Domaine Lamarche produces 14 different wines, including la Grande Rue, a monopole of the estate and one of the rare grands crus of Vosne-Romanée. The vineyards lie half way between Dijon, between the Clos de Vougeot and Nuits Saint Georges, Vosne-Romanée.
From a 'geological' point of view, the grands crus lie on oolite in ferruginous limestone soils - with stony, rocky or clay-marl subsoil - which give full-bodied, well-structured wines, deep in colour and with greater ageing capacity. The Vosne-Romanée AOC vineyards are planted on deeper, clay-limestone soils and produce lighter wines, with more subtle aromas, and which develop more quickly.
Domaine Lamarche, which now covers a total surface area of nearly 28 acres, is a family firm, whose origin goes back several generations. Ancestors of the Lamarche family were already established in the village of Vosne-Romanée in around 1740. Since the end of the 19th century (for five generations), the estate has grown bigger over the years: Henri Lamarche founded the estate at the beginning of the 20th century. Their son, Henri Lamarche, born in 1903, took over the estate. He inherited la Grande Rue in 1933, the year of his marriage to Aline Demur (la Grande Rue would become a grand cru in 1992).
The Domaine has been evolving with the arrival of the new generation of cousins Nathalie and Nicole, taking over from François Lamarche, aided by wife Marie-Blanche and sister Geneviève.François is the grandson of the original Henri Lamarche and son of the second Henri Lamarche who received La Grande Rue as a wedding present.
As well as more meticulous work in the vineyards, better barrel selection and a new cuverie (since 2000) have combined to make this a more consistent domaine. I have had spectacular bottles from Lamarche, but there have certainly been some failures too. Perhaps the new generation will confirm a regular place for Domaine Lamarche at the top table.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.