1973 L’Archiviste Rivesaltes

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  • "Superb." ~94 Vinous Media
  • Rivesaltes Is One of the Great Sweet Wines of the World
  • 50-Year-Old Sweet Wine
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About the Wine

Rivesaltes is one of the great sweet wines of the world. Produced in the Languedoc Roussillon region of SW France, these wines live for decades since they are fortified. They can be produced from both white and red grapes, although Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Muscat, Macabeu, and Malvasia prevail in the region. The wines are sweetened only with the natural grape sugars present at harvest. For this reason, they are called Vin Doux Naturel.

If you haven't tried Philippe Gayral's wines yet, now's the perfect time. Philippe, a knowledgeable figure who used to run a prominent co-op in Roussillon, has a great network of connections with local wineries, especially in Banyuls, Maury, and Rivesaltes. These appellations are famous for their sweet, fortified wines called Vins doux Naturels. Wines that, after aging for years, even decades, in barrels and bottles, they become incredibly complex.

Philippe discovered hidden treasures—old vintages from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—in many wineries. His mission is clear: rescue these forgotten wines and introduce them to wine lovers in the 21st century. Philippe finds, bottles, and shares these gems. Some wineries proudly participate, while others prefer to remain anonymous. In such cases, Philippe bottles the wine under the L'Archiviste label.

These special wines make fantastic birth year gifts. Imagine drinking a wine born in the same year as you! But, they are also a perfect way to travel in time. These wines are like time capsules from another era. If you listen and taste carefully, these wines often have amazing stories to tell.

Aging: The first 3 years in underground concrete tanks and then for 37 years in foudres.

Tasting Notes: Grenache / Garnacha, Grenache Blanc, Macabeo.
See Critical Reviews for detailed tasting notes.


The 1973 Rivesaltes from L’Archiviste has a perfumed, linseed, fig, marmalade, and touches of espresso that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is well-balanced with a fine bead of acidity. This is very elegant in style with tangy marmalade and orange rind, quince, and Chinese 5-spice and blessed with a very harmonious and detailed finish that develops a peaty note with time. Superb. ~94 Vinous Media

The 1973 Rivesaltes L’Archiviste from Philippe Gayral is from one such unnamed domaine. The wine has rested in oak barrels in the anonymous domaine’s cellars since the fermentation was completed, up until the point of bottling by specialist firm Ma’s Del Vin in 2019, so it has seen out 46 years in barrel, and at least three in bottle. It was sealed with a driven cork, easily removed, and it poured clear into the glass, displaying a vibrant core of amber red with a honeyed gold rim. The nose is gloriously expressive, with threads of caramel, burnt sugar, toasted nuts, dried earth, raisins and orange peel. This complexity also comes across on the palate, which has a gloriously silky presence and yet which carries great texture and weight, all offset by its superb acidity and a sense of freshness and energetic drive. With a fabulous length, and a true sense of harmony, this is a great wine, and a fine alternative to more famous fortified styles. The alcohol on the label is 17.5%. ~94 The Wine Doctor