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Red Rivière

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Fronsac 2006, Château de la Rivière ($29.95, 11588348)
Merlot (83%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Malbec (5%). Alcoholic fermentation and maceration lasted four weeks and took place in temperature-controlled concrete and stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation took place in new barrels. Matured 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new (with six months on the lees) and 60% second or third passage. 13% ABV.
Primary nose dominated by ripe cassis and blackberry with spice, cedar, dark earth and oak in the background. Denser and heavier than expected but saved by juicy acidity. The sweet, ripe, even a bit brambly fruit is shot through with firm, chewy tannins that still need a year or two to resolve but give the long finish a velvety texture. (Buy again? Fans of big Merlot-based Bordeaux needn’t hesitate but I wouldn’t buy this in preference to a more refreshing and digeste wine like the organic Côtes de Francs from Château du Puy.)

It comes as a shock to realize that this is the first bottle of Château de la Rivière I’ve tasted in over a decade. While I wouldn’t call the 2006 parkerized, compared with my memory of its more appealingly austere and nuanced siblings from the 1980s and ’90s, it does strike me as a step in that bigger-is-better direction.

Written by carswell

July 9, 2013 at 17:29

Posted in Tasting notes

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