The Brézème

The Land and Soil

Brézème is one of the smallest appellations of the Northern Rhône and is located in the commune of Livron-sur-Drôme. Forgotten for a century, it nevertheless occupies the enviable area where the Rhône and Drôme rivers meet. It is said that the name Brézème comes from the French word brais, meaning embers or coal. The name brings to mind the Brézème hillside, roasting in the daytime sun.

Indeed, sunlight drenches Brézème’s south-facing hill covered with steep, Cornas-styled terraces and Syrah grapes. To the east, further down the hillside are the southeastern facing foothills. This is ideal for its Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier grape varietals.

As the southernmost region of the Northern Rhône Valley, Brézème has limestone-based soil, with high iron content, sand, and is covered in round pebbles. Since its inception in the 1930s, the INAO has made special allowances to uniquely recognize Brézème as a named region that is neither a Côte du Rhône village or a cru.

Timeline

Earliest mentions of the Brézème vineyards can be found from 1410 in the state archives of Turin and grapes continued to be grown here for the next 400 years.

In 1876

The phylloxera louse destroyed 95% of the vines in Brézème. Farmers abandoned the difficult work of the hillside vineyards in favor of working the fruit trees grown in the valley. Then, for 100 years, this terroir was largely forgotten.

By 2002

Only one parcel of land on the east side of the hill was being used as a vineyard. The commune of Livron-sur-Drôme launched an effort to renovate the western hill.

By 2013

All Brézème winemakers were engaged in restoring the hillside to its former reputation as one of the most beautiful terroirs in the Northern Rhône Valley.

Today

The Brézème region is in the process of becoming recognized as the ninth cru of the Northern Rhône, thanks to the efforts of the Brézème wine syndicate, in partnership with the Côte du Rhône union and the INAO.