Learn everything about Chateau La Riviere Fronsac with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau de La Riviere History, Overview
Chateau de La Riviere is one of the older estates in the Fronsac appellation. The history of the property can be dated back all the way back to 769, when the Emperor Charlemagne ordered that a fort be constructed on the site, Prior to 769, the land was previously used by the ancient Romans as a burial mound.
The chateau in use today was constructed in 1577 by the mayor of Bordeaux, Gaston de L’Isle. Before La Riviere was sold, the estate had been owned by the L’Isle family for more than 500 years! Chateau La Riviere takes its name fittingly from the Dordogne river that sweeps through the Fronsac region. The estate was owned and managed by James Gregoire until 2013.
Chateau de la Riviere is the largest estate in the appellation of Fronsac, with close to 59 hectoliters of planted vines. However, the estate also includes beautiful gardens and forest land, bringing the total size of the property up to 65 hectares.
Here you also find an impressive array of underground limestone quarries, which provide perfect storage conditions for their wines. Chateau de la Riviere has enjoyed periodic renovations over the years. In 1962, the Right Bank estate was completely modernized. But not for the last time.
Chateau de la Riviere was purchased in 1995 by Jean Leprince who once again modernized the estate. Tragically, Jean Leprince was killed in a flying accident in 2002.
Following his death, the property was sold to James Edmond Gregoire. James Gregoire earned his wealth as one of the top manufacturers of grape harvesting machines. In a tragic twist of fate, James Gregoire also died in a flying accident. He was killed when his helicopter crashed in December 2013.
Sadly, the accident took place only one day after James Gregoire agreed to sell Chateau de la Riviere to the Chinese billionaire Lam Kok. This deal was said to be the largest investment by an Asian yet in a Bordeaux vineyard, surpassing the deal for Chateau Bon Pasteur earlier that same year!
The buyer, Lam Kok was also in the helicopter and died in the same accident. The group was said to have been flying over the Right Bank vineyard surveying the land when the accident took place. The children of James Gregorie purchased Chateau Ripeau in St. Emilion the following year.
Chateau de La Riviere Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The large, 65 hectare vineyard of Chateau de La Riviere is planted to 82% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% old vine Malbec in 53 separate parcels on clay, limestone and sandy soils. This shows a marked increase in the plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards have old vines, some of which are up to 80 years old.
Chateau la de Riviere takes a serious environmental approach to their vineyard management techniques. In 2012, they became one of the first Bordeaux chateaux to earn certification for high, environmental value.
The red wine of Chateau de la Riviere is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel vats and aged in 30% new French oak for between 12 to 18 months, depending on the character and style of the vintage.
In addition to the red wine of Chateau de La Riviere, the estate produces a white wine, Chateau de La Riviere Blanc from a unique blend of 67% Sauvignon Blanc and 33% Sauvignon Gris. What makes that blend unusual is the extremely high portion of Sauvignon Gris. The white wine is vinified in cement vats.
Chateau de La Riviere also makes a special, luxury cuvee, Aria. Aria is a small production wine made from a Merlot dominated blend that comes from some of the estate’s oldest Merlot vines in a single 1.5 hectare plot.
This is a much richer style of wine that sees a lot more new oak. In fact’ it’s aged in 100% new, French oak barrels. Close to 1,000 cases of Aria are produced each vintage. Like all the wines of Chateau La Riviere, Michel Rolland is the consulting winemaker.
Production of La Riviere ranges from 15,000 to 18,000 cases of Bordeaux wine per year. They also make a second wine, Les Source Chateau de La Riviere.
When to Drink Chateau La Riviere, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau La Riviere is much better with at least 2-4 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 1 hour or so, allowing the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau La Riviere offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 3-12 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau de La Riviere with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau de La Riviere is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.
Chateau de La Riviere is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau de La Riviere is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
Chateau La Riviere is more than just a winery, the estate is also a full service hotel in the Fronsac appellation, which offers guests luxury and the opportunity to enjoy life in the middle of their Right Bank vineyards.
Château de la Rivière Wine Tasting Notes
14 Vintages 27,882 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2018||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Dark in color, the wine is round, fat, sweet and filled with ripe, dark red fruits, licorice, wet earth, coffee bean, smoke and cocoa. Lusciously textured in the finish, this is going to great shortly after release. 90-92 Pts
799 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2017||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
The wine easily shows its oaky side along with its chocolate and plummy character. Medium bodied, round, lush and juicy, this will clearly offer pleasure on release.
1,430 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2016||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
Plummy, round, juicy and forward, with luscious textures, cocoa and coffee bean in the finish create a crowd pleasing styled wine that will drink well early.
320 Views Tasted Sep 21, 2019
Forward, fun and easy to drink, this is a crowd pleasing styled wine that will drink well early.
1,148 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Forward, soft, polished, ripe and packed with, sweet, plush, dark red fruits, this will drink well on release.
2,135 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2016
|2014||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Fresh, juicy, round, forward and offering loads of ripe black cherry licorice, smoke and earthy characteristics. Even at this young stage, this is already quite tasty and easy to drink. With a few years, this could be even better as it fills out and gains more weight.
1,405 Views Tasted Jul 10, 2017
|2013||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Oak, earth and dark cherries move to a soft, accessible, oaky, red berry finish that will offer pleasure on release. 86-88 Pts
1,753 Views Tasted May 1, 2014
|2012||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
Deep in color with licorice, flowers and jammy berries in the nose, the wine is rich, deep, ripe, jammy and full-bodied with a chocolate-covered, black cherry finish. 89-91 Pts
1,628 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2013
|2012||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Licorice, smoky cherries and earthy notes on the nose, lead to a sweet, open, fresh plummy wine.
1,932 Views Tasted May 15, 2015
Supple-textured, ripe and approachable, this early-drinking wine offers a lot of fleshy, sweet, jammy and fresh black and red fruits with a fun, fleshy personality. 88-90 Pts
2,351 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2013
|2011||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
From 73% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec, with black cherry, licorice, soft textures and an open personality. 89-90 Pts
1,349 Views Tasted Apr 20, 2012
|2010||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
La Riviere Aria was a discovery for me. Thank you to to Bill Blatch from Vintex for introducing me to it. It was the first time I had tasted this wine. From a blend of 86% merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, with vines averaging 40 years of age, the wine sported a deep color. Floral, boysenberry aromas, a rich mouth full of ripe, black fruit, chocolate and boysenberry jam makes this a very tasty offering from Fronsac. I'm not sure what this cost, but chances are, this will be a good value wine to seek out. 90-92 Pts
2,681 Views Tasted Mar 14, 2011
|2009||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
This delicious, Merlot based wine is filled with ripe, juicy, dark berries, chocoalte, cherry, minerality and vanilla. Supple in texture, concentrated, fleshy and plummy, the wine is already drinking well now. It's hard to find in America at the moment, but if you run across a bottle, it's worth tasting.
2,209 Views Tasted Jan 19, 2012
|2009||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Fully ready to drink, the wine is filled with round textures, licorice, espresso bean, plum and cherries. This is not for aging. It's for drinking.
2,508 Views Tasted Dec 16, 2013
|2008||Château de la Rivière (Fronsac)|
Jammy black fruit, licorice and coffee aromas, soft textures, medium body with a plum and herb filled finish. I'd drink this on the young side.
2,686 Views Tasted Dec 5, 2011
|2005||Château de la Rivière Aria (Fronsac)|
Fully mature, round, flashy, espresso, dark, plum, licorice and black cherry filled wine with sweetness to the chocolatey fruit and a touch of oak that remains in the finish. This is not a wine to hold for further development.
1,548 Views Tasted Dec 19, 2017