Today’s Story: Domaine Didier Dagueneau
Domaine Didier Dagueneau is a highly-regarded wine estate established in 1982 by Didier Dagueneau in the village of Saint-Andelain in France’s Pouilly-Fumé appellation. Dagueneau, who unfortunately passed away in 2008 at the age of 52 in a small plane crash, was a fourth generation winemaker who spent his earlier career years as a motorcycle sidecar racer and dog sled racer. When he returned to Saint-Andelain in 1982, he established his domaine instead of joining his family’s property of Domaine Serge Dagueneau et Filles. Dagueneau was a visionary winemaker, establishing his domaine with the intent of producing single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc using an experimental mentality. The estate today consists of 12 hectares (30 acres) across parcels named En Chailloux, Silex, and Pur Sang.
Dagueneau had a laser-like attention to detail and demanded perfection in all aspects of winemaking, especially in his vineyards. The domaine has a staggering ratio of one vineyard worker per hectare (unheard of in the Loire and more common on the finest estates of Burgundy) and they became an early adopter of organic and biodynamic viticulture in the region. Dagueneau had a preference for own-rooted vines and kept yields incredibly low, all for a focus on optimal ripeness, concentration, and quality. In the cellar, the domaine has a history of experimentation particularly with its oak program. Dagueneau pioneered longer barrels called “cigares,” which provide greater contact for the wine with its lees to add texture. While they have quite the range of vessels to play with, fermentations are accomplished with native yeasts and winemaking is otherwise pretty hands-off and traditional. The wines spend their first year in oak before they are moved to tank for a final five to seven months until bottling.
Though Didier’s untimely death caused great shock and worry throughout the world of people who loved his wines, Didier’s children Louis-Benjamin and Charlotte joined the family domaine and run it today. Louis-Benjamin worked closely with his father in the vineyards and cellar during Didier’s last few years, and he also shares the same drive and demand for perfection. The Domaine Dagueneau wines have maintained their quality (some argue they’re even better) and they offer a quintessential representation of the Sauvignon Blanc variety.
Today’s Wine: 2015 Pur Sang
100% Sauvignon Blanc; 13% ABV
The 2015 Pur Sang is pale straw yellow in color. This needs some time to open up in the glass, and you could honestly decant it for 30 minutes or so I think. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of white peach, Meyer lemon, green apple, jasmine, freshly cut grass, cheese rind, macadamia, white chocolate, and mineral. Flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of lime zest, green apple, grapefruit, lemon tart, chamomile, grass, crushed stone, almond, and saline. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish. This is a creamy but still racy and well-balanced example of Sauvignon Blanc. 1,333 cases produced.
Price: $100. While not an inexpensive bottle of wine, I think pricing here is actually pretty fair given the quality. This is a great representation of the variety while still being somewhat unique thanks to the mouthfeel. It also has great balance, length, and complexity going for it.