The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Didier Dagueneau and…Didier Dagueneau!

Posted on | November 25, 2014 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

Crystal 2014Although I adore white wines from the “golden slopes” in Burgundy, I also share great admiration for the lovely wines of the Loire Valley. When asked about leading producers, a certain legend immediately comes to mind—Didier Dagueneau.

Didier Dagueneau was known as the “wild man of Pouilly,” not only for his passion for car racing and for his shaggy appearance (long curly hair and a dramatic beard) but also for his ideas and determination. He was recognized as a brilliant winemaker and the best producer in the appellation. In 2008 he was in an airplane accident, leaving the reins of the estate to his children Benjamin and Charlotte. There were questions about whether or not they could carry on their father’s legacy, passion, and fervor; to the surprise of some, they have surpassed expectations in carrying the family torch.

The Dagueneau estate (not to be confused with Serge Dagueneau) makes a range of dry white wines, all Pouilly-Fumé, all biodynamic. The classic Pouilly-Fumé Blanc, deriving from a blend of several vineyards, is bright and soft. The Buisson Renard is more flinty in style, but still round, and more age-worthy. The remaining two wines are both barrel fermented single-vineyard superstars that derive from slate soils: Silex and Pur Sang (the French term for “thoroughbred,” a reference to horse tilling, which is common in biodynamic farming). We have been fortunate to secure some special allocations from the estate and are delighted to share what we believe to be some of the greatest expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. Although we currently carry a full range of the wines, I chose to highlight two of my favorites today:

Didier Dagueneau 2009 Blanc Pouilly-Fumé $74.99

This lovely Pouilly-Fumé offers bright aromas of chalk and white flowers followed by flavors of green mango, Meyer lemon, kiwi and almond. The wine finishes with vibratory intensity that pulls you back to the glass for more.

Didier Dagueneau 2009 Pouilly-Fumé Buisson Renard $109.99

This dense wine is flinty and exhibits grapefruits, passionfruit and wood. This cuvée comes from one perfect clay-and-flint parcel located mid-slope on the southwest side of Saint Andelain, the highest village in the Pouilly-Fume appellation, and the only one to possess soil containing the perfect balance of clay and flint. This wine is barrel fermented and aged in mostly neutral barrels to create a rich, opulent wine that still maintains a classic flinty streak with a firm backbone.

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