Château Philippe Le Hardi
Born on 17 January 1342, Philippe was the son of King Jean II of France (John the Good) and Bonne of Luxembourg, and became known as Philippe Le Hardi (Philip the Bold) due to his courage at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. The first Duke of Burgundy of the House of Valois, and head of an immense territory after his marriage, he proved to be an extremely cultured patron of the arts.
In 1372, Philippe Le Hardi took possession of the seigneury of Santenay and its château and, with a view to improving the wines being produced, issued a decree banning the “disloyal” Gamay grape in favour of Pinot Noir. A historic decision, it was the beginning of varietal Burgundy. It could even be said to have been the dawn of high-quality terroir wines – thanks to the political will of one man.
Philippe Le Hardi’s work was continued by his son Jean Sans Peur (John the Fearless), and then his grandson, Philippe Le Bon (Philip the Good), who was responsible for the construction of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune in 1443, and finally Charles Le Téméraire (Charles the Bold). The vast territory of the Duchy of Burgundy joined the kingdom of France after 1477.
According to legend, King Henri IV authorised the planting of plane trees to thank the owner at the time. “Trees of life” more than 400 years old are inextricably linked to the site’s identity: symbols of regeneration in mythology, they proudly embody the rebirth of the Domaine today.
The château was then owned by high-ranking nobles for three centuries until the Revolution, when it escaped destruction. In 1796, it was recorded that the château possessed two wine presses, providing irrefutable proof that there was wine-making activity within the building.
The estate changed hands through inheritances and marriages, but the winegrowing operation remained of the highest order. Between 1965 and 1976, the Pidault family undertook numerous renovations to the building and extensive planting in Mercurey. The Château began to regain its former glory.
Purchase by the Crédit Agricole saw the beginning of a new sustainable era in the vineyard and an improvement in quality. In 2019, the acquisition of superb plots of vines in Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin and an additional 65 ares in the Clos de Vougeot consolidated the Domaine’s progress. In 2021, the conversion to organic farming was launched.