Éric Texier > The Wines > Northern Rhône > Brézème Roussanne

CÔTES DU RHÔNE
Brézème Roussanne
Brézème is a small, and at one point nearly lost, 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 side of the Rhône and produces both red and white wine.

Roussanne is an uncommon and difficult varietal that has recently seen a revival in the Northern and Southern Rhône. Roussanne is not as widely planted as other (more common) white varietals because of its tendency to suffer from powdery mildew, uneven yields and late maturity. However, when these problems are overcome Roussanne produces a wonderfully crisp, rich and complex white wine that has the ability to age for decades.
 

Brezeme Roussanne

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

-Vines are 25 to 30 years old
-Gentle south west facing slope
-Rocky soil with galets roulés
-Clos vineyard, enclosed by an ancient stone wall

Vintage Notes

 

Wines  Éric's Brézème Roussanne is a soft golden color with a nose of honey, rose and fresh mint herbal tea all lying on an earthy bed. In the best years, the Roussanne has the ability to age well over a decade. Roussanne can be especially enjoyed with foie gras, crawfish, sole, trout and chèvre (goat cheese). And note, Éric is (currently) the only producer of Roussanne in Brézème.

 
Vine with rocks

 
Vineyards   The Roussanne vineyard is located north of the hill of Brézème. This south facing clos vineyard, being surrounded by an ancient wall, is planted with a mix of varietals but only Roussanne is used for this wine. The vine rows are planted roughly east to west with about 1.5 meters of spacing between the rows. The vines average 25 years in age.

Terroir  Despite being in the same A.O.C and only a few kilometers apart, the terroir of the Roussanne vineyard is radically different than that of the two Syrah vineyards. The vineyard is protected from the ever present wind by massive trees and the gentle slope provides the correct amount of daily sun exposure.

Looking at the soil here, one might mistakenly think he or she was in Châteauneuf du Pape. The soil in the Roussanne vineyard is composed of galets roulès (baseball to football sized stones that are almost perfectly smooth) dropped by an ancient glacier mixed with limestone and clay.

Its is cloudy in Brézème on average 150 days a years, 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 latter 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.

Vine with rocks

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 Roussanne 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 on October 4 and was finished by October 8.

The 2001 is refreshing and crisp. It has an exotic nose and fleshy mouth that allow it to enhances many dishes. (Since the 2002 will not be made becuase the grapes did not meet Éric's standards, it is worth stocking up.)

 

Blend: 100% Roussanne
Alcohol: 13% by volume

 

Suggested Aging: 1 to 15 years
Cases Produced: 175

 
 

© 2003 Éric Texier