Domain Hubert Lamy

Burgundy has been home to many winemakers for centuries. Romans and Celts can be found in history and in the age 900 to 1800 monks, who provided the Burgundian vineyards with ramparts. These monks further develop the concept of "terroir" to define vineyards based on individual characteristics that lead to differences in quality. In addition, they wall many vineyards to create micro-climates that protect the wines and promote quality. We still benefit from the knowledge of these monks today.

More than 2 millennia of tradition alongside innovation, provide numerous cultivation methods to get the best out of the soil. This is also the case with the method of planting that winemaker Olivier Lamy rescued from oblivion in the early 2000s: the planting of vines very close together ('haute densité'). According to Olivier, this technique was common in Burgundy until the plague of phylloxera puts an end to it in the 19th century.

The Lamy family
There are records showing that the Lamy family has been growing wine in Saint-Aubin since 1640. However, the Domaine Hubert Lamy label was only founded in 1973 by Olivier's father, Hubert. When Olivier takes over the domain in 1995, he has completed studies in viticulture and business sciences and gained practical experience at his father's and several other wine estates.

With the expansion of the family property, Olivier mainly plants Chardonnay in addition to Pinot Noir, the two grape varieties for which Burgundy is known. He switches to bottling of his own instead of selling the grapes to négociants. Harvesting is done manually, fertilization has been completely organic for years and Olivier minimizes the use of sulphite.

The reintroduction of the dense planting is done with great conviction by the Lamy family. The density of the vines is now around 30,000 per hectare, three times as much as the usual 10,000 - 12,000 in the region. The method ensures that the plants have to root deeply in order to obtain sufficient water and food. As a result, the plant passes through more layers of the earth and absorbs more flavors from the soil. Compared to other planting techniques, the vine gives small grapes, but with a rich taste.

Those fortunate enough to taste Lamy's wines invariably describe the wine as one of the most wonderful in the world. Yet Lamy is currently the most famous in Burgundy for wine cultivation in this way. The most famous and scarce wine from Lamy is without a doubt the Criots Bâtard-Montrachet 'Haute Densité'. William Kelly of The Wine Advocate on the 2019 vintage:

“Revisited in bottle, Lamy's 2019 Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru Haute Densité has turned out even better than I predicted. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of orange oil, pear, freshly baked bread, beeswax, dried white flowers and stone fruit pits, this profound white Burgundy is full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, with prodigious reserves of concentration and chalky structuring extract, racy acids and a long, resonant finish. Seamless and complete, this is a monument in the making.”

“Last year, I wrote that I ran the risk of exhausting superlatives if I attempt to articulate just how much I admire these wines, and this year is no different.”

To be found at this September auction
Most of the domain's wine comes from Saint-Aubin, but Olivier also has vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet, Santenay and a small plot in the Grand Cu Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet.

This September auction we are auctioning a wonderful selection of Criots Bâtard-Montrachet 'Haute Densité' from the years 2015 (lots 1882 and 1883), 2019 (1884 and 1889) and 2020 (lot 1890). The vintages 2019 and 2020 even in the extremely rare original wooden box.

Also available are several vintages of the fantastic Saint-Aubin 'Derriere Chez Edouard Haute Densité' (lots 1875 to 1880, 1885 and 1886). The selection of Haute Densité is completed by the cuvées Puligny Montrachet 'les Tremblots Haute Densité' (lots 1881, 1887, 1888).

Where Olivier Lamy has started with the successful reintroduction of the dense planting technique, it remains to be seen how many winegrowers will follow him. The method seems so simple, but it is not. It is labour-intensive and not applicable everywhere. One thing is certain: Olivier Lamy's wines have already claimed their prominent place in the rich history of Burgundy.


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