Familly, Tradition and
The Rivière family, present in Saint-Émilion since 1875, operates a vineyard of 25 ha.
In the 1950s, Clos des Menuts had only one hectare. Today, it extends over 25 hectares near the ramparts of Saint-Émilion, mostly to the west of the commune. Located in the heart of Saint
Emilion, the Clos des Menuts has medieval monolithic cellars with a constant temperature of 12 °.
Clos des Menuts is considered today as a unique wine-producing institution. To better understand the basis of this success, we must go back in 1538, date of the first written record attesting to the sale of a barrel of wine by the union of the «Frères Mineurs » (Fray Menuts in Gascon) religious of the Order of St. François d’Assise, also called Cordeliers (Cordes Lies). The name of « Mineurs » brothers was chosen by reference to the "smaller of us" referred to in the Gospels (Mt 25: 40-45).
It is thus for more than 470 years that the passion of the Earth and the Wine is married in this unprecedented place. Today, the domain belongs to the RIVIERE family. After buying it in the early 1950s from the Bord family, Jean Edmond ANDRIEU donated it to his son-in-law Pierre RIVIERE in 1956.
Many events mark the life of the estate: the expansion of the vineyard surface, the construction of a new wine cellar, the premises of the cultivation in 2001, etc., which allow each vintage of Clos des Menuts to be an example in the community and to combine in the most optimal possible way modernity, authenticity and expression of know-how.
In 2007, Philippe RIVIERE called on Stéphane Derenoncourt, a world-renowned oenologist, to vinify the CLOS des MENUTS. A "special" cuvée from the best plots of the estate will then be marketed: L'EXCELLENCE of CLOS des MENUTS whose first vintage was born in 2007. This cuvée has already been noticed in the Anglo-Saxon specialist press and augurs the continuity of the success of this prestigious winery.
A Terroir of Exception
Since the Clos des Menuts is an integral part of the family, everything has been implemented to enhance and develop this prestigious area in the heart of Saint Emilion. Today, the vineyard extends on 25 hectares and combines all the qualities of two perfectly complemantary plots.
The first, close to the ramparts of the medieval city, offers an excellent clay-limestone soil. The second larger plot, lying to the west, has a clay and sandy soil, ocver a sandstone subsoil, providing excellent drainage for all the trace elements.
The privileged location of the vineyards of Clos des Menuts coupled with the complexity of the soils and basements of this vineyard contribute greatly to the development of a unique wine; The reflect of the quality of perfectly complementary terroirs. Everything is done here so that the 85% of Merlot, assembled with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc are able to produce the most qualitative grapes possible.
Harvesting is performed entirely by hand. A sorting table enables the selection of the finest grapes. Two sorts of the harvest are now carried out. A first sorting before the destemming and a second after which allows to greatly refines the quality of the berries which are then conveyed by gravity in the tanks. The fermentation takes place in a traditional way at 28/32°C. with a vatting of about 21 days. During the first few days, two to three pumpings are made every day to extract the best tannins.
The wine is then aged for 18 months in oak barrels, in the vast mediaval cellars hollowed out from the rock under the heart of the village of Saint Emilion. Thirty feet underground, the Clos des Menuts benefits from exceptional ageing, at the ideal and constant temperature of 12°C. The monolithic cellars of the Clos des Menut, dotted with old grain silos dating from the Middle Ages, are a much-appreciated attraction for the numerous visitors to the mediaeval city.
As there was not enough room, in 1980, Clos des Menuts purchased larger and more functional new buildings outside the village. In 1998, they were renewed and enlarged. A new vinification chai has been set up, with thermoregulated concrete vats, smaller and more cubical, in order to facilitate the exchanges. The size of the barrel chai has been doubled, and the crop reception has been modified, to respect the qualities of the grapes : the grapes are taken more rapidly to the vats, and estemmer has been set up on top of the vats.