Our tasting impressions
Darker in color than the Chambolle. The nose is nice but here there is more spice and less aromatic beauty. Certainly more structured more masculine and with firmer edges (such is Nuits). The vintage's riper fruit is evident but nicely balanced by strong earthy flavors. Approachable now, particularly with considerable air but better in 10+ years.
About this wine
This is an old vine, village wine (which can be from grapes anywhere within its appellation) from 4 Pinot Noir plots all in the same part of northern Nuits, right on the border of Vosne-Romanée.
The grapes for this cuvée, named for Bernard's grandmother, Marguerite, were de-stemmed and gently pressed. The juice fermented 16 days before aging 15 months in oak barrels - 45% new.
About the grape
Pinot Noir is an ancient grape from eastern France. Notoriously challenging, it thrives in cooler climates. The concept of terroir is most closely identified with Burgundy because the lightness of Pinot Noir enables it to so transparently express minor differences (which is why experienced tasters can discern the difference in wines produced from vineyards in very close proximity). Intense popularity resulted in plantings all over the world but most agree that its finest expression is in the Côte d’Or of Burgundy.
The Rions' view of the vintage
The weather was very nice in the spring and summer of 2015. The days were hot but not scorching and the nights reasonably cool, even if the average temperature was a bit hotter than usual. The grapes matured well and picking began on September 4. It was dry throughout the harvest and the morning humidity was low. Yield was lower than typical but concentration was very good because the summer drought resulted in less juice in the grapes and they more naturally achieved the desired alcohol level.
On your table…
Serve it with loin of venison in a light cream cherry sauce. The meat provides richness without lots of fat and the sauce offers body and acidity to balance the tannins in the wine. Serve at cellar temperature.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
A true family affair, Armelle, Bernard and their daughters, Nelly, Melissa and Alice and her husband Louis, manage 7.5 hectares of vines producing 35,000 bottles of 14 wines across 8 appellations, including some of the most coveted ground in the Côte de Nuits. Five generations of this Rion family have been making wine since the late 19th century.
The Rions farm their mostly old-vine plots lutte-raisonnée (mostly natural and non-interventionist but within reason based on what nature dictates). Everything is done by hand, they destem completely, ferment 2-weeks in concrete tanks and age in a mix of old and new oak barrels.
Their wines are remarkably elegant and finessed while remaining true to the terroir of the different vineyards. While they do not display overt power, they do not want for structure and fortitude and are certainly age-worthy. They are heavenly with the truffles they forage with their 3 dogs.