January 17, 2017 Martine's Wines 0Comment

The unique vin de liqueur Pineau des Charentes is said to have been accidentally discovered by a Burie winemaker who, in 1509, unwittingly put fresh grape juice from the recent harvest into a barrel containing a small quantity of Cognac. The following year, he made an extraordinary discovery: a lively concoction that had both the freshness of fruit and the depth of brandy. And thus, Pineau des Charentes was born.

Today, regulations require Pineau des Charentes to be made from the fresh juice of grapes grown in the Cognac region and blended with young Cognac. Timing is essential, and blending occurs within hours of pressing the grapes. Fermentation is stopped by the addition of spirit, leaving unfermented residual sugar and up to 17% alcohol — a uniquely sweet and punchy tipple.

Gaston Rivière bottles feature an attractive toile label that hints at the complexity and history of the liqueur contained inside. Pineau des Charentes is usually served as an apéritif and is lovely to drink slightly chilled on a summer day.

Martine’s Wines is the exclusive U.S. importer for Gaston Rivière.