Éric Texier "Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban" Côtes-du-Rhone 2014
If you’re a fan of earthy Rhône Syrah...if you like full-bodied French reds...shucks if you want something off the beaten path that’ll age for another five years then you’ll love this natural, rustic Syrah from the famed Éric Texier.
A nuclear engineer prior to wine, he didn’t necessarily follow an intuitive path to making “natural” wine, but he’s known now as a leader in the Rhône, having nearly single-handedly resurrected the terroir of an almost-forgotten site called Brézème, as well as the nearby Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban in the northern Rhône, the source for this Syrah.
Decant this for best results – it takes a couple hours to unfurl and, once it does, it exhibits a wild, animal-like earthiness with plenty of dark, brooding Rhône Syrah goodness. In the glass find deep notes of brambly wild blackberry, black olive, ash, licorice candies, chalk and stone, bakers cocoa, bright cedar box, pine, and black cherry. The body is assertive but poised, with soft tannins, cigar, leafy earth and herbal tea notes on the gritty, smoky finish.
The name of this wine is “Vieille Serine” (“old Serine”), a reference to a rare local clone of old-vine Syrah local to this pocket of the northern Rhône in the village of Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban; the soils here are deep granite, just as they are in Cornas to the north. Though this technically falls under the Côtes du Rhône appellation, consider it every bit as noble as a fine Cornas or Crozes-Hermitage. The old vines were hand-harvested and fermented from natural yeast in concrete vats, much like they were decades before...
Totally raw, totally natural Syrah from the maestro Éric Texier that you can savor now or tuck away and watch it evolve in bottle for another 3-4 years or beyond!
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