In contrast to the iconic château of Climens, with is symmetrical towers and pyramid shaped roofs, and the pale castellations of Coutet, Château Doisy-Daëne is a rather understated affair. In fact, it is difficult to make out any distinctive structure that might be earmarked as the château of Doisy-Daëne at all. There is little more here than a rather weather-beaten sign on the wall at the side of the road, an unceremonious marker of the estate’s existence within the hamlet that lies on the road between the two aforementioned premiers crus of Barsac.
This is not that unusual with previously divided estates; looking north to the communes of the Pauillac and St Julien, although some grand names such as Château Pichon-Baron and Château Pichon-Lalande do have similarly grand residences, this is not true of all such famous estates. Some that do not include the Léoville properties; there is a conglomeration of unprepossessing buildings for Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Château Léoville-Poyferré, with no obvious point at which one ‘château‘ ends and another begins (although to be fair both have buildings across the road which have a slightly grander feel), but Château Léoville-Barton has nothing that could be described as a château at all. The disparate offspring of the once expansive Doisy estate have a similarly understated appearance, certainly more akin to the Léovilles than the Pichons.
As I have already alluded, the three Doisy vineyards of Barsac, Doisy-Daëne, Doisy-Védrines and Doisy-Dubroca, all stem from one single estate the origins of which are not well documented. The earliest records are from the 18th century, which describe an estate to the south of Château Coutet owned by the Védrines family. The newlyweds Jean Védrines and Marie Raymond settled in a little village here named La Pinesse, which was owned by the Raymonds. Here they established an estate complete with château, and they or their immediate descendents are likely to have been responsible for the planting of vines. Within the same century they were expanding their domaine, including the acquisition of a small portion of the Château Coutet vineyard when it was sold off, following the execution by guillotine of its owner, Gabriel-Barthélémy-Romain de Filhot, in 1794.
By the early 19th century the estate was recognised as one of the leading vineyards of Barsac, along with Château Coutet and Château Climens, when it was recorded as such in André Jullien’s Topographie de Tous les Vignobles Connus (published 1816). By this time it seemed to be under joint ownership, according to Clive Coates writing in Grands Vins (University of California Press, 1995), the proprietors being the Védrines and Dubosq families. Perhaps this arrangement was the result of a marriage? The records, unfortunately, do not make it clear.