Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair is back as a producer of Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts after 89 years of absence.
The estate will expand in 2022, with 2.65 hectares of new plots in prominent vineyards, including its first plots in Grands Echezeaux, Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts, La Croix Rameau, and Aux Reas. Furthermore, it is adding to its existing plots in Clos de Vougeot, Echezeaux, and Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots.
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair gets the opportunity to take over these exciting new vineyards because Nathalie Pacareau (Lamarche), previously of Domaine Lamarche, has decided to create a partnership for her vines with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair on a long-term contract.
The historic background
“Grandson of Count Louis-Charles, the Count Henri Liger-Belair, elder of the family and great-grandfather of Louis-Michel, died in 1924, leaving a widow and 10 children at the head of 24 hectares (59.3053 acres) of vines and Château de Vosne-Romanée.
Everything continued until his wife’s death in 1931. The ten children were still there but two were minors. The law of that time required that all children reach legal adulthood to deal with the inheritance, failing which the estate must be sold. In our case, three family members did not wish to wait for the majority of the 2 minors, and therefore imposed the sale of the whole wine property.
It was a sad day on August 31st, 1933 at the Town hall of Vosne-Romanée when all the vines were sold by judicial auction. The children thus witnessed the departure from their heritage of La Tâche, les Malconsorts, les Brûlées… Two of the children, Just, a priest, and his brother, Count Michel, grandfather of Louis-Michel, joined together to buy back La Romanée, les Reignots and les Chaumes, whose management was then entrusted to local winegrowers”1.
Until this day in August 1933 Comte Liger-Belair had owned a large part of Malconsorts, in the northern end of the vineyard.
Now Liger-Belair have the chance to reclaim the Aux Malconsort. The new plots of Aux Malconsort are located in the southern end of the vineyard which represents a very interesting return for the domaine after almost 90 years.
Liger-Belair’s Malconsorts consists of two parcels totalling just short of half a hectare. The first vintage will be 2022, and the conversion to biodynamic viticulture has already begun.
The Lamarche ownership of Malconsorts (early 1900s to 2021)
Domaine Lamarche is one of the older Vosne estates. According to Clive Coates2, the first generation of the Lamarche family in Vosne-Romanée was Jean-Constant Lamarche, who came from Sombernon in the Hautes Côtes in 1835. He married a local girl, who brought vineyards with her into the marriage.
The couple had a son, Henri Lamarche (I), in 1871. He married Marie Grivelet from the Grivelet family in Chambolle, thus gaining additional vineyards. Marie Grivelet was a half-cousin to Fernand Grivelet and she, therefore, brought vineyards often adjacent to the Grivelet plots.
The Lamarche couple also had a son, Henri Lamarche (II), who was born in 1903 and was one of the first in Vosne-Romanée to sell wine in bottles to the restaurant trade, alongside DRC and the Gros family. On the side, he was also cellarmaster for the Marey-Monge estate, which owned a large part of the Romanée Saint-Vivant vineyard at the time.
Henri Lamarche (II) further expanded the family estate. When he married Jeanne Demur in 1933, his uncle Edouard Lamarche gave him La Grande Rue as a wedding present. Edouard Lamarche had just bought the vineyard from General Denys de Champeaux, who was related to and a business partner of the Liger-Belair family.
Henri Lamarche (II) had three children; the eldest was Elizabeth, who married Joseph Moissenet. These two inherited the family’s vineyard holdings in Pommard, which came originally from the Demur family. Elizabeth’s two younger siblings – Francois Lamarche, born in 1944; and Geneviève Lamarche, born in 1949 – took over the estate in Vosne-Romanée. Francois retired in 2007 and left the winemaking to his daughter Nicole. After Francois Lamarche passed away in an accident in 2013, Nicole Lamarche took over the running of the family estate with her cousin.
Natalie Lamarche – Geneviève’s daughter and Nicole’s cousin – has been in charge of the market side at the domaine. But last year (2021), she decided to leave the estate, taking her share of the vineyards with her. These have now been joined with the Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair vineyards
The Malconsorts of Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts is a fast-rising star among the town’s 1ers crus. The fame and fortune of this vineyard are rather closely related to Domaine Cathiard’s magnificent version, as well as the arrival of two new producers in 2005: Domaine Dujac and Domaine de Montille.
But with Liger-Belair entering the game, the bar has been raised a notch. One would expect that Louis-Michel Liger-Belair will give Cathiard and de Montille a run for the top spot in this vineyard.
The ownership of Aux Malconsorts is seen on the map below. The two new Domaine Liger-Belair plots (5) are located at the southern end of the vineyard.
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