Eric Texier, nuclear engineer turned winemaker, is a joyful & intellectual guy- he doesn’t come from a winemaking background, so when he decided on the career change, he immersed himself in studying and spending time with veteran winemakers. Using money he was gifted when he got married, he decided to invest in learning to make wine- studying oenology and interning with Jean-Marie Guffens at Verget in Mâcon.
He relocated his family to Charnay-en-Beaujolais, north of Lyon, to a house with a cellar and wine press and produced his first vintage in 1995 from purchased grapes. Eric still lives in Beaujolais but now produces wine from the Rhone.
The appellations Brézème and Saint Julien en Alban (the former home to 7 producers, and the latter, just 4) are his love- he is attracted to shining a light on these underappreciated spots. He owns and rents the majority of his vines, but purchases grapes from trusted organic farmers, as well- he is humble and deferential, believing them to be better vigerons, better farmers than he, and leaning on them for advice time and again.
He is meticulous about his soil, to the extent that he does not use compost from animals, preferring not to introduce any sort of foreign, outside influence into his soil. He forgoes plowing, copper, and sulfur use, opting for experimentation with cover crops that provide permanent vegetal cover of the soil.
Texier is a committed winemaker in the traditional sense- he wants to make wine the way it used to be made- pre-industrialisation of food/wine. Eric’s winemaking may be described best by one of his heroes, Jules Chauvet: “Every vigneron should accept his wines as they are in reality, and not how he wants them to be.”
Eric’s goal is not to create fun wine, but rather clean and precise wine with personality, and “regional identity”- wine that isn’t for the cool kids, but for the grandmas and the farmers. He doesn’t just want to make Syrah- you can make Syrah anywhere- but to make Brézème, for which you have to have the skill and intellect to reflect the place in the bottle.
Chat Fou is now being sourced from the granite terroirs of Saint-Julien, giving it a very fruity, easy style compared to most CDR. Eric also adds about 20% of white grapes to lighten the blend.
The wine’s name translates to “Crazy Cat” and is named after one of the Texier’s cats who was in fact quite crazy.