The estate of Domaine Daniel Rion is one of the most remarkable in Burgundy. The family's holdings began with a small 5ha parcel in Vosne-Romaine in 1955. Until 1978 Rion sold his wine only to negociants, bottlers of other's wines. Since that time, the family made an enormous investment in a winery, tasting room, and storage facility. Visiting the winery, one can't help but remark on the modern look and feel of the place. The construction could easily be in Oregon or the Sonoma Coast. But, it's the cellars beneath the new winery that quickly remind the taster that this is "old world" winemaking at its best. The Rion operation is one of the most progressive in Burgundy, but they don't forget their roots--their history truly runs deep.
Today, the Rion holdings comprise 22ha in the Cotes-de-Nuits. Each of their wines, from Premier Crus to entry level Bourgogne, is marked with pinpoint aromas and flavors that come from their meticulous attention to viticulture and precision winemaking. Daniel's son Olivier is the "chef du cave" of the Domaine. His style is to let the hard work performed in the vineyard show through in the finished wines. "Minimalist" is the best way to describe the vinification techniques at the winery.
So many modern Chardonnay winemakers could take a page from Olivier's playbook. Rion opts for barrel fermentation, but only in "demi-muids"--large, neutral oak barrels that hold 2 1/2 times the amount of a regular oak barrel. The wine is aged for only a short time before bottling. Olivier prefers to bottle "fresh" and allow one year for further development in the bottle.
Les Millottes is a beautiful parcel of 2.35ha that has a uniquely high altitude for white Burgundy. An unusual south-southwest orientation, however, gives extraordinary amounts of sun, and slow, even ripening. Planted in 1989, the vineyard is a jewel in the Rion estate and the brown limestone soil imparts an almost haunting mineralic quality to its wines.
Suggested Food Pairing:
This 2005 is in perfect drinking condition now and will look great on your late summer table with a fresh piece of salmon, a golden chanterelle omelette or an "au point" piece of the local famous blue cheese from Bresse.