Éric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes”
Éric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes”

Éric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes”

Southern Rhône, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$79.00
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Éric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes”

I’d say everyone should be thrilled to see Éric Texier’s Châteauneuf Rouge, then again, how can you be excited for a wine that many have never laid eyes on, let alone knew existed before today? To be clear, Texier’s noble and brutally scarce old-vine red has been produced for over two decades, but this marks our first-ever feature—it’s just always been too limited for us to sniff an allocation. Still, any Rhône vet is certainly familiar with the name Texier. In addition to being one of the great intellects and true “thought leaders” in French wine, Éric Texier earns reverence for a variety of accomplishments: he is a former nuclear engineer; a Bordeaux-born and Burgundy-educated winemaker; an enterprising négociant; a renowned expert in chemical-free farming; and a reviver of Rhône appellations.

In terms of vinification, style, and cellaring potential, this bottle is truly an “endangered species” and a must for any sommelier or collector wishing to have a comprehensive, accurate understanding of Southern Rhône classicism. Ancient vines, sandy soils, whole-cluster natural ferments, aging in used foudres…Texier’s 2020 is hand-crafted, ultra-traditional Châteauneuf superiority. Its drop-dead gorgeous aromatics and sublime texture, combined with the aforementioned educational value, make it a cellar magnet that should be studied as much as it is enjoyed.

Born in Bordeaux, Éric settled in Burgundy in 1979 and began his career as a nuclear engineer. As the years passed, and with an increasingly generous income feeding a growing fascination with wine, Éric started collecting bottles from local vignerons, including Northern Rhône icons Raymond Trollat and Marcel Juge. Soon, Éric became especially fascinated with the traditional techniques responsible for producing his favorite wines—keep in mind this was during an era when over-ripeness, de-stemming, new oak, and general “point chasing” were dramatically redefining the character of Rhône wines. So, when Éric eventually left his career in nuclear engineering to pursue a life dedicated to wine, he aimed straight for arch-traditionalism and greatness: his first cellar position was under the wing of icon Jean-Marie Guffens at Burgundy’s Domaine Verget. 

By the 1990s, Éric was bottling his own wines. Rather than own his vineyards in one specific area, Éric sources fruit from a variety of sub-zones across Rhône and Burgundy, from humble and lesser-known sites to grand parcels in Côte Rôtie and today’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape. His process and end goal are one and the same: the approach preserves and perpetuates the traditional techniques of the region’s multi-generational grape-growing families.

Since 1999, Éric has been sourcing top-tier Châteauneuf-du-Pape fruit from fifth-generation grower Jean Riché. His Certified Organic parcel within the lieu-dit of “Bois Sénéchaux” is north-facing which protects it from excessive heat and sun, and features a lighter, sandier soil composition with the region's famed galets roulés strewn atop. These site characteristics, combined with 80-100+-year-old Grenache vines, come together to create an especially layered and remarkably fresh red wine. 

Éric Texier’s approach to producing today’s wine is an exercise in traditionalism and anti-technology. After hand-harvesting at modest ripeness, a whole-cluster ferment—exclusively with wild, airborne yeasts—occurs in open-top concrete tanks. During this gentle maceration, there are no extractive measures and zero sulfur additions. The resulting wine is then transferred into once-, twice, and thrice-used 600L barrels called demi-muids for 18 months. It is then bottled without fining or filtration. In short, almost every aspect of this wine’s production runs in direct opposition to conventional winemaking techniques in the Rhône Valley. 

For those who’ve never tasted a warm vintage of Texier Châteauneuf, the most surprising aspect is how much grace and suppleness the wine carries despite its 14.5% alcohol. If you’re seeking an opaque, sleek, super-concentrated Grenache, this is definitely not for you! In a Burgundy stem, this shimmers a brilliant dark ruby and unravels aromas of ripe black cherry, redcurrant, roasted plums, saffron, strawberry coulis, wild clary, new leather, crushed rock, clove, and star anise. The palate is medium-plus bodied and devoid of sharp angles and harsh textures—it’s sublime, soft, beautifully lifted Châteauneuf through and through. It can be enjoyed with abandon now or cellared for another 5-10 years, no problem. Enjoy.

Éric Texier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Vieilles Vignes”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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