My second visit at Domaine Lamarche – and eager to see if the 2016s could match the fine wines made here in the 2015 vintage.
I was impressed by the 2015s, as I historically have found wines from this estate somewhat underwhelming, but in recent years new generations and new standards have been taking over .. and this is one of the quite many estates in Vosne-Romanée that are moving forward to produce better and better wines – rivalling some of the older top end estates.
Nicole Lamarche has certainly set a standard and a new style – and she is doing a very fine job I must say. And I’m happy to say, that she continues to impress in the 2016 vintage where the style and quality of the 2015 wines has been maintained – although in a 2016 setting – i.e. a cooler and more classic vintage.
As always the question 2016 vs 2015 is on the agenda – but let me be frank, no big surprises here – it’s a mixed picture, and a retasting of a few of the 2015s confirmed the very fine quality of the 2015 wines, and underlined that the freshness of the 2015s perhaps is even better than predicted when I tasted this vintage in January 2017.
For further background on Domaine Lamarche please check my coverage of the 2015 vintage .. here.
Lost is Vosne!!
I do know Vosne-Romanée quite well, but as mentioned I only visited Domaine Lamarche once before in January 2017.
It was a quite cool November morning – a bit stressed by some hassle with an article I arrived to Vosne and parked the rental on the square in front of the Town Hall … I rushed to the Lamarche estate .. and found the gate closed! As with many estates in Vosne – They are quite discrete I thought! Not even a sign at the gate – and even worse … seemingly no door bell in sight.
While it takes more than a large iron gate to stop a Winehog on the quest for great wines, I hessitated for a moment and thought … This is rather strange! … Before I run down the gate, better give Lamarche a call, just to see if they have missed my appointment – which actually would be very surprising – as this estate seems to run like a Swiss clockwork these days.
Nicole answered .. and sounded rather surprised (no wonder) .. and replied – No the gate is open and I am awaiting you!
Seconds later – and five minutes late I arrived at Domaine Lamarche … further down Rue des Communes …
Lesson – do not stress when you are on a tasting tours in Burgundy – one should take and have the time to enjoy the relaxed and calm atmosphere of the region …
With this gate crashing moment – to the tasting notes.
Tasting notes from November 7th 2017
Domaine Lamarche was quite badly hit by the frost – they lost 40 – 50% in total – with the northern vineyards taking the big hit – Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux severely damaged and Clos de Vogeot and Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots also touched by the April frost.
The low yields leads to more concentrated wines – and with the ambition to make refined and elegant wines – Nicole Lamarche decided to abandon the use of new oak in the 2016 vintage – using only older barrels. This was done to keep the transparent, refined and fruity style of the vintage – and not add to the concentration by introducing new oak.
This is a quite bold decision by Nicole, but tasting the wines one did not miss the impression of new oak a bit. To be honest the talk about the percentage of new oak is sometimes also exaggerated, as even one wine old barrels can give a quite strong impression of oak.
The 2016s are like the 2015s elegant and quite light-footed wines – meaning focus on refinement and delicacy rather than brute power. The 2015s were rich, weighty and generous, while the 2016s are cool yet intense and concentrated due to low yields – at least this is the case for most of the appellations as not only the frost reduced the yields – the mildew in the first part of the growing season also took it’s share.
The overall style has been maintained – yet the individual character of the two vintages is very much present in the wines.
Domaine Lamarche, Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Nuits 2016
The Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Nuits – first wine in the lineup this time. The nose is revealing pure and quite cool fruit – cherries – quite forward and with a nice mineral touch. On the palate light-footed with a lovely refined feel for this level.
(Drink From 2018) – Good (86-87p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Vosne Romanée 2016
The Vosne-Romanée 2016 is quite a step up in intensity. Some reduction currently – hiding the nuances of the bouquet – but cool red berries is lurking underneath the reduced notes. On the palate fine fruit – delicate and with a lovely detail and intensity. The acidity is energetic providing a nice balance. A very good village in the making.
(Drink From 2025) – Very Good (88 – 89p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Vosne Romanée Les Chaumes 2016
A further step up in intensity and fruit. Les Chaumes is a charming effort offering plenty of fruit – on the nose ripe and cool berries with a nice mineral impression. On the palate a nice generosity on the mid-palate – quite delicate and refined offering a nice slightly silky feel – most likely accentuated by the around 25% whole cluster grapes used. A charming Les Chaumes.
(Drink From 2026) – Fine (90 – 92p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Vosne Romanée Les Suchots 2016
Les Suchots was touched by the April 2016 frost – and especially the low middle area of the lower part of this vineyard was hit – hence lower yields and a somewhat elevated intensity and concentration. This is the case with the Lamarche Les Suchots. The intensity in the nose and on the palate is fine – offering a more tightly knit fruit and more weight – a bit compact currently – but I’m sure it will unfold beautifully.
(Drink From 2027) – Fine+ (92 – 93p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Vosne Romanée La Croix Rameau 2016
La Croix Rameau is a rather unknown terroir – but it seems like Nicole Lamarche is on the right track to restore the reputation of this small 1er cru located in the corner of the mighty Romanée Saint-Vivant vineyard. The nose offer detailed red fruit – quite spicy and forward. On the palate very fine intensity – perhaps even more concentration than the Les Suchots – and a lovely minerality to match. On par with Les Suchots in my view.
(Drink From 2027) – Fine+ (92 – 93p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamache, Vosne Romanée Les Malconsorts 2016
The is a significant step up in quality … the nose offer more depth and complexity – fine red and dark cherries, strawberries and pomegranate notes – delicate. On the palate a considerable step up in weight and intensity – without becoming powerful or masculine in it’s intensity. A very elegant Malconsort in the making.
(Drink From 2029) – Very Fine (93 – 94p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Echezeaux 2016
Echezeaux or at least part of it was hit quite badly by the frost – hence also the Lamarche plots. The nose has a lovely floral character compared to the previous wine – lovely depth to the fruit and a detailed and filigree minerality. On the palate lovely fruit intensity – low yields – with lovely balance and display of minerality. A very balanced Echezeaux … elegant and refined.
(Drink From 2029) – Very Fine+ (93 – 95p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Clos de Vougeot 2016
The 2016 vintage is a great year for Clos de Vougeot – hence also for Domaine Lamarche. The low yields due to the frost have provided plenty of stuffing to the wines – and the vibrant acidity of the vintage provided a lovely balancing freshness. The Lamarche plots in the top part of Clos de Vougeot – one in the southern corner just below Grands Echezeaux and two just below the Chateau – have produced a delightful Clos de Vougeot. The nose is brimming with red and dark fruits – fine earthy mineral notes. On the palate fine weight and intensity – not a power wine, but offering an elegant and delicate side of the Clos de Vougeot terroir.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Fine+ (93 – 95p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, Grands Echezeaux 2016
The Grands Echezeaux is even more concentrated also an area with quite heavy frost damage. The nose is crammed with intense fruit – Lamarche styled – but also quite floral and expressive. On the palate intense red all the way from the generous mid-palate to the persistent fruit and mineral driven finish. A very complete and balanced wine despite the frost damage.
(Drink From 2032) – Very Fine+ (94 – 95p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
Domaine Lamarche, La Grande Rue 2016
The Grande Rue is another step up the intensity and quality ladder. The nose is brimming with red fruit, Vosne spices and a intense and refined mineral expression of the terroir. On the palate refined and very intense mid-palate fruit, silky and vibrant – very long and with great depth and detail. An Outstanding wine – that comes just short of the 2015 version of this wine. A “1959” cuvée of La Grande Rue is also made in 2016 – but not tasted.
(Drink From 2034) – Outstanding (95 – 96p) – Tasted 07/11/2017 from cask
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