Rene Engel started Domaine Rene Engel in Vosne Romanee in the early 20th Century just before WW1. At the age of 20, Rene Engel fought in the battle of Verdun in 1916 and was fortunate enough to return to Burgundy after spending some time in POW camp. The son of Rene Engel, Pierre Engel took over the Domaine from his father in 1949. Pierre was also the Mayor of Vosne Romanee is 1959-1971. Pierre got ill in 1970s and the Domaine was apparently neglected. Pierre passed away in 1981, five years earlier than his father Rene Engel. Fortunately of the four children of Pierre Engel, one of them was interested in making wines, he was Philippe Engel.
Philippe Engel took over the Domaine at the age of 26 with the help of his mother. The entire production in 1981 was sold to negociants. In 1988, they finally started bottling their wines in the estate. Slowly and steadily the quality of the wines improved and Philippe brought the estate to another league.
Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1.37 ha, Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 0.50 ha, Echezeaux Grand Cru 0.55 ha, Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Les Brulees 1.05 ha, and Vosne Romanee village 2.5 ha.
The sad part starts here… Philippe Engel tragically passed away suddenly of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 49. Philippe (who was unmarried) did not have an heir to takeover the domaine. Consequently, all the vineyard holdings of Domaine Rene Engel was auctioned and was sold to François Pinault (the owner of Chateau Latour and many other estates) for 25 million euros. An absurd amount of money it seems back in 2005, now that would be a real bargain!
The grapes in the 2005 harvest was sold in bulk. François Pinault created Domaine d’Eugenie and hired vigneron Michel Mallard from Ladoix. Domaine d’Eugenie’s first vintage is 2006, and they have continued the production since.
Many people were disappointed to notice the wine style at Domaine d’Eugenie is no longer the same as Philippe’s winemaking style, hence the prices of Domaine Rene Engel wines went through the roof. Michel Mallard’s winemaking style is quite different from Philippe’s, Michel likes to use lower yields, machine harvesting and close to 100% new oak.
Wine style at Domaine Rene Engel
The wines are Rene Engel are generally light on extraction and always has a charming bouquet of fruits and perfume. They are elegant wines that are approachable young but also with great ageing potential. Generally around 25% new oak for Vosne Romanee village, 50% for Grand Crus. The fragrant of Domaine Rene Engel wines resemble Domaine Leroy’s, though Rene Engel employs less new oak than of Domaine Leroy. In short, Engel wines are feminine, fragrant and delicious!
The Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Aux Brulees is one of my favourite vineyards in Burgundy, the name comes from the heat and dryness of this vineyard. Aux Brulees is a 4.53 ha Premier Cru vineyard located just north of Richebourg and south of Les Beaux Monts. Aux Brulees is one of the most outstanding Premier Crus in Burgundy. Domaine Rene Engel owns 1.05 ha of vineyard in Aux Brulees, 60+years old vines.
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Brulees 1972
Tasted blind and the first impression was the incredibly soft and seductive perfumes. Sweet stems and Vosne spices, very pretty and elegant. This is my first 1972 red Burgundy, it appears to be a lighter vintage than 1971. I am a huge fan of Domaine Rene Engel, their wines are almost like a lighter version of Leroy, perfumed cherry and spring flowers. A real shame this Domaine no longer exists, the last vintage was 2004. Domaine d’Eugenie bought all their vineyards in 2006. (91/100)
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Brulees 2002
2002 was the last good vintage made by Philippe Engel, the fabled winemaker of Domaine Rene Engel who sadly passed away in 2005. Rene Engel wines are now as rare as hen’s teeth. The 2002 Rene Engel Vosne Romanee Aux Brûlées has an ultra pure and floral scent. Deep and sexy, cloudy floral nose from 60+ year old vines. I absolutely adore Engel wines, they are soft, honest type of floral and feminine. (94/100)
Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Brulees 2004
The recent wines of Eugenie are well-made with good purity, but it no longer has the seductiveness of Rene Engel. Hence Rene Engel wines are now rare and expensive. Attractive opulent scents of Rosé pedals, feminine perfumed creamy fruits. Pale and mellow intensity, quite light for Brulees. Beautiful delicacy, pleasure!! (90+/100)