Éric Texier > The Wines > Northern Rhône >Brézème Vieilles Vignes

CÔTES DU RHÔNE
Brézème Vieilles Vignes
In the early 1990s, Éric re-discovered a little know viticulture region in the Northern Rhône: Brézème. Exploring the area, he soon realized the only old vines remaining on the original côteau were located on the eastern part around those saved and cultivated by Monsieur François Pouchoulin, who many consider the Grandfather of Brézème. Monsieur Pouchoulin had been busy for the past 50 years with a full time job in addition to carrying on his father's legacy by continuing to make Brézème each year. The old vines, over sixty years old, have always been farmed in a very traditional manner.

Today, the Côtes du Rhône - Brézème Vieilles Vignes comes from a 0.6 HA field in this area.
 

Brezeme Old Vines Label

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

-Vines are over 60 years old
-Steep terrain
-Rocky soil that drains fast

Vintage Notes

Wines  These untamed, brawny wines are a deep, dark garnet color, with tangy cran-rasberry fruit, hints of black olive and smoky bacon laced with gravel sitting atop an earthy base. They offer a meaty mouth with a long finish of tart fruit and fine tannins. They are powerful young wines with an old soul that will age for at least 15 years. These lively wines are best enjoyed after decanting.

Vineyards   The Côtes du Rhône - Brézème Vieilles Vignes vineyards are planted with 100% Syrah and over 60 years old. One of the older vineyards is located high on the steep and terraced slope, looking down at the others located nearer the base of the hill.
 

 
 

 
Terroir  The côteau of Brézème shares topographical and geological characteristics with Hermitage, a mere 36 kilometers to the North. The steep 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 latter than Hermitage in late September or early October.

History  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.

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. 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. Éric is currently the number one bottler of Brézème producing three wines: Brézème, Brézème Vieilles Vignes and Brézème Roussanne.

 

CÔTES DU RHÔNE - Brézème Vieilles Vignes 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 an agressive, lively yet well balanced and complex wine. It will age well for many years.

 

Blend: 100% Syrah
Alcohol: 13% by volume

 

Suggested Aging: 2 to 15 years
Cases Produced: 285

 
 

© 2003 Éric Texier