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Last bottles of René Engel’s wines to be sold

Some of the last bottles of Domaine René Engel, some dating back to the 1920s, have been released from the family cellar and will go on sale this summer.

Photo credit: ©StudioS-Bagherawines

Over 1,000 bottles and large formats from the prestigious estate will go on sale in Geneva this 16 June at a sale hosted by Baghera Wines.

The domaine was founded 100 years ago in Vosne-Romanée by René Engel, a man who went on to train many of Burgundy’s great vignerons including Henri Jayer.

René’s son Pierre, who was twice elected mayor of Vosne-Romanée, succeeded his father in 1949 and after his death in 1981 the domaine passed to the hands of his son, Philippe – who also benefited from the input of his aged grandfather for a few years. By the early 1990s many would agree that Philippe really hit his stride with the wines and from 1992/93 onwards there was a distinct style and energy to them.

But in 2005 Philippe’s tragically early death aged just 49 saw the domaine pass into the hands of Château Latour’s owner François Pinault (his first Burgundian purchase) and renamed Domaine de Eugénie.

Had Philippe lived then there is no doubt that Domaine René Engel would today be one of Burgundy’s superstar names, uttered in the same breath as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Leroy, Armand Rousseau or Coche-Dury; though the domaine has not quite seen the sort of posthumous demand ‘enjoyed’ by Philippe’s grandfather’s protégé, Henri Jayer.

As it is, they are wines held in great reverence by committed Burgundophiles and an array of this scope is more than many will have ever dreamed of

The sale will feature 1,156 bottles in total: 998 bottles, 146 magnums, 12 Jeroboams and one Methuselah in total, split into 168 lots which have all been sourced from the family’s cellar, consigned by Philippe’s brother and two sisters.

The wines on offer span the vintages 1921 to 2004 and cover five ‘climats’: Vosne-Romanée, Vosne-Romanée 1er cru Les Brulées, Grands-Echezeaux, Echezeaux and Clos Vougeot.

In all there are: 321 bottles and magnums of Vosne-Romanée from 1921-2004; 210 bottles, magnums and Jeroboams of Les Brulées from 1983 to 2004; 159 bottles and magnums of Echezeaux from 1922 to 2004; 307 bottles and magnums of Grands-Echezeaux from 1922 to 2004 and 160 bottles, magnums, Jeroboams and Methuselahs of Clos Vougeot from 1923 to 2004.

Top lots from the sale include:

  • A vertical of 16 magnums of Echezeaux from 1976-2003 (CHF20,000-50,000 – Swiss Franc prices are identical to the US dollar)
  • A 20-bottle vertical of Vosne-Romanée from 1976-2004 (CHF6,500-15,000)
  • A 12 bottle case of 2004 Grands-Echezeaux (CHF10,000-20,000)
  • A bottle of the 1923 Grands-Echezeaux (CHF2,500-5,000)
  • A four Jeroboam vertical of Clos Vougeot from 1999-2003 (CHF14,000-32,000)

This is the second big Burgundian coup that Baghera has pulled off in as many years.

Last year readers may recall that it sold the ‘last’ bottles from the cellar of the equally celebrated Henri Jayer as well, a sale which made CHF34.5m (£26.3m), still a record for a one-day wine sale.

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