1945 Domaine Henri Lamarche Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru


The reputation of a Burgundy domaine swings with the caliber of its wines. Certainly, under present winemaker Nicole Lamarche, the Lamarche wines are much more consistent and higher in quality than they were between the Seventies and Nineties when it is said that the aging Henri Lamarche spent insufficient time tending to his vines. Commentators perhaps meted out more criticism towards the domaine as they owned the monopole of La Grande Rue, predestined to be compared to its neighbor, Romanée-Conti. How could they preside over such an enviable portfolio and their wines so frequently be pale imitations of their peers?

This was not always the case. Wines from the postwar period until around the Sixties are supposedly much better, though you would be lucky to chance upon one of those nowadays. But as luck would have it, one bottle did appear at a private dinner with a friend in Beaune. That night was bejeweled with big-hitting names and, on paper, grander bottles. Yet none of them made an impression like this 1945. The memory of this bottle continues to glisten. It must have been made in Henri Lamarche’s formative years as a winemaker – alas, I could not find out exactly when he took over.

The 1945 Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 1er Cru has a clear core with moderate bricking around its rim. The bouquet is entrancing. There is no unfolding from the glass. Instead, it bursts forth with exquisitely defined scents of terracotta, red fruit, black truffle shavings and just a faint touch of chlorophyll. It is utterly profound. Could the palate match up to the startling aromatics? You bet. The palate is armed with haunting complexity, perfect balance and perfect acidity. The tannins have a very slight, grainy texture initially, yet the wine becomes silky-smooth as it fans out with hints of smoke, Provençal herbs, pressed flowers and sandalwood. There is a pixelated quality to this Vosne-Romanée that is undimmed, even after several decades. Bottles like this remind us why so many are so obsessed with Burgundy. Magical. 98/2023-2033.

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