Domaine Patrice Rion has been on my list for future visits for quite some time. Blair Pethel of Domaine Dublère has recommended this estate warmly and since I love the style of the Domaine Dublère wines – I thought that there must be something special going on at Domaine Patrice Rion in Premeaux – and I was right.
A bit of background on Domaine Patrice Rion
As mentioned I got to know Domaine Michéle et Patrice Rion via Blair Pethel of Domaine Dublere – who knows Patrice Rion very well. It’s perhaps a strong word to say that Patrice Rion has been a mentor for Blair, but i clearly find a style resemblance between Domaine Dublere and Domaine Patrice Rion. Not saying they are identical stylewise – but they share some vital qualities.
The domaine was established in 1990 by Patrice Rion and his wife Michéle, and expanded in 2000 when Patrice left Domaine Daniel Rion (his fathers estate). Since 2000 the estate has been expanded with further vineyards in Chambolle (presumably metayage) including Les Amoureuses, Les Fuées and Les Cras. Patrice is now running the estate with his son Maxime.
The style is refined and fruit driven with a lovely expression of terroir. The wines offer fine energy and are very pure. The top wines show very fine definition and focus.
The top vineyard in the Rion vineyard portfolio is Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos St. Marc a monopole located below Les Argillieres and just south of Aux Corvées in Premeaux. It’s a very interesting vineyard – with a special terroir – offering a rich and generous side of Premeaux – lovely depth and midpalate weight.It is however rivaled by Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses and Bonnes Mares from the leased vineyards in Chambolle.
The influence of oak
Most of the wines were sampled from older oak casks, but I tasted a few samples from new casks – and this sort of explained the experience I had when I tasted the 2014s in March 2016.
Patrice Rion is using a moderate amount of new oak on most of the wines, and the oak is from two coopers Remond and Gautier Freres. The Gauthier barrels used for village and 1er cru gives a quite discrete oak impression, whereas the Remond barrels are more expressive and toasted. This toastyness is exposed more in the Chambolle wines and is more integrated in the Nuits-Saint-Georges wines in their youth. In my view this means that the lesser Chambolle wines needs more time to integrate the oak and unfold. The Premeaux wines seems to absorb the toasted notes better or should I say quicker than the Chambolle wines.
It’s not an issue .. but bear this in mind when you taste very young wines from this estate ..
Notes from the tasting on the 16th of July 2016
Patrice is very happy with his 2015s … ans he should be … and explained that the 2015 vintage could well be the best vintage he had produced so far – big words from a man with 25 vintages produced under his own label.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Bourgogne Les Bons Batons 2015
The Bourgogne Rouge “Les Bons Batons” is a lovely glass of Pinot presenting the pure, transparent and quite delicate style of the estate. The nose is offering fine pure fruit and a nice hint of minerality for this level. On the palate fine weight – the 2015 vintage has yielded some generous generic Burgundies that should not be overlooked. A delightful wine for everyday enjoyment.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Cote de Nuits Village 2015
The Cote de Nuits village is a step up in concenration and a more serious wine. The nose offer darker fruit … fine mix of red and dark berries – good complexity and a nice transparent display of minerality. On the palate more weight and grip – with a nice selection of fruits .. blueberries, raspberries and boysenberries with hints of plum and supported by a nice slightly earthy minerality. A bit more ripe than the previous wine … and somehow I like the simplicity of the Bons Bantons more .. although I recognize this is the bigger wine.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2015
This village comes from a plot in the terroir “Aux Croix” or Les Croix located below the village and the terroir La Taupe. located near the forest above the Musigny vineyard. The bouquet is offering a lovely collection of red and dark berries – spized with a classic Chambolle minerality. On the palate rich and generous for this level – but still juicy and fresh – with it’s fine expression of the Chambolle terroir. A very good village Chambolle in the making.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 2015
This village comes from the village part of the Cras terroir .. i.e. the upper part. This is a lovely wine … offering the good sides of the 2015 vintage. The nose is brimming with ripe and juicy fruit – fresh red berries brought forward by a fine Chambolle minerality. On the palate fresh and lightfooted for the vintage – with a lovely juicy red mid-palate fruit. A delightful glass of Chambolle village.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes 2015
Moving up to 1er cru level with the Chambolle Charmes … a quite decadent Chambolle in the making. It’s made from very old wines (75 – 80 years old) and offers all the best sides of the 2015 vintage. The nose is bursting with ripe and delicate red fruit – well supported by a nice display of Chambolle minerality. On the palate rich, generous and almost silky with a decadent and seductive red berry fruit. A wine for hedonistic pleasure … rather than an intellectuel challenge.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Les Gruenchers 2015
I have a soft spot for this terroir … and this is a lovely energetic Chambolle 1er in the making. The bouquet offer lovely red berry fruit – fresh and detailed with a nice slightly more earthy Chambolle minerality. On the palate very fine intensity and energy – lovely depth with layers of vibrant fruit and a bit more structure than the sexy Chambolle Charmes. This is a gorgeous wine.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Les Fuees 2015
The Chambolle Les Fuees is a bit more backward and introvert than the two other Chambolle 1er crus .. but a both refined and elegant effort. The nose offer delicate red and dark berry fruit supported by a detailed and filigree minerality. On the palate fine concentration – pure and juicy fruit – quite long and elegant offering a nice transparent view to the lovely Fuees terroir. Although I really like Les Fuees I think Gruenchers is slightly better in 2015.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 2015
Les Amoureuses is a significant step up in quality … offering more depth, length and concentration – and a intense minerality to match. The nose is bursting with fruit and minerality – lovely red and dark forest berries … hints of pomegranate interlinked with the energetic limestone mineraliy. On the palate very long and intense with a tremendous energy from this magnificent terroir. The rich and velvet 2015 fruit is a perfect match for the intense and vibrant terroir .. impressive.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2015
While the Chambolle wines from Rion are lovely I normally consider the Patrice Rion estate as a Premeaux estate – and have a soft spot for the Nuits-Saint-George wines. The NSG village is showing beautifully. The nose offer plenty of fruit – fresh and juicy – predominantly red berries – with a nice element of cherries interlinked with the earthy and slightly limestony minerality. On the palate generous fruit for this level – cool and with fine ripeness – and well supported by the terroir. This is a fine vintage for NSG if over-ripeness is avoided .. as the slightly rustic terroirs handle the very generous fruit perfectly.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Argillieres 2015
Les Argillieres is one of my favorite terroirs in Premeaux .. and hence also in the southern part of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Patrice Rion is the largest owner of this fine 1er cru and makes the most of this ownership. The 2015 edition is one of the best Argillieres I have tasted. The nose is bursting with energetic red berry fruit and a very intense limestony minerality. On the palate rich almost velvet red fruit – notes of strawberries, blueberries and pomegranate – tremendous energy and minerality … what a gorgeous effort.
Domaine Patrice Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos St. Marc 2015
Clos St. Marc quite different from Les Argilieres with it’s more generous and rounded nature. The bouquet offer a lovely secection of juicy red fruits interlinked with the slight earthy/sandy minerality. On the palate very rich and generous with layers of silky red fruit – very juicy indeed – with a lovely verve and energy. Love the elegant and rich mouth-feel .. what a delicious wine .. elegant, long and intense ..
Domaine Patrice Rion, Bonnes Mares 2015
The Bonnes Mares is the only wine aged on 100% new oak. The nose offer layers of deep red and dark berry fruit – supported by a fine earthy minerality. On the palate great intensity and concentration .. clearly a bigger wine than Clos St. Marc – but is bigger always better? … perhaps not in this case. On the palate rich and weighty fruit – very balanced and with a very good energy. Is perhaps lacking a bi of the vibrant nerve of the Clos St. Marc … but it is potentially the bigger wine.