Michel Dietrich and his wife Isabelle hail from Alsace and Champagne, respectively. Shy but enormously generous and kind, I am frequently fortunate to spend an entire weekend with the couple in Bordeaux enjoying their amazing hospitality.
An estate of 80 hectares, Haut Rian (originally named “Haut-Rions” in honor of their town – but the Bordeaux AOC put the kibosh on that – too close to a famous first growth that shall go un-named!) sweeps up the bluffs from the appellation Premières Côtes de Bordeaux inland to Entre-Deux Mers, even touching into Cadillac.
Michel studied winemaking in Burgundy and Bordeaux before the couple left to spend several years between 1981 and 1987 broadening their horizons in Australia, where Michel worked as director and oenologist for Rémy Martin Vineyards, before returning to France to purchase Château Haut Rian in 1988. Vineyards are all south to southeast, in general with gravelly limestone soils, but the concept of a multitude of parcels, in different hamlets all with different characteristics of soil types and expositions is central to the philosophy of producing the best possible wine in any given vintage.