In 1988, Michel and Isabelle Dietrich bought Château Haut-Rian, after living for 6 years in Clare Valley, Australia. Michel was the manager and head winemaker at Château Remy. Both of them come from winemaking families: Michel grew up in Kaysersberg, Alsace, and his wife Isabelle in the Montagne de Reims area in Champagne. Michel earned his viticulture and oenology degrees at the Collège de Beaune and the University of Bordeaux. Their daughter Pauline Lapierre joined them in 2017. She is proud of being Bordelaise and wants to promote her Bordeaux identity.

Their property is located 18 miles southeast of the city of Bordeaux, in the tiny village of Rions. The vineyards spread over 85 hectares encompassing parts of Premières Côtes de Bordeaux and Entre-Deux-Mers, bordering the village of Cadillac and near the Garonne River, ”where the vines can see the water but won’t get their feet wet.” 20 hectares are in the village of Soulignac, where the main plots for white grapes (Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, some of them planted before 1960, and used for selection massale) can be found, as the terroir is cooler than in Rions (12km away). The climate there is warmer than the maritime Médoc, but also drier. All of the vineyards are on gentle slopes facing south and southeast, and the topsoil consists of loose pebbles over limestone.

Farming/vinification practices: every plot is in organic conversion – they will be fully certified in 2025. They began conversion in 2018, parcel by parcel, and are now farming every parcel organically. Some wines are already certified, e.g. the 2022 Pure Gourmandise.

Pauline is using lower sulfites and decreasing the amount with every vintage – right now they’re at about 80ppm (organic maximum is 150 for white and 100 for red, non-organic maximum is 200 for white and 150 for red)

Château Haut Rian
Chloë, reporting from Rions – part 1
Chloë, reporting from Rions – part 2
Chloë, reporting from Rions – part 3
Chloë, reporting from Rions – part 4

90+ year old Sémillon vines – Minou, handsome winery host – grasshopper cooling off in a vine.

Pauline Lapierre

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