This Week’s Wine Tasting

Maison Riviere Bordeaux Negociant

Presented by Pierre Marcelin, U.S.A. Brand Ambassador for Maison Riviere of St Emilion


Maison Rivière is producer and négociant in Bordeaux since 1875, and now six generations of wine makers! Born and raised in Pessac-Léognan, Pierre has been living and selling wines all over the World for the past decade including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Spain. He is currently based in Washington, DC. Come to taste and discover these wines from all Bordeaux appellations!”

“We are producer and wine merchant and we own 90 hectares in the heart of the vineyard of Bordeaux. In addition to our sets of properties distributed on several appellations, we are the specialist of the Grands Crus Classés of Bordeaux since 1875. We offer a full range of the best wines from the most prestigious appellations of Bordeaux, from entry level wines to Grands Crus Classés through the crus bourgeois, old vintages to En Primeurs wines (wine futures).

We have established a vast domain of estate wines. Here are some of our most prestigious appellations of the Bordeaux region:

– L’EXCELLENCE Clos des Menuts, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

– Clos des Menuts, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

– Château Cheval Brun, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

– Château Moulin de Lavaud, Lalande de Pomerol

– Château Haut Piquat, Lussac Saint-Emilion

– Château Picampeau, Lussac Saint-Emilion

– Château de Lavagnac, Bordeaux Supérieur

It is through the grapes and the vines that our know-how is expressed. Always in search for quality, our greatest award is above all our client’s satisfaction and their pleasure.”

Imported by William-Harrison Imports: “Bordeaux has had a long history of wine growing and wine making, going back to before Roman occupation. It was the Roman’s laws that created the smaller estates, instead of very large feudal territories. These smaller estates each had their own economies, and sustained themselves with agriculture (the vine and crops) and animal husbandry (for use on the farm/estate). The estate would also have their own blacksmith, carpentry and a pottery kiln to be able to make tools, erect buildings, fabricate cabinets and furniture and produce dishes and vessels. The vineyard however was the main feature of these estates, and the wine, an important commodity.

Charlemagne, in the eighth century, was the person responsible for forbidding the custom of carrying Bordeaux wine in leather bottles and required the use of hooped wooden barrels for its transport and storage. In the Middle Ages, Bordeaux came under British rule, and the Bordelaise realized that exports to Britain could be an important part of their economy, with the barrels making trade much easier and the wine more stable. After the reunion of the Aquitaine with France in the 16th century, and the English market gone, the Bordelais focused on exports to the rest of France and the continent. Leading up to the American Revolution, exports to that distant country and other European countries were an important trade until the Napoleonic wars put a stop to export and growth.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, after those wars, it was the English, Northern European and Scandinavian countries that saved Bordeaux’s wine trade and cemented their place as winegrowers and merchants, which continues to this day, with the Far East and their wealth becoming bigger Bordeaux classified wine customers. Everyday wines from Bordeaux still represent great values and are still very popular today.”

Château Larmevaille Blanc 2012
Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux. “This refreshing wine has a delightful aromatic nose with hints of citrus, mineral, and a touch of white flowers. It differs from our other white Bordeaux in that it consists of 40% Sauvingnon Blanc and 30% each of Semillon and Muscadelle, giving a richer mid-palate, with lots of texture and a good dose of minerality. On the finish it is very clean and refreshing, delightful enough to want another glass or two. This is an exceptional wine for everyday drinking or for by the glass in restaurants.” “Chateau Larmevaille is the perfect choice as an aperitif, with cheese, or served with shellfish, fish, poultry or lighter fare. Many of our customers who appreciate the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs find this quite tasty yet at a better price! A great way to introduce your friends to the wonders of Sauvignon Blanc blends.” $15.99

Château La Gabarde 2010
Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux. “Côtes de Bourg is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for Bordeaux wine situated around the small town of Bourg-sur-Gironde near Bordeaux, France. The first vineyards in the area were founded by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, Bourg was a major port for wine and the vineyards developed at the same tempo as the estuary traffic. The Côtes de Bourg appellation, in the north of the patchwork of Bordeaux wines, took its first steps on the east bank of the Gironde. At the time, the inhabitants of Bourg were fishermen, sailors or winemakers and the latter benefited from the perfect combination of a commercially minded town and a soil made for the vine. Red Côtes de Bourg are garnet in colour and are predominantly based on the Merlot grape, blended with smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Some Chateaux still use Malbec as part of the blend.” “This wine has a beautiful dark rusty/brick color, an agreeable bouquet of soft dark fruit aromas and equally pleasant palate with a subtle rich structure.” $15.99

Château Arnaud 2010
Bordeaux Superieur. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged in oak barrels for 12 months. “Attractive deep garnet in color. It has a texture that covers the mouth and a finish that’s rather fruity. Château Arnaud focuses on consistent quality and tries each year to produce the best wine possible, regardless of vintage. This 2010 vintage is particularly successful, due to the outstanding weather that year. Deeper notes of dried fruits and cassis are evident on the palate followed by a long, gripping finish. We suggest you drink along with beef dishes. You can now enjoy in its youth or wait a bit.” $15.99

Château du Gazin 2011
Canon Fronsac, Bordeaux. “The Château’s vineyard has over 30 hectares (about 75 acres) planted of which 80% lie in Canon-Fronsac and 20% in Fronsac. The quality of the soils comes from several factors: a limestone clay soil on the surface over a sub-soil of starfish limestone, some of which is found in the better vineyards of Saint-Émilion. It has a particularly favorable exposure on the hillside that absorbs much sunshine, particularly the warm afternoon sun, yet due to the proximity to the Dordogne, the vineyard does not experience wide ranges of temperature like they do up on the plateau. The drainage is also very good used to the subsoil and slopes. The vineyard is currently planted to 85% Merlot, 5% each Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, with the vines being on average 35 years old.” “Each parcel is kept separate, and since they are all contiguous to the Château they can be put into the vats in less than 30 minutes from picking time. The grapes from different parcels are regrouped according to their maturity before fermentation for around 20 days. Temperature regulation allows precise control of the fermentation. Afterwards, the aging is done in oak barrels for 18 months.” $18.99

Château de Callac 2010
Graves, Bordeaux. “This property, purchased by the current owner, Jean-Pierre Riviere in 1988, has been totally refurbished to yield top quality wines: new fermenting cellar for red wine in 1994, an aging cellar accommodating 240 barrels completed in 1997, and a new bottle storage warehouse finished in 1998. The winery completely replaced with the state-of-the-art thermo-regulated stainless vats before the 2002 vintage, so you will see the immense progress this property has undergone in reds very soon. The château practices leaf-pulling, green harvest and hand harvesting to increase the overall and year-to-year quality on their 25-year-old vines.” “This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot is matured in barrels for just over 20 months giving the wine a deep violet red color with a hint of purple on the rim. Nose is powerful and elegant with full red fruits typical of Cabernet Sauvignon. Very well balanced with excellent structure. Drinks well now but will continue to develop for several more years.” $23.99

Château Villefranche 2011
Sauternes, Bordeaux. “Made from 85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle, these grapes are grown on a sandy clay soil, near the river Ciron. All of the sweet wines of Bordeaux are centered around this tributary of the Garonne, because it creates a special microclimate. Leafy trees shade the cold water of this tiny river and the misty autumn mornings are favorable for the production of noble rot. This grows on the grape skins at perfect maturity and concentrates the grape sugars without making the skins burst, resulting in a grape must at pressing that is very concentrated.” “Chateau Villefranche is golden in color (which deepens with age), with a perfumed and complex nose of vanilla, apricots, peaches and preserved white fruits. Highly concentrated with great acidity and balance, this wine may be consumed young, or left to age in a cool cellar and increase in complexity for a decade or so. Drink this with foie gras, starters of all types, white meats, and cheeses, especially Roquefort! Also excellent as an aperitif with walnuts.” $23.99

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