“I must say I benefit from the hard work my parents did…” says Pauline Lapierre. Michel and Isabelle Dietrich focused on quality, lowering the yields and spending time to analyze the best soil and parcels for each grape variety. Almost four decades later, the results are showing and the reds keep getting better and better.
This is exactly what Pure Gourmandise is the result of. It is a 100% Merlot from a plot called les Bouens. This is one of the most beautiful plots of the estate with very high quality clay topping a thick substrate of chalk. Merlot is difficult to work with (the leaves and branches are growing “down” instead of growing up), and it was planted in 2015. In 2021, the conversion to organic will be completed and the results are impressive. Pauline felt confident that this allowed her to make a clean and joyful “no added sulfur” red. The plot is less than a five-minute drive to the cellar, which is ideal for a no added sulfur wine. The grapes were picked early in the morning and they were covered with a tannin powder to bring them back safely to the cellar. Pauline chose to add yeasts directly onto the grapes right when they entered the cellar, in order to secure the alcoholic fermentation and avoid any oxydation. She limited the number of pumping over to what was strictly necessary for the wine to ferment, not aiming at extracting too much, as the grapes themselves are rich enough. She filtered right after the malolactic fermentation, and decided to leave the CO2 from the fermentation to protect the wine during the mid-December bottling. The wine is rich yet delicate, with fresh fruits and structure. 14% alcohol. 5000 bottles produced.
2021 vintage : often compared to a vintage from the last century, it provides a fresh expression with a more “Atlantic” style, elegant and refined, with a vibrant bouquet.
2022 vintage : a warm vintage that resulted in wines with both richness and depth of character, concentrated fruit and fine aromatics.
About the Producer
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.