Rivesaltes is one of the sweet dessert wines from Southwest of France that has largely gone unnoticed in the marketplace (except for the wine nerds) compared to port and sweet sherry. Its production as vins doux naturels is quite similar to port, where grape spirits are typically added to grape musts to stop the fermentation process, thereby retaining sufficiently high natural residual sugar to create this category of fortified elixir. Generally made from Grenache (no matter the colour), Rivesaltes wines can also introduce a small amount of other local grape varieties if so desired by its maker.
We shared a chilled bottle of Mas des Caprices' 2012 "Grenat" (made from 100% Grenache Noir) with some friends after a most satisfying vegetarian hotpot dinner, and the wine was brimming with sweet, ripe red & dark fruits, luscious plum compote, dried cherries, lifted floral notes (contributed by VA we reckoned), molasses and a touch of rancio tones. Sweet, but not cloyingly so, balanced by a fairly high level of acidity that kept the wine super drinkable on its own without any food. Its winemaker suggested pairing this with blue cheeses and chocolates, which we wholeheartedly agree, especially if it is excellent Gorgonzola dolce and Valrhona's Guanaja 70% or Manjari 64%. But you know what? Deep-fried orh nee tarts (purple yam filling) worked marvellously too!
Almost indestructible with a supremely long shelf life if kept well, this Grenat will continue to be pleasurable without losing much of its aromas and flavours for up to a week after opening in a normal fridge. A foodie friend once added a couple of bottles of this Rivesaltes into his Hakka-style Kong Bak and we must say...the final results were LIP-SMACKINGLY good.
A very affordable but sumptuous bottle made lovingly by some talented vignerons in the sunny hills of Languedoc-Roussilon that is perfect as a post dinner pick-me-up , but also equally wonderful as a holiday (Christmas) present to any foodies and non-snobbish wine lovers. Drop us a message if you would like to get your hands on these gems - limited to 6 bottles per customers. Do note that they come in 500ml format but given how quickly we drained the bottle, they should have been bottled in standard 750ml instead!