By: Keith Mabry
K&L Staff Member
I met Pascale Riviere through some of our other Direct Import producers, Marie Chauffray of Domaine de la Reserve d'O and Sophie Guiraudon of Clos de l'Anhel. They are all part of the trade organization - les Vinifilles (the wine girls). This group of women are making some of the most exciting wines in the south of France right now and each person represents a top growing region. I met with Pascale in 2016 and visited her property and vineyards in Terrasses du Larzac and Montpeyroux. These two areas are Cru regions in the Languedoc that are producing some of its most noteworthy wines. To say the least, we had a blast. Pascale is quite the character, bouncing us from vineyard to vineyard, telling me the story of the estate and history of the little sheep barn (the Jasse) in the middle of her most prized vineyard. We hiked to the old barn, which is mostly a ruin now but the four walls are still intact and it creates a striking juxtaposition between the land, the vineyard and the high mountains behind it. Prior to making wine, Pascale was a wine journalist and educator. A first generation winemaker, she bought an incredible piece of property in the hills of Montpeyroux and slowly expanded as other like parcels became available. She has slowly expanded to 7 hectares of vineyards. Farming organically from the beginning, she is making beautifully perfumed and detailed whites and reds. I recently revisited her 2014 Pimpanela at a friend's dinner party. It was even more open and exotic than when I first tasted it. Full of brambly black fruit, a nice does of roasted fig, brushy garrigue and hints of burnished leather, it was a captivating wine. The palate was long and full of finesse and paired deftly with two of the dishes at the party - salmon sliders and grilled duck snow cones. It's not often you can find a Rhone varietal wine that goes well with seafood but the interplay of the richness of the salmon and herb aioli was a perfect foil. Not to mention the duck. My friend makes little cones with wonton wrappers and then stuffs them will all kinds of savory foods and on this occasion it was duck with dried figs. Absolute perfection!