Rivesaltes Vdn from L’Archiviste

Decanter - - DECANTER BUYING GUIDE -

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.

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