Domaine Nicole Lamarche

Back on Top: Free Spirited Vosne Romanée from a Domaine Reborn

The rapid, Lazarus-like rebirth of this Domaine seems to have caught some quarters of the French cognoscenti by complete surprise. In fact, it was the English-speaking commentators like Allen Meadows, Jasper Morris, Jancis Robinson MW and Clive Coates MW that were the first to pick up the scent. This is a tale of Domaine François Lamarche (now Domaine Nicole Lamarche), an Estate that has, without doubt, one of the finest collections of vineyards in the entire Côte or, more specifically, Vosne Romanée/Echézeaux.

After a long period of underperformance, the Domaine has managed to turn its fortunes around and is today producing wines that honour the lofty expectations of its holdings. To be specific about these holdings, Domaine Nicole Lamarche are sole owners of La Grande Rue—one of the four, legendary Grand Cru monopoles of Vosne-Romanée—as well as holding choice parcels of Echézeaux, Grands Echézeaux, Clos de Vougeot, Suchots, Chaumes and Malconsorts! Terroir was never a problem here!

“Nicole has that “touch” of harnessing the essence of Pinot Noir, letting the wines articulate their terroir with seemingly effortless ease, a sense of transparency that is wondrous to behold.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

The upturn in quality has been the result of a gradual series of key changes, the most significant of which has been the emergence and ensuing influence of the Domaine’s sixth generation, Nicole Lamarche, who now controls every aspect of the Domaine’s operations.

Since 2007, the vineyards have been managed under a strict organic regime, with some biodynamic influences as well, and La Grande Rue is ploughed by horse. Yields have been significantly lowered and the overall vineyard management is now of the very highest standard. In the cellar, the winemaking is all about delicacy and finesse (not something that could have been said of the wines prior to recent times), with very gentle handling and minimal extraction designed to showcase the style of filigree elegance that Nicole Lamarche believes is the ultimate reflection of Vosne’s terroir.

To this end, a gravity-fed cuverie was completed in 2010, including a much-needed upgrade of equipment and new cooling apparatus. With each year, the use of new oak continues to diminish; currently, the Premier Crus are matured in 20-30% new barrels, rising only to 30-40% for the Grand Crus. Lamarche is also working with low-impact Stockinger oak and from 2020 has been trialling amphora. As of the 2018 vintage the Domaine has been renamed Domaine Nicole Lamarche. This justly reflects the impact of an avant-garde grower, who has steered her family Domaine back to Vosne’s top table.

The Range

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“I’m sorta kinda lovin’ what’s going on at François Lamarche at the moment… Nowadays, they are fashioning just the kind of Pinot Noir that I adore: unforced, natural, elegant and very terroir expressive.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate 

“Lamarche is now a top domaine, with wines which express themselves through their subtlety rather than their power. Since 1999, and more especially since 2005, the quality has been top-notch. This is now a three star domaine.” Clive Coates MW, My Favourite Burgundies

“Nicole [Lamarche] has established her own style in terms of winemaking. That style has always been about elegance and a natural sense of finesse, rather that overt power or deep colours.” Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy (Second Edition)

Country

France

Primary Region

Côte de Nuits

People

Winemaker: Nicole Lamarche

Availability

National

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