Eric Texier 'Chat Fou' VdF Rouge 2021
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Press 4 Mix/Red • September 2023 Direct Press Selection
When you taste with Eric Texier, you’re guaranteed two things: incredible wine, and zero bull$#*%. He doesn’t want to be a part of a “scene,” and he’s been known to take shots at other winemakers when he feels like they are lying about or otherwise disrespecting the craft. He’s a winemaker’s winemaker—endlessly reinventing, experimenting and recording the results. He wants more than great wines; he wants to push conversations forward and nudge people to become better stewards of the land and better winemakers. He was a PhD nuclear engineer before switching to winemaking, which he did without any family land or real experience. He uses his science background in order to know how not to add things to his wine, however.
In the case of Chat Fou, it had been official Côtes du Rhône for many years, even as a lighter take on the style due to his inclusion of white grapes like Clairette. But starting in 2021 it is simply Vin de France, as he decided it was too much of a pain in the ass to keep fighting with the AOC over how light the color was. At this point he has enough of a following it doesn't matter, so it really just proves how out of touch the AOC is. The 2021 is as fire as ever, with a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 20% Clairette aged in concrete with no sulfur until bottling. Silky and fresh, with plums, violets, and fine blueberry-skin texture. For a wine that is 'too light' for typical Côtes du Rhône, it has more weight and depth than you would think, with a long, satisfying finish. Chill it down, pair it with almost anything. I so wish I could pick up any bottle of random Côtes du Rhône and have it taste like this. Matthew Hawkins & Jonathan Kemp