of the most respected was Monsieur Pouchoulin, sometimes called the Grandfather of Brézème, whose father made wine before him and whose 60-100 year old Syrah vines remain today. In large part thanks to Monsieur Pouchoulin and others like him, the old vines in Brézème did not vanish and in 1974 the Côtes du Rhône - Brézème A.O.C. was extended to include 84 hectares. With time and renewed interest the plantings have increased and there are now 22 hectares of vines in production and more being planted each year.

 

CÔTES DU RHÔNE - Brézème 2001

2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring. Flowering started towards the end of May. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C. September was sunny and dry but a little cold. Harvest commenced October 4 and was finished by October 8.

The 2001 is an aggressive, exceptionally ripe, lively yet well balanced and complex wine.

 

Blend: 100% Syrah
Alcohol: 13% by volume

 

Suggested Aging: 5 to 15 years
Cases Produced: 1,000

 
 

© 2003 Éric Texier