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Domaine René Engel – the sale…


The view is spectacular from the coffee room of the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva – looking across the ‘bay’ of Lake Geneva – this hotel, long the home of expensive auctions from the likes of Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Antiquorum – is, for today, the home of Baghera.

As previously noted, Baghera have a coup – from my perspective no less of a coup than their large sale of the remaining family stocks of Domaine Henri Jayer – today we are here for the wines of Domaine René Engel, once-more the remaining(?) family stocks of a famous Vosne-Romanée domaine. I was too young to be a buyer of Jayer when the wines were released, but not so for Domaine René Engel, wines I’d bought from the 1995 vintage; mainly Grands-Echézeaux a) because the price was so reasonable given how delicious the wine was, and b) because my friends bought the domaine’s other wines – so I could drink their other cuvées and they could drink mine!

Of course we lost Philippe far too early – all were shocked – and without any ideas for succession the family sold the domaine to Château Latour (Pinault) for a ridiculously high price – though today that sum seems so cheap – and that was goodbye to Domaine René Engel after the grapes on the vines were sold to Albert Bichot in 2005.


Just a few early thoughts: Today it seemed a smaller gathering in the salesroom – vs the Jayer sale where I was also present – but who knows how many bidders were waiting on the phones. But for a single producer sale of 1,157 bottles in 168 lots with vintages from 1921 to the final 2004 vintage, it seems to me that the family did quite well – the sale totalled 1.8 million Swiss Francs (hammer) “reaching the pre-sale high estimate.”

A taste of the bidding:
Lot 1 – 12x Villages Vosne 2004 – 5,000 swiss francs
Lot 5 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 2003 – 2,800
Lot 9 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 2002 – 3,400
Lot 10 – 12x Villages Vosne 2002 – 6,500
Lot 13 – 6x Villages Vosne 2001 – 2,200
Lot 15 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 2000 – 3,500
Lot 20 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 1999 – 4,200
Lot 22 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 1998 – 2,200
Lot 25 – 3 magnums Villages Vosne 1996 – 3,500
Lot 53 – 12x Vosne Brulées 2003 – 9,000
Lot 68 – 6x Vosne Brulées 1999 – 9,000
Lot 69 – 6x Vosne Brulées 1998 – 4,500
Lot 81 – 12x Echézeaux 2004 – 13,000
Lot 81 – 2004 Echézeaux 12 bottles – 13,000
Lot 82 – 2003 Echézeaux 12 bottles – 12,000
Lot 103 – 12x Grands-Echézeaux 2004 – 20,000
Lot 113 – 6x Grands-Echézeaux 2002 – 13,000
Lot 115 – 6x Grands-Echézeaux 2001 – 11,000
Lot 117 – 6x Grands-Echézeaux 2000 – 13,000
Lot 120 – 12x Grands-Echézeaux 1999 – 30,000*
*I stop with this one – just as a placeholder – I bought this en-primeur, in-bond, for £41 per bottle – or 1,130 swiss francs for 12 as was the exchange rate in those days – nice that I found 6 in the cellar last year, but this 26 times growth of value pales when compared to that of Apple stock over the same period – that’s why wine’s for drinking, not speculating: “A mere $100 investment in the company’s stock at the beginning of 2002 would have grown to more than 95 times the original investment by mid-February 2019

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