Domaine Patrice Rion, Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Cras”
Domaine Patrice Rion, Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Cras”

Domaine Patrice Rion, Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Cras”

Burgundy, France 2016 (750mL)
Regular price$120.00
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Domaine Patrice Rion, Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Cras”


The family-owned Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils was created in 1955 with only two hectares in the village of Vosne-Romanée. When Daniel’s children joined the business, one in particular took the most interest: Patrice. As author and Master of Wine Clive Coates noted in his seminal book, “Côte d’Or,” it was Patrice who, at the age of 17, “...decided to put up a notice outside the winery and start selling bottles to passing tourists. In 1973, this was rare in Burgundy.” Starting in the ’80s, Patrice became the winemaker and public face of their domaine. At the turn of the millennium, he and his wife left to expand Domaine Michèle et Patrice Rion—an estate Patrice had originally created in 1990. Since then, his new venture has slowly acquired Premier Cru parcels and widespread acclaim in the press and among sommeliers has followed. 

“Les Cras” is one of few Vougeot climats (vineyard sites) classified as Premier Cru. It is situated on the northern edge of the sprawling Grand Cru “Clos de Vougeot” and lies just downhill from Chambolle’s fabled Grand Cru “Musigny” and even closer to Premier Cru “Les Amoureuses.” Limestone and clay are dominant here with some chalk presence—hence the word “Cras,” which refers to these calcareous soils. His vines for today’s Vougeot are averaging nearly 50 years of age and his yields are incredibly low—more so than many of the Grand Crus that surround him. Though uncertified, Patrice follows strict organic practices in the vineyard. Grapes are carefully hand picked and sorted in the winery before fermenting in open-top stainless steel tanks. After three weeks, the wine is transferred into 50% new French oak for 18 months. 

[Note: This wine should not be confused with Patrice Rion’s village-level “Les Cras,” which comes from the upper part of the vineyard. Seeing as it bleeds into Chambolle-Musigny, it is labeled as such.]

In the glass, Patrice Rion’s 2016 “Les Cras” reveals a concentrated dark ruby core moving out to a soft ruby-pink rim. Though not as lush and dense as their 2015, everyone here at SommSelect unquestionably thought it was a truer expression of classic Burgundy. Do you want brilliant tension and polish that is underscored with rugged earth and mineral savor? This is it. Finely crushed rocks, damp earth, fresh herbs—it’s all here in spades, but what really shocks is the core of refined fruits at play: black cherry, huckleberry, and plum aromas leap from the glass, followed by rose, violets, cloves, and all sorts of expressive forest flora. The palate is firm and shows impressive concentration that recalls many fine Clos Vougeot labels. Crunchy minerality and supple fruits are accompanied by a firm tannic grip that softens after an hour in a decanter. Ideally, however, you should pull the cork and allow the wine to rest 3-4 hours prior to consumption in large Burgundy stems around 60 degrees. Expect it to age gracefully over the next decade, while realizing it’s true drinking window should arrive around its fifth birthday. If you’re feeling adventurous, prepare the attached venison backstrap recipe. In my opinion, the final vintage of an outstanding label deserves the time and effort. Cheers!
Domaine Patrice Rion, Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Cras”
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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