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February 25, 2020

Domaine François Lamarche La Grande Rue Grand Cru 2018 & Bourgogne Rouge 2018

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We are thrilled to be able to offer our inaugural release of the stunning Domaine Lamarche. This Burgundian powerhouse needs little introduction, other than to state it is among the finest in the Cote d’Or. Domaine Lamarche are most famed for La Grande Rue, which they own exclusively, hence the French designation Monopole. It is one of the finest Grand Cru Vineyards in Vosne Romanee, where Domaine Lamarche ply their savoir-faire among the finest terroir in the village.

Today we can offer two of their must own wines of the vintage. The first is Domaine Francois Lamarche, Bourgogne Rouge, which must be considered among the best in class. In 2018 it has been awarded the same score as their Vosne-Romanee Village, 86-88 points from Neal Martin of Vinous Media, who says ‘it offers light red cherry and crushed strawberry scents that just need a little more intensity. The palate is well balanced with fleshy ripe red berries, well-judged acidity and a lilting finish that is just delicious.’ It is priced today on release at £90 per case of six in bond, a marvellous offering for £15 a bottle. This is a superb buy for any Burgundy lover that can be delivered later this year and enjoyed for another five years, though it still requires a decant, given its buried depth and complexity.
The second wine is Domaine Francois Lamarche, La Grande Rue Grand Cru, one of the highest prized allocations in Burgundy. In 2018, it has been awarded 93-95 from Martin, who rightly proclaims ‘It has a well-defined bouquet of dark cherries, raspberry, wild hedgerow and traces of Chinese tea, developing tertiary notes after a couple of minutes in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, a satin-like texture and just the right amount of acidity. The caressing, slightly gourmand finish displays hints of meat juices and a subtle savory aspect lends complexity. Very fine.’ La Grand Rue’s location explains it magnificence. It is nestled in the most prime real estate in the world of wine. It is a narrow strip that separates Romanee Conti from La Tache, running an the east-west direction, following DRC’s sanctified estates seriatim. As can be seen from the graphic below, it also nestles with La Romanee and touches Romanee St.Vivant at its bottom tip. It occupies 1.65 hectares in total and touches more great vineyards than any other in the world. We can offer it today for £1,425 per case of three. Only 650 cases were made and it is highly allocated. It will sell out many times over and preference will be given to balanced orders with the Bourgogne, which wise money would gravitate towards in any case.

Though of course embodying much of the profile of La Tache, La Grand Rue leans toward a more feminine, rather than powerful silhouette, more delicate than La Tache. It is famed for gentle, elegant tannin, florally abundant, with violet a giveaway scent, with nuanced raspberry and blackcurants. It speaks of dimension and finesse, providing wild game notes with age. Such a complex overlay of flavour makes it a pillar in the pantheon of Burgundies great Grand Crus.

The Lamarche family were already an established Domaine in Vosne-Romanee in the 1740s. In the 19th century it expanded further and when Henri Lamarche, a cooper, married Marie Givelet from Chambolle-Musigny, the Domaine was established. By the 20th century they were already producing, maturing and selling the wines directly from the Estate. Their son Henri Lamarche took over the Estate and in 1933 he and his wife Aline Demur were gifted La Grand Rue as a wedding present. La Grand Rue had been owned since 1876 by the Liger-Belair family, who sold it in auction, allowing it to be gifted to the happy couple. This hallowed vineyard would become the INAO in 1989. Henri and Aline would have four children, including Francois and Geneviève. When Vosne Romanee was classified in the 1930s, Henri Lamarche did not apply for Grand Cru status. It remained 1er Cru with the family believing there was nothing to be gained, only increased taxes. In 1985 Francois Lamarche succeeded in having it upgraded on account of it having the same soil band as La Tache and Romanee Conti. The promotion did not come into effect until 1992 and set retroactively to the 1991 vintage.

Francois took over the Estate when Henri died in 1985 and today Francois Lamarche and his wife Marie-Blanche take care of the winemaking, along with Nicole their daughter who has taken over the viticultural mantel, under the tutelage of her father. Genevieve and her daughter Nathalie run accounts and sales: a quintessential family affair.

The family work tirelessly in the vineyard and in the winery. Their philosophy is that of finesse over tannin, power taking second stage to charm and elegance. The wines rarely reach 13 percent alcohol. Under Nicole they now employ a longer cold maceration and fermentation, the latter taking place in wooden cuvees, at around 28° for 12-15 days. The wines are aged for 18-20 months in casks and are only racked if reductive flavours ensure. They are bottled without fining or filtration.

Their stock has never been higher and will continue to rise. The buds of a new generation have flowered in Nicole, who practices organic viticulture, which making the vines more resilient. She also routinely retains up to a third whole bunches across the vintage range. New oak is kept balanced, increasing up to 50% for their masterpiece La Grand Rue.