Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges “Dame Marguerite”
Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges “Dame Marguerite”

Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges “Dame Marguerite”

Burgundy, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$75.00
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Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges “Dame Marguerite”

Any longtime Burgundy drinker knows that it’s a heartbreak region. Though responsible for perhaps the most transcendent wine experiences one can have, intrinsic deliciousness isn’t always the place’s strong suit. More times than anyone would care to admit, that $75+ bottle just doesn’t live up to the hype or price, with the routine copout being: “It’s too young.” You can throw that excuse right out the door in the 2019 vintage. This warm, highly praised year delivered instant liquid pleasure in the glass, and I can think of few examples greater than Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion’s “Dame Marguerite.”

Theirs is a full-throttle yet pedigreed red Burgundy that promises to over-deliver every single time you pop the cork, be it right now or in five years. So please do ignore outdated notions that Nuits-Saint-Georges is the “meh” village of the Côte de Nuits; this drinks like a sublime mashup of Vosne-Romanée and Chambolle-Musigny. In other words, a pure, hedonistic injection of Pinot Noir loaded with lush fruit cut through with exhilarating tension. My opinion? A cellar can never have enough of today’s deliciously bankable gem! It’ll make you weak in the knees, guaranteed! 

The Rion estate is one of those hidden gems that Burgundy is still full of: family-run and little-known outside the region with a stable of vineyard holdings that would make any vigneron seethe with envy (they have a robust truffle-hunting operation, too!). Founded in 1896, it’s now headed by the fifth-generation operators Alice and Nelly Rion. They work under the watchful eye of their parents, Bernard and Armelle, who pushed the family domaine toward quality winemaking in the late 20th century.

The Rions farm a frankly ridiculous vineyard lineup, with everything from humble Aligotè to Premier Crus in Chambolle and Vosne to a slice of Grand Cru Clos du Vougeot. In the vineyard, they’ve eschewed all herbicides/insecticides, employ only organic fertilizers, and perform minimal tillage, which all combine for old vines that plunge their roots deep into the golden slope. Their N-S-G “Dame Marguerite,” though “just” a village wine, carries significant pedigree. It hails entirely from 50+-year-old vines, spread across four small parcels totaling 1.1 hectares at the very northern end of the village. All the parcels are a stone’s throw from Vosne-Romanée, which perhaps accounts for the impeccable breed and velvety polish on display here.

Polish and perfume are the names of the game with “Dame Marguerite.” Entirely de-stemmed, naturally fermented with whole berries for two weeks, and aged 15 months in 45% new oak, it exudes class and luxury. It pours a deep ruby with hints of magenta before bursting out of the glass with ripe black cherry, raspberry compote, juicy blackberry, rose petals, dried violets, forest floor, gunflint earth, and warm cinnamon and nutmeg spices. The palate is medium-bodied and caressing with a fine coating of tannin before a soft jolt of acidity brings it to a refreshing close. There’s no doubt it has the stuffing to go years in your cellar, but it’s one of those bottles that’ll be genuinely difficult to keep your hands off of, so stuffed to the gills is it with plush Pinot Noir joy. I struggle to think of a more enjoyable way to spend an autumnal evening than a bottle of “Dame Marguerite” alongside some duck breast and mushrooms. Just be sure to grab enough that you can do it for many autumns to come!

Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion, Nuits-Saint-Georges “Dame Marguerite”




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 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, 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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