Richard purchased [Richard: about £50 each, from Farr Vintners] six bottles of Rivesaltes from various vintages dating back to the nineteen thirties. They had all been kept in oak casks until 2012 and then bottled. This was the second oldest of the six.
Rivesaltes produces a vin doux naturel (VDN), a wine whose fermentation is stopped thereby leaving a sweet wine with an alcohol content of between 15 – 17%. Rivesaltes produces the majority of French VDNs and they can be made from red, white or rose wine – each grape colour producing a different characteristic of wine. I think these were from white grapes but there was no indication on the bottle.
This is Chateau Sisqueille 1946 (ABV 16%). The colour is a bright, clear amber/orange, remarkably fresh looking with strong windows, indicating the expected viscosity. On the nose it had some spicy richness and raisins but not strongly so – more restrained than port or sherry. The palate was sweet, but balanced by some orange-peel acidity and of good length. It was slightly oxidised, giving it a sherry quality which added to its character
This would be a good accompaniment to salted nuts or a strong blue cheese.