Tasted in Vosne-Romanée with Nicole Lamarche on 22 June 2021.
Since the 1st of July last year the labels from this domaine have changed to Nicole, instead of François, Lamarche. The website is unchanged since about 2016, then there’s the rampant speculation – in Vosne-Romanée anyway – about the breakup of the domaine with the two cousins, Nicole and Nathalie, going their separate ways. With all that background noise it would be easy to forget, for a moment, the wines but these 2020s showed brilliantly and will be well worth your time!
Nicole on 2021:
“In 2021 we were touched by the frost but compared to many neighbours it’s not to a level that we should, or I would, complain about.”
Nicole on 2020:
“For these 2020s all the malos are now finished and I had, generally, easy fermentations – that’s not to say we didn’t have some challenges because of the small volumes in this vintage. I was trying to avoid too high alcohol and taking care not to produce ‘blockbusters’ because we had only about two-thirds of a normal harvest. What we have, is plenty of acidity and many small but attractive details to the wines. I really don’t see many similarities to 2019 – for instance, the aromas are very different. Since you last visited, I have an amphora and a Côte de Nuits Villages Blanc, otherwise, all is stable.”
Whether or not these are the last full range of wines to wear the domaine’s labels or not, they are frankly terrific – nothing short of excellent, usually great for their labels – bravo Nicole!
I asked about Nicole’s timing for the bottling: “I don’t have a fixed period for elevage – the wines will tell me when it’s the right time. Perhaps the Bourgogne will be ready not long after the harvest but for the others, we shall see.”
A medium-plus colour. Round aromas with some cherry-stone impression to accompany the clearly ripe fruit yet retaining an airy quality too. Hmm, concentration – really a vibrant cherry fruit energy in the middle, long, succulent ooh – great, great Bourgogne.
Made from a blend of 5 plots
Deeper, faintly reductive but still fresh and here floral too. A more structural wine but also with more depth to the flavour – faintly creamy from the barrel but a wine, like the Bourgogne, of uncommon purity and weight. Slowly mouth-watering, adding an accent of spicy barrel – but the wood is already so modest. Top villages.
2020 Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Chaumes
‘An austere wine every year – reminiscent of Clos de Vougeot’
No reduction here and a return of the cherry-stone character of the Bourgogne – even a small mineral vibration too. More direct, a little more structural – but meltingly, beautifully, textural – not the same depth as the Villages but also no reduction – a wider more vibrant finish here though – that’s going to be very classy wine indeed.
“It’s because it’s in a hole that it’s only a 1er cru”
Here’s a higher-toned slightly more perfumed nose – really an exuberance here. Structural again, some fat on the bones – a wine that you can almost chew, yet, never heavy – there’s a caressing style all the same yet clearly for waiting a little longer. A core of sustaining flavour, almost saline, almost chocolate – wow impressive if clearly not quite ready!
2020 Vosne-Romanée 1er Aux Malconsorts
Here’s a depth of aroma – maybe a faint reduction but nothing overt – not currently the most perfumed but certainly the most complex – almost wild. Extra mouth-filling. Extra energy. But with a long, long line of clean, pure, intense finishing flavour – like the Suchots so impressively long. At a minimum, that’s going to be an excellent wine – maybe even better than that!
Not so deep bass notes but the higher-tones hare are the most floral and attractively perfumed so far. Mineral, mobile, extra freshness – growing more intense – the energy is first class here, the merest accent of a tannic grain but with no dryness. A width of persistent finishing flavour that’s perfumed and saline but also shows a certain strictness that says ‘wait’ – bravo wine!
2020 Clos de Vougeot
Three plots, each about the same size, situated at the bottom, middle and top of the Clos.
This nose is a little narrower, more cherry-focused but also deeply aromatic. A little extra fat and depth to this concentration versus the Echézeaux. More strongly constructed – a faint creaminess that reminds of the Vosne Villages. Powerfully finishing. Not the sophistication of the Echezeaux at this stage of elevage but this is a wine of construction that should be given a little time – I think it will be excellent…
What a nose! Smaller in volume after the Clos de Vougeot but much more complex, faintly spiced, aniseed too, an impression of whole cluster perfume in this mix. Hmm – now that’s interesting – this also has a structural side and it’s more overt than that of the Clos de Vougeot – very wide – fabulously textured – a micro-grain of ripe tannin – not a hint of dryness framing this wine. Small waves of finishing flavour here that highlight the way. That will be a great bottle, just give it as long as you can. The last drops in the glass are growing and filling the glass even more.