Rivesaltes Vdn from L’Archiviste
The Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel wines were immensely popular until the 1950s, but they dropped out of fashion completely, leaving some historic producers with fine wines still in barrel but with no takers. Since 1999, Philippe Gayral, L’Archiviste, has been scouring cellars across the Midi, creating an unrivalled, carbon-dated collection of vintage wines. In June, his UK importer, Farr Vintners, held a tasting of 23 vintages from 1988 back to 1930 from the 65 different bottlings it has in stock. From this extraordinary range, I bought two bottles each of six wines: Riveyrac, Cuvée des Aigles 1975 (£30), red amber colour, red fruits and wild roses nose, beautiful expression, sweet yet dry (93pts); Riveyrac, Cuvée des Aigles 1965 (£40), 40% white grapes, aged tawny, orange peel, terrific energy and grip, superb (95); Marquis de
Boaca 1955 (£40), amber brown, green rim, orange peel and molasses, vigorous Malmsey style (95); Domaine La Sobilane 1952 (£45), 40-year-old tawny style, spirited and lifted, almost dry (94); Prieuré du Monastir del Camp 1949 (£40), superb vigorous red, spicy, exceptional length (96); Château Sisqueille 1941 (£55), burnt amber, wild roses, wonderful richness, smooth finish (95). Prices are per bottle in bond.