From £15.75, $24.99
Those of you who trawled through my tasting notes on more than 300 top red burgundies from the 2006 vintage may have been disappointed not to read more rave reviews, but there is no point in being dishonest about a vintage's showing at a particular point in its evolution, I fear. Re-reading my overview of the 2006 vintage en primeur, I see that I was very careful not to encourage people to invest heavily in it.
However, the experience of tasting 300 premiers and grands crus from the Côte d'Or blind in appropriate flights was by no means disastrous, as I pointed out in How 2006 burgundies look now. There were some very nice wines, especially in Nuits-St-Georges, which still seems to offer some of the very best value. Among the Nuits wines tasted, Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion (the latter pictured) seemed to have made some of the most toothsome, without being avaricious in their pricing policy. Although hand-made small quantities of burgundy will not be cheap in our lifetime, I fear. See the useful and informative profile of this producer on www.bbr.com.
The blind tasting in Beaune of top wines described in 2006 top red burgundies – tasting notes highlighted just how well the Rions performed with their Dom Michèle & Patrice Rion, Clos des Argillières Premier Cru 2006 Nuits-St-Georges and Dom Michèle & Patrice Rion, Clos St Marc Premier Cru 2006 Nuits-St-Georges. The former was fresh and savoury (not over-extracted like some of the less successful 2006 red burgundies) while the Clos St-Marc was even more luscious: a bit sweet and gamey but very ambitious. Strongly kirsch and lip smacking, it was above all really enticing, fresh and confident in a way that too few of these 2006s were.
The Clos des Argillières is currently £35.75 a bottle including all duty and taxes at Berry Bros in the UK and, for once, quite a bit more expensive elsewhere, in Austria, Norway and the US. A similar pattern emerges for the Clos St-Marc, which is £41.50 chez Berry but much more in other countries.
But you don't have to spend this amount to enjoy the Patrice Rion sure hand with a vintage that was so easy to overdo. Their most basic Dom Michèle & Patrice Rion, Les Bons Bâtons 2006 Bourgogne Rouge is a fine, lively (not intense) wine for enjoying any time over the next two or three years at £15.75 a bottle including all duty and taxes from UK importers Berry Bros. It is full of pure Pinot Noir fruit with the unmistakable dry savour of a Côte de Nuits red.
Please note that wines made from grapes grown by the Rions themselves are labelled Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion (not Patrice & Michèle as is so often written) while those made from bought-in fruit are labelled simply Patrice Rion, without the 'Domaine'.
Burgundy is a wonderful thing when it's good – and so amazingly flexible for serving with both 'red wine food' and 'white wine food'. It's just a shame that it's so fragile and difficult to subject to generalisation. Find Patrice Rion 2006s