Etienne Becheras

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Etienne Becheras’s domaine is polycultural. It extends for 12 hectares principally within the confines of the village of Arras which borders and overlooks the Rhone River on the western side. The domaine farms organically. The five hectares situated on the flat lands along the Rhone are planted to cherry and apricot trees. Three are four hectares of vineyards which are planted on the limestone and gravel soils which mount in altitude and are on steep hillsides. The vineyards are placed on long terraces supported by hand-constructed stone walls. As a result, almost all work must be done by hand without the aid of mechanical implements. The remainder of the property is dedicated to forest where the ash and acacia trees are used as building and heating materials and offer the extra advantage of presenting ideal conditions for the growth of edible mushrooms and truffles!

The four hectares of vineyards are within the appellation of Saint Joseph. Only 4/10ths of a hectare are planted to the white grapes of Marsanne and Roussanne, enough to produce about four to six barrels (1200 to 1500 bottles) per year. The remaining 3.6 hectares are planted to Syrah with the various plots situated in the neighboring villages of Arras and Vion. In addition, Bécheras exploits an additional one hectare of vines further south in the village of Mercurol. From this site, a small amount of Crozes Hermitage Rouge is produced.

Becheras-St-Joseph-W Saint Joseph Blanc: Grapes are harvested by hand and the wine is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in barriques, only 15% to 20% of which are new (essentially a rotation of one new barrel every six years). The vineyard is planted 50% to Marsanne and 50% to Roussanne with a south-south east exposition. The average age of the vines (as of 2012) is about 15 years. Fermentation encompasses 30 to 60 days with an elevage of one year on the fine lies. The wine is bottled without filtration. It is a very generous wine blessed with aromas and flavors of honey, acacia and apricot.
Becheras-St-Joseph-corrected

Saint Joseph Rouge Tradition: The vineyards of Syrah sit on soil composed of schist and granite with a very thin topsoil that provides excellent drainage. After manual harvest, the grapes are left to cold-macerate for three or so days; then, once de-stemmed and crushed, the fermentation proceeds for approximately three to four weeks. Only indigenous yeasts are used. There follows an elevage of eighteen to twenty-four months in barrels of varying sizes (225, 400 and 600 liters) before the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. Normal production is on the order of 8,000 bottles per year. The vines are between 10 and 65 years of age.

Becheras-St-Joseph-Joviac-corrected

Saint Joseph Rouge Tour Joviac: This special, limited cuvée (approximately 3000 bottles per annum) is produced from two parcels in Arras that are on steep, rocky hillsides. Although from young vines, the excellent position of the vineyards yields a wine of compelling concentration, plum-like fruit and emphatic structure. Vinification is similar to the St. Joseph “Tradition” but the elevage is longer. Again, the wine is neither fined nor filtered.

Becheras-Crozes-Hermitage

Crozes-Hermitage Blanc “Le Prieuré d’Arras”: The Crozes-Hermitage Blanc comes from the same location as his Crozes-Hermitage Rouge: a 1.5-hectare parcel in Mercurol. It is a blend of 60% Roussane and 40% Marsanne (like his Saint Joseph Blanc) which is fermented and aged in barrel. Compared to the Saint-Joseph Blanc, the Crozes is a bit more balanced, with a brighter acidity and a slightly bitter tannic finish. Even so, the richness is evident in this wine, with warm baked-apple fruit and an underlying note of honey.

Becheras-Crozes-Hermitage

Crozes Hermitage Rouge The Crozes Rouge: is produced from very old vines situated on a steep hillside vineyard, facing south-southwest, overlooking the village of Mercurol. It is a relatively recent acquisition by Bécheras (2006). The grapes are manually harvested, destemmed and fermented for about three weeks. The elevage is in “demi-muids” (400 to 600 liters). The wine is bottled after 18 months and is neither fined nor filtered. Annual production averages 1200 bottles.

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SUMMARY OF GROWER VISITS – PART II

CUILLERON: Our second day in the Rhône started with a tasting with Yves Cuilleron. The “Cuilleron Empire” continues to expand and requires considerable time to proceed through a tasting. In fact, 32 wines were presented, the result of which was that we were then late for the remaining appointments for that day.

New Releases from the Northern Rhône.

Etienne Becheras * Domaine Lionnet * Bernard Levet Guillaume Gilles * Xavier Gerard By: Neal Rosenthal & Neil Rosen We will soon receive our most significant shipments of the year from our producers in the Northern Rhône. Recently, we have made substantial additions to our Northern Rhône portfolio; thus, this annual offer has grown to […]

Etienne Becheras Saint Joseph Blanc 2011

Drinking the above captioned wine tonight. We have a small allocation of this wine every year which is, by and large, ignored once it arrives. That is a shame. The wine is rich, speaks with a booming voice and is blessed with a joyous perfume full of exotic flora. This wine should fine a home […]

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