Domaine d’Eugenie is a iconic producer in more than one sense. Firstly, Domaine d’Eugenie is made up in part of the iconic vineyards from the old Rene Engel estate in Vosne-Romanée. Secondly, Domaine d’Eugenie is the creation of Francois Pinault, the billionaire who since 2005 has build a new estate based on the former Engel vineyards + an addendum of “exotic” white vineyards in the Côte de Beaune.
The history – Domaine Rene Engel
Founded by René Engel in 1919, the domaine is located in Vosne-Romanée at the very heart of the Cote de Nuits. René Engel was born in 1892, and twelve years later his mother – Eugenie – was widowed and then married Paul-Francois Faiveley (perhaps a distant relative of the Faiveleys in Nuits-Saint-Georges).
The couple pooled their vineyards and formed Domaine René Engel. These vineyards included some of the terroirs today owned by Domaine d’Eugenie, while others were added by René Engel along the way.
Between 1919 and 2004, three men – René, Pierre and Philippe – succeeded each other from father to son in running the family estate, which includes some of the most prestigious Burgundian crus.
Sadly, Philippe Engel died in a car accident in 2005 … and the vineyards were then sold to Francois Pinault.
Creating Domaine d’Eugenie
Domaine d’Eugenie was created by Pinault in 2006, when he acquired the Engel vineyards. Pinault, who also own Chateau Latour in Bordeaux, wanted to create a top Burgundy domaine, and the vineyards from Rene Engel were a beautiful start. The domaine is – as far as I know – named after Francois Pinault’s grandmother.
Pinault was, however, in need of a winery where he could vinify and age the wines, and after producing the wines initially in a rented facility in Nuits-Saint-Georges, he acquired the old, historic Frantin estate from Albert Bichot. The village vineyard Clos Frantin was included in the deal, and in 2011 this vineyard was officially renamed Clos d’Eugenie when the 2009 vintage was released from Domaine d’Eugenie.
Pinault has invested significantly in the Frantin estate. The buildings have been renovated to the highest standards, and a new chai has been built behind the estate buildings.
Furthermore, Francois Pinault has purchased some very exclusive white vineyards – supplementing the lovely reds acquired from Domaine Rene Engel.
Domaine d’Eugenie now has 0.0428 ha of Montrachet and 0.0856 ha of Batard Montrachet – both acquired from Etienne de Montille of Chateau de Puligny Montrachet. Furthermore, d’Eugenie also has plots of the 1er cru Meursault Les Perrières and the Chassagne-Montrachet Les Perclos (the whites were not tasted on this occation).
The winemaker at Domaine d’Eugenie
Michel Mallard is the winemaker at Domaine d’Eugenie, and has been so since the beginning in the 2006 vintage. He comes from Ladoix-Serrigny, where he still runs his family domaine – and is producing some very fine wines from Corton and the appellations around Ladoix. More about the Mallard estate shortly.
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