Red and shiny, the new cellar of Château La Dominique was designed by the famous French architect Jean Nouvel. This modern project, as simple as it is daring, hosts the new fermenting room of the wine estate which recently increased from 25 to 30 hectares. The work was completed in March 2014 and it greatly transformed the appearance of the property, carrying the estate forward into the Nouvel Era.
Château La Dominique, Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Emilion benefits from an excellent location in this beautiful area, listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. Situated in the heart of a 1-hectare park, the Château is composed of a host house, two perpendicular cellars, one contemporary wine cellar completed in 2014 and a farm building.
The host house is a typical two-floor Bordeaux-house with dressed stones; the façade facing south has regular openings in a classical style. Various spaces are dedicated to welcoming visitors: a reception, a tasting room, the shop, as well as offices. On both sides of the façade, two symmetrical wings surround the main building, forming a U-shape. They host the fermenting room and the storage cellar. Since 2014, a contemporary cellar awakens the classical architecture, in a successful contrast between authenticity and modernity. This project was commissioned by Clément Fayat and implemented by the architect Jean Nouvel in order to increase the production capacity and improve the vinification tools.
Jean Nouvel imagined a building with pure lines, built on the existing dressed stones and rising over the vineyard. Beyond the technical building, the architect offered a masterpiece highlighting the exceptional location of the estate, while he also expresses his own and the universal vision of wine and the pleasure of wine tasting. The wine cellar is dressed with six shades of mirrored red-stainless-steel blades. With this unique covering, Jean Nouvel plays with our perception of the colour of the wine: the reflection, intensity, shades, deepness, etc. Looking at it, you are also able to see the vines, which are reflected in defragmented images. Finally, according to the location of the visitor, you will be able to see the viticultural landscape, reflected on the reverse thanks to the inclined position of the stainless steel blades.
The inside of the vat-room, 600 m², is bright and sober, surrounded by concrete walls and a huge bay window on the north façade, which illuminates the whole room. Very modern with tronconic stainless steel vats on both sides, the space was also made as a space to host events like professional wine tastings. The meeting-point between the concrete building and the back of the original house hosts the ageing room, displaying barrels in a warm and enticing atmosphere. The ceiling is lowered and the walls have the colour of the darkest shade of red from Jean Nouvel’s outside wall. The barrels are arranged in a half-moon shape, held up by the Oxoline system, with a lighting emphasizing the warm colour of oak.
The roof is a panoramic terrace offering the visitors a marvelous view over the vineyard landscape, sprinkled with great Châteaux, villages, etc. The terrace is covered with red glass pebbles, representing symbolic grapes which the visitor can tread. One part of the terrace is covered and includes a restaurant with excellent views, La Terrasse Rouge, which is open throughout the year, forming a unique belvedere in the Bordeaux vineyards.
Whilst there is free access outside, you can discover the inside during a guided tour of the buildings. The Château, equipped with accessibility for people with reduced mobility, is opened all year round; it gives an insight into the heritage of the architecture as well as the wine sector, while offering an innovative oenological experience.