Chateau Rives Blanques - some highlights
A special Crémant, made for Jan and Caryl’s 45th wedding anniversary. A blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Chenin blanc and 10% Mauzac. 17% of the blend is fermented and aged in French oak barrels. The wine spends 40 months on the lees of the second fermentation. No added dosage, which makes it something of an acquired taste, compared to some softer Crémants I found this very restrained and elegant. Without any dosage, it lacks the usual rounded creaminess of the average Crémant, and has a firm backbone of acidity and quite a tight knit palate, with good depth on the finish. There are some yeasty brioche notes on the nose. A Crémant to linger over; a wine that gradually reveals itself.
We shared this bottle with friends, and it was delicious. A light colour. A fresh herbal note. And on the palate, some herbal notes and some saline hints, with some fresh acidity and juicy note. Jan and Caryl are one of the few estates to make a pure Mauzac, which is a shame as it is an important part of the heritage of Limoux, and if it is as good as this, it certainly deserves a much better reputation. The vines are 60 years old and the wine is fermented and aged in old oak barrels. with some occasional lees stirring.
This has long been one of my favourite white wines from the Languedoc, even though Chenin Blanc is not a typical variety in the region. However, introduced to Limoux, to add flavour to Blanquette, it now makes some lovely still wine. Light golden in colour, with some hints of dry honey on the nose, and more honey on the palate, with good acidity. Elegantly mouth filling. The flavours are still quite restrained, so there is plenty of ageing potential.
A late harvest Chenin blanc, with the grapes picked in November. Only made in years when the weather allows for the development of noble rot, as it did in October 2016. And again in October 2019. Fermented and aged on the lees in a stainless steel tank. Light golden in colour, with some roasted notes on the nose, typical of noble rot. Dry honey balanced by firm acidity. Elegantly honey with a fresh finish. Quite delicious. As good as the best Bonnezeaux or Coteaux du Layon. And very similar in style. Try detecting the difference in a blind tasting.