Jean Philippe and Denis Marchand at Maison Jean Philippe Marchand and Domaine Marchand Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.

heir father was tough. When Jean Philippe Marchand arrived at the family domaine he wanted to do something more than just having the wine sold off in bulk. He wanted to bottle the wine. But his father was not particularly interested. That was not how things were done at the domaine. If Jean Philippe wanted to bottle he could spend his Saturday mornings doing so. And that was exactly what Jean Philippe did. Today he and his brother runs the family domaine and a négociant business – Domaine Marchand Frères and Maison Jean Philippe Marchand. Needless to say, all is bottled today.

– I deal only with the family domaine, explains Denis Marchand. Jean Philippe has a négociant business under his own name, where he buys grapes and vinifies.

– We have three cellars, continues Jean Philippe Marchand. This one in the middle of Gevrey-Chambertin, one further down in Gevrey Chambertin and one in Morey-Saint-Denis. Where we are right now is the family domaine, where the grapes from the vineyards we own are taken care of. The other cellar here in Gevrey Chambertin is where all bought-in grapes go. We work together, but Denis mainly takes care of the family domaine, while I deal with the bought-in grapes.

Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru, Clos des Ormes.The vineyards of Domaine Marchand Frères are mainly located around Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis and Chambolle-Musigny. Originally the domaine had a Morey address, but in 1983 the parents of Jean Philippe and Denis found new premises in the middle of Gevrey-Chambertin.

– Our cellar in Morey-Saint-Denis is mainly for vinification and élevage, says Jean Philippe Marchand. Bottling is done here in Gevrey-Chambertin. A truck arrives and bottles everything. The rules are that you need to bottle at the domaine.

Domaine Marchand Frères is mainly about red wine. There is some white in the shape of Coteaux Bourguignons and Bourgogne Aligoté, but also very limited quantities of Morey-Saint-Denis, Le Très Girard, as well as Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru Les Genavrières.

Denis Marchand at Domaine Marchand Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– Four hectolitres, that’s all there is of Le Très Girard, says Denis Marchand. The vineyard is at the bottom of the village, next to the restaurant, the Castel de Très Girard. Our parcel is close to the cemetery, below Clos Sorbé. For all our whites the fermentation takes place in barrel.

The vines in Le Très Girard were planted in 2003 and Les Genavrières in 2005. You’ll find Les Genavrières mid-slope, between Monts Luisants and Les Chaffots, north of Morey-Saint-Denis.

– For the whites I focus on the fruit, says Denis Marchand. You can keep them for five-six years, but I prefer the fresh and the fruity side to these wines.

– Since the family domaine has its roots in Morey-Saint-Denis we have much premier cru land there, says Jean Philippe Marchand. There is Les Millandes, Les Faconnières and Clos des Ormes. Then there is Chambolle-Musigny, both village appellation and premier cru. In Gevrey-Chambertin there is village appellation, premier cru and grand cru.

Jean Philippe and Denis Marchand at Maison Jean Philippe Marchand and Domaine Marchand Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– The most recent acquisition is a vineyard in the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, next to the ruins of the Abbaye Saint Vivant. Close to three hectares.

Domaine Marchand Frères was certified HVE in 2019, the certification created by the French Ministry of Agriculture in 2011. HVE stands for Haute Valeur Environnementale and it does not only take into account what is done in the vineyards, but also all other environmental aspects of the domaine.

The average age of the vines at the domaine is generally quite high. Both in Charmes-Chambertin and in Chambolle-Musigny Les Sentiers the vines are more than 80 years old.

– Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Etelois is just below Griotte-Chambertin, says Denis Marchand. We are at the very end of Aux Etelois, so it is just three meters from our parcel of Griotte-Chambertin. It is very stony, very well drained. It is a Gevrey-Chambertin which is a bit more tight than the wines from the Brochon side. More refined on the palate. It is a cuvée we have been producing since 2011.

In terms of soil character the upper third of Aux Etelois is very close to Griotte-Chambertin. As you move down towards the D974 road the soil becomes deeper.

Jean Philippe Marchand at Maison Jean Philippe Marchand, Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.– In the middle of Griotte-Chambertin, where our parcel is, there is a spring called La Source de la Griotte, says Jean Philippe Marchand. You can’t have any vines planted there, because when it rains water starts flowing from the spring.

If you continue along the Route des Grands Crus towards Morey-Saint-Denis you’ll soon see Clos des Ormes and its stone portal on your left. This Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru is just across the road from Clos de la Roche.

– Our parcel in Clos des Ormes is next to Georges Lignier and David Duband, says Jean Philippe Marchand. It’s like a triangle with Clos de la Roche on one side and Charmes Chambertin on the other.

One particularity with Clos des Ormes is the fact that all rows are planted east-west, except for the ones owned by David Duband and the Marchands, which are planted north-south.

Morey-Saint-Denis premier cru, Clos des Ormes.– You have this square with the two parcels breaking the pattern. But that’s Burgundy for you, smiles Jean Philippe Marchand.

– There are five or six owners in Clos des Ormes, says Denis Marchand. But Georges Lignier probably owns three quarters of it.

The négociant business is located in an old jam factory – Duchesse de Bourgogne – below the D974 in Gevrey Chambertin. Annually Jean Philippe Marchand produces about 180 000 bottles from a variety of appellations in both the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune.

– As a négociant you run into the same problems as a grower, says Jean Philippe Marchand. Even if you buy from the same parcel every year you will have lots of grapes in a good year and not so much in a less good year.

– I have been buying from the same growers for a long time. More and more I even work with the same parcels. I try to keep an eye on the vines. The quality of the grapes. Where the grapes come from. That is 50 per cent of the quality of the wine. I’m not a magician, so that is very important.

When it comes to winemaking the two Marchand brothers have both similarities and differences. Denis Marchand uses much more new oak than his brother. They both use barrels with a heavy toast. Denis puts a lot of effort into sorting the grapes, Jean Philippe less so. They both de-stem. Jean Philippe uses longer cold-maceration than his brother. They both do pumping over and punching down, as well as malolactic fermentation in barrels.

– For the past seven or eight years I have reduced the amount of sulphur, especially when bottling, says Jean Philippe Marchand. I use carbon dioxide. Thanks to this there is more freshness in the wine, and it is better for the consumer.

© 2021 Ola Bergman