As readers may have heard by now, Domaine Engel was sold to François-Henri Pinault , who is head of a huge conglomerate called PPR that owns, among other assets, the famous premier cru Château Latour in Pauillac. The reported final price for the superbly well-placed 6.5 ha (16.25 acres) domaine has varied considerably but the best estimate that my sources have come up with was approximately $22.3 million, which suggests that Pinault is willing to accept barely positive single digit financial returns for years to come. A Burgundian, Michel Mallard, 31, son of Patrick who owns an eponymous 14 ha domaine in Ladoix-Serrigny, has been retained to oversee winemaking operations and arrived in September, 2007. Mallard, in describing the new team, told me that "everything is completely separate now from the old Domaine Engel. We're renting space from Lupé Cholet in Nuits St. Georges while simultaneously searching for space to either purchase or construct a new cuvérie." As to the winemaking approach, Mallard noted that the "goal is to create wines of elegance, finesse and harmony. We're not trying to make Bordeaux here in Burgundy. In 2006, we gave the musts 5 to 6 days of cold maceration, working only with natural yeasts and no enzymes for either extraction or clarification and no débourbage (post pressing must settling) either. In 2006, the total cuvaison lasted between 16 and 20 days and I would expect this to be the norm, depending of course on vintage characteristics. We want to work as gently and naturally as possible so we don't believe in trying to push extraction simply for the sake of making bigger wines. As to our wood program, the villages will see 50% new oak and the grands crus 100%. If absolutely necessary we will fine and/or filter but the goal is to produce wines that are neither." With respect to the 2006 vintage, Mallard observed that "we really didn't have much influence on the viticulture as the purchase was completed later in the growing season. We waited until September 24th to begin picking and didn't pick the grands crus until the 2nd and 3rd of October. There was quite a bit of sorting necessary so we picked slowly, eliminating substandard berries as we went. It's also important to remember that while the good folks at Lupé Cholet accorded us every favor possible, we're still not in our own facilities with our own equipment so I expect quality to improve once we're in our own premises." In terms of the wines, I was frankly very impressed with what I found, particularly since, as Mallard pointed out, the new team had only limited control over the viticulture and was working out of rented facilities. In short, things appear very promising and the Eugénie '06s are definitely worth a look. (Mallard indicated that various commercial relationships were still under discussion at the time of my visit).