Burgundy winemaker Philippe Engel died of a heart attack last week while on holiday in Tahiti.
Engel’s village of Vosne-Romanée, home to Burgundy’s greatest red wines, is mourning the sudden death of the talented winemaker, who was 49 when he died.
Philippe Engel, co-owner of Domaine René Engel, was one of Vosne’s great characters, widely known as a ‘bon viveur’. He had a reputation as a modest and charming man, greatly admired the wines of famous fellow Vosnier Henri Jayer and took a simple approach to winemaking.
Wine critics and his peers considered he had a true feel for the temperamental Pinot Noir grape, making fine, pure wines with poise and elegance, even in difficult years like 2003.
The 7ha domaine, among the finest in Vosne, includes three Grands Crus (Clos Vougeot, Grands Echezeaux and Echezeaux) and the excellent Premier Cru Vosne-Romanée Les Brulées. The domaine was founded by his grandfather René Engel, professor of oenology at Dijon University, writer and a founder member of Burgundy’s Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
Philippe Engel studied at Beaune Viticultural College and took over the domaine in 1981 at the age of 26, after his father’s early death.
He is survived by his brother Frédéric.
Written by Rupert Joy