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.

Download Becheras tech sheet
Domaine NameEtienne Becheras, Le Prieuré d'Arras
Family/Owners NameEtienne Becheras
How many years has the family owned the domaine?Created by Etienne Becheras
How many generations?More than 5 generations
How many hectares of vines are leased?0.5
How many hectares of vines are owned?5. ha
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? When?Lutte raisonnée
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).Manual work mainly (60%) because the vineyard is on hillside:
-Pruning
-De-budding
-Fastenning
-Harvest
PLEASE ALSO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR REPLY:
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning?
Green harvest, leaf-thinning just before the harvest
How do you fertilize?Organic fertilizer in winter
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.No
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?No
WINE 1Saint Joseph Blanc
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSaint Joseph Blanc
Cepage/Uvaggio50% Marsanne, 50% Roussanne
%ABV14.5
# of bottles produced1 600
Grams of Residual Sugar2
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsGarde poule
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth/ South-East
Soil Types(s)Clay-limestone
Average vine age (per vineyard)10 to 15 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7 000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)September 15
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?
Nice seasons since few years: beautiful vintages
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedDirect pressing
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeBarrels
Duration of contact with lees1 year with regular batonnage
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous yeasts
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalization
Vinification at low temperature, maceration for few hours, pressing.
Fermentation for 30 to 60 days.
Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)New oak barrels 225L
Duration of elevage12 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeFiltration before bottling
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?15mg/l at the bottling
WINE 2Saint Joseph Rouge Tradition
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSaint Joseph Rouge Tradition
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Syrah
%ABV13.5
# of bottles produced8 000 bottles
Grams of Residual Sugar2
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locations
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth/ South-East
Soil Types(s)Schists and shallow decomposing granites, light, permeable and hot
Average vine age (per vineyard)Between 8 and 65 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)6 000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)September 15
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Nice seasons since few years: beautiful vintages
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedDestemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeCoated concrete tank
Duration of cuvaison18 to 22 days
Duration of contact with leesNo
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalization
Punching-down, pumping-over, rack and return.
Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Oak barrels of 225, litres.
Duration of elevage18 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market8 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo fining, no filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?15 mg/l at the bottling
WINE 3Saint Joseph Rouge Tour Joviac
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSaint Joseph Rouge Tour Joviac
Cepage/Uvaggiosyrah
%ABV14
# of bottles produced4000
Grams of Residual Sugar2
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsLa tour, serlan
Exposures and slope of vineyardsOnly on hillside – steep slope
Soil Types(s)Granite
Average vine age (per vineyard)20 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)8000 vines/ha
Approximate harvest date(s)September 15
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?
Nice seasons since few years: beautiful vintages
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedDestemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeCoated concrete tank
Duration of cuvaison20 to 25 days
Duration of contact with leesNo
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalization
Punching-down, pumping-over, rack and return.
Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Oak barrels 225l
Duration of elevage24 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market4 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo fining, no filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?15 mg/l at the bottling
WINE 4Crozes Hermitage Rouge The Crozes Rouge
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationCrozes Hermitage Rouge The Crozes Rouge
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Syrah
%ABV14
# of bottles produced6000 bottles
Grams of Residual Sugar2
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsMercurol, l’oule
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth/ South-West
Soil Types(s)Loess with glacofluvial alluviums in numerous « galets roulés »
Average vine age (per vineyard)15 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)5000
Approximate harvest date(s)September 15
PLEASE SHARE ANY NOTES ABOUT HARVEST/GROWING SEASON FOR THIS WINE IN THIS VINTAGE.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?
Nice seasons since few years: beautiful vintages
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedDestemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeCoated concrete tank and stainless steel tank
Duration of cuvaison15 to 18 days
Duration of contact with leesNo
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalization
Punching-down, pumping-over, rack and return.
Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Big barrels 600 l
Duration of elevage12 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo fining, no filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?15 mg/l at the bottling
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