Eric Rodez is the 8th generation in Ambonnay. After an informative period of travelling and working with other vignerons he returned to the family domaine in 1982. Dissatisfied with the quality of the wines that were being produced he set about changing the whole ‘ethos’ of the house. Since 1989 he has been working hard to respect the soils and improve their balance. He does not claim to be organic or biodynamic, but prefers to say that he has an ‘organic sensibility’, explaining he prefers to use a minimal amount of chemical treatment if the vines are at risk, than use an excessive amount of copper. Grass is grown between rows and yields kept to a minimum. That being said, with the average age of the vines now 31 years and certain parcels over 70, there are naturally less bunches on the vines.
Eric he has a resolute dedication to quality and an incredibly broad understanding of viticulture and vinification, gained not just from the experiences past down from his father, or learnt at university, but significantly, during his time working in other areas. He learnt the art of barrel ageing during the time he spent in Burgundy - 80% of his wines undergo elevage in wood, (although no new oak). It was closer to home however, that he fine tuned his superb skills of blending, at the house of Krug no less, where he worked for two years. He is keen to explain how crucial and skilled a process the ‘assemblage’ is. He says that the blending of two wines should not result in them fighting against each other, but that the blend should be more ‘noble’ than the individual components; it should not be ‘heavy’, but should create different expressions - like a great mille-feuille! The final and probably most important factor is his undisguised, yet at the same time, down to earth, passion. Eric loves to compare his wines with music. ‘Oh dear’, I hear you scoff. However, this does not come across as self-indulgent, poetic license, but merely heart felt, meaningful metaphors.
Rodez owns 35 different parcels and vinifies each plot and cepage separately to produce 60 different wines, from which he can create his blends. Rodez produces two distinct categories of wine. This includes a tiny production of vintage wines which he classifies as Empreinte de Terroir. These sensational Montrachet-esque cuvees are the pure expression of a single cepage and terroir. The core of his range however, comprises six wines, which are blended each year to produce the same ‘melody’, but never in the same style.