Chateau La Riviere Fronsac, Bordeaux, Complete Guide


Learn everything about Chateau La Riviere Fronsac with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, the 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 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 beautiful, picturesque chateau in use today was constructed in 1577 by the mayor of Bordeaux, Gaston de L’Isle. Before La Riviere was sold, amazingly, 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.

La Riviere

Chateau de La Riviere Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The large, 65-hectare vineyard of Chateau de La Riviere is planted to 820 Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% 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 its 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 dry white Bordeaux 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 but on average is about 24,000 cases of wine per year. They also make a second wine, Les Source Chateau de La Riviere.

The best vintages of Chateau de La Riviere are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005.

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

17 Vintages 43,457 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2020 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 92

Chocolate covered plums, cherries, licorice and wet earth on the nose and palate are found here. Round, lush, polished, fresh and fruity, the finish delivers ripe dark red fruits, spice, and cocoa with good acidity and length. You can enjoy this in its youth and for at least a decade or slightly longer. 91-93 Pts

1,073 Views   Tasted
2019 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 92

Medium-bodied, round, supple-textured, plush, polished, forward wine with a generous dose of sweet, ripe, fresh, red fruits with just the right amount of chocolate in the round finish. You can drink this on release. Drink from 2022-2031. 92 Points

672 Views   Tasted

Dark in color, the perfume exudes licorice, smoke, cocoa and ripe plums. The wine is round, lush, rich and offers a good depth of flavor on the palate finishing with loads of fresh black cherries, dark chocolate and plums. 91-93 Pts

2,089 Views   Tasted
2019 Château de la Rivière Blanc  (Bordeaux) 84

Light in color, better in the nose with its pomelo accents than on the palate, the wine is light in flavor and should be consumed over the next 1-3 years. 84 Pts

1,560 Views   Tasted
2018 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 91

Forward, round, silky, soft, fresh and fruity, the wine delivers its blend of chocolate covered cherry, espresso, smoke and licorice effortlessly. Medium-bodied with ample, dark cocoa and a hint of peppery plums in the finish, this is already a treat in the glass. 91 Points

792 Views   Tasted

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

1,282 Views   Tasted
2017 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 90

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. 90 Points

1,764 Views   Tasted
2016 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 89

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. 89 Points

1,532 Views   Tasted

Forward, fun and easy to drink, this is a crowd pleasing styled wine that will drink well early. 88 Points

1,266 Views   Tasted
2015 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 89

Smoke, licorice and dark cherries open the nose. Medium/full-bodied, deep in color, with soft, round, plush textures and a blast of sweet, ripe, dark plums, cherry and a touch of smoky, dark chocolate in the finish. With a bit of air before serving, this is quite easy to like. 89 Points

2,868 Views   Tasted

Forward, soft, polished, ripe and packed with, sweet, plush, dark red fruits, this will drink well on release. 88 Points

2,753 Views   Tasted
2014 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 88

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. 88 Points

2,343 Views   Tasted
2013 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 87

Oak, earth and dark cherries move to a soft, accessible, oaky, red berry finish that will offer pleasure on release. 86-88 Pts

2,045 Views   Tasted
2012 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 90

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

1,751 Views   Tasted
2012 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 88

Licorice, smoky cherries and earthy notes on the nose, lead to a sweet, open, fresh plummy wine. 88 Points

2,497 Views   Tasted

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

2,911 Views   Tasted
2011 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 90

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

1,429 Views   Tasted
2010 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 90

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

2,867 Views   Tasted
2009 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 90

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. 90 Points

2,474 Views   Tasted
2009 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 89

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. 89 Points

2,849 Views   Tasted
2008 Château de la Rivière  (Fronsac) 88

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. 88 Points

2,966 Views   Tasted
2005 Château de la Rivière Aria  (Fronsac) 90

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. 90 Points

1,674 Views   Tasted