April 27, 2021 Leaderboard 5.0: We are excited to offer the wines from famed Napa Winery Rivers-Marie. Owned by renowned winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and his partner Genevieve Marie Welsh. Rivers-Marie focuses on Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Thomas, who has made his name in the production of some of Napa Valley’s most distinctive Cabs has a deft touch with Pinot and Chardonnay. These wines are coveted by a mailing list that sells out year in and out. Were we able to secure a nice allocation for the 2019 wines but there is unfortunately never enough to please the masses.
Today we highlight three of the new releases from the heralded 2019 Vintage:
2019 Rivers -Marie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $40
The 2019 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay comes etirely from Riddle Vineyard in Occidental. In the past, this wine has always needed a few barrels of the other vineyards to present a complete wine. Here the combination of vine maturity and clonal selection have elevated this wine to nearly the same level as the single vineyard wines they produce. Planted 100% to the Wente clone, Riddle produces tiny berries full of citrus, mineral and white pepper notes. It also produces wines with enormous amounts of dry extract giving this wine a very broad but dense mouth feel. The dry finish comes up in the form of chalk and mint with a little white peach and honeysuckle creeping in to round out the finish.
2019 Rivers-Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $40
This is the first Sonoma Coast bottling exclusively from Riddle Vineyard. As they continue to grab more and more of this vineyard, the ability to craft a standalone wine has become pretty simple. We use a little bit of every clone from the site and position those components to complement each other. The Mount Eden is picked early to add elegance and aromatic finesse, the 828 fills the mid-palate with sweet red and black fruit and the Pommard provides the structure that frames the finish. The wine is tightly packed with a little nervous energy and some zippy acidity to add freshness. The fruit mix moves from black back to red as the high-toned notes kick in. The savory components come up in the finish with licorice and gravelly earth, all with a floral top note.
2019 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir $70
Like the green tint in young Chardonnays, Burgundian funk on the nose of their Pinots is a sign of minimal handling, a quality which means all the youthful potential of a wine is perfectly preserved in bottle. One way they achieve this with Silver Eagle is through the addition of 10-15% whole cluster. They have also been cutting back on the new oak percentage here landing at around 15% the last two vintages. The fruit profile here is blue, red and black packed with sweet red cherries, black raspberries and plum. This wine will take a few years to unwind as its best years are ahead of it.