Brézème is the southernmost and least well-known enclave of wine-making in the Northern Rhône centred around the town of Livron-sur-Drôme, 15 kilometres due south of Valence. The historic farming focus was on fruit growing but in 1981 Jean-Marie Lombard started bottling his own wine and soon gained a local following that spread further afield with successive vintages. He retired in 2011 when Julien Montagnon relocated from the Roussillon to take over the reins and set about an extensive modernisation and expansion programme including building a brand new winery.
Today Julien presides over 16 hectares of vines encompassing all five of Brézème's lieux-dits including recent plantings on the best hillside sites. His principal wine in volume terms is the red Brézème 'Grand Chêne' that is made from pure Syrah from mature rootstock vinified in 600 litre former white wine casks. It has a briary bouquet and palate of black fruit and spices supported by rugged tannins that will support a decade's cellaring. A red Vin de Pays, called 'La Re-nommée', after objections to the use of the term 'Côte' on an earlier release, sees 10% Viognier added to a base of 90% Syrah. The finished wine is fresh and forward drinking with a wealth of red fruit scents and flavours and a supple, rounded finish.
Julien also produces some finely-crafted white wines. A straight IGP Viognier has good varietal character with citrus and stone fruit scents and a mineral-edged palate of white peach and greengages with a delicate dry finish. His popular Brézème blanc is made from a blend of 50% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne and 5% Viognier and is a weightier offering with apricot and acacia aromas and a palate of ripe orchard fruit offset with subtle nutty nuances. It makes a fine partner to poultry and seafood.