From Our Cellar

Armelle et Bernard Rion Nuits-Saint Georges 1er Cru Les Damodes 2016

Pinot Noir
Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion

More Wines from Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion


Our tasting impressions

A huge, gorgeous nose, the palate has incredible delicacy yet underlying power. The fruit is propped up by spicy and earthy notes so typical of Nuits.  Manageable now with a long decant but best after 10 years. Everything you want and expect in a fine 1er Cru!


About this wine

Les Damodes might refer to the Druidesses who inhabited the area or the feminine trinity presiding over the good of the earth.


The east-facing, sloping Pinot Noir vineyard planted in limestone 40 years ago, borders Vosne-Romanée. Full berries are fermented in cement tanks for about 2 weeks.  The wine ages 15 months in oak barrels - 60% 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

Spring 2016 was wet & wild with unexpected cold fronts and heavy frosts at the end of April. Summer was pleasant and dry so while yields were extremely low, quality was high, though with significant variance among vineyards. The harvest began on September 24.


On your table

Burgundy is great with game birds earthy flavors and this young 1er Cru can handle plenty of fat. We’re thinking duck or goose with buckwheat groats and mushrooms then cap off with a stinky, French cow’s milk cheese. 

Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion

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.