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Elite Wines
Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume "Silex" 2016
Region: Loire Valley
Winery: Didier Dagueneau (Pouilly Fumé)
Grapes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Color: White
Vintage: 2016
Label   Fact Sheet

Description: "From an enclave just outside the cuverie in Saint Andelain, the Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex delivers an almost inordinate diversity of floral, herbal, citrus (predominately grapefruit), and pit-fruit (predominately nectarine) elements, with the bitterness of fruit pits, smoky pungency of red currant and crushed stone, as well as notes of shrimp shell reduction and iodine inflecting a long, bittersweet, yet at the same time vibrant, buoyant finish. This silken textured seducer should gain with time in bottle and be worth following for ten or a dozen years. Didier Dagueneau’s son Louis-Benjamin (whose name now appears on the label) is in charge of the domaine that his recently-deceased and much-lamented father brought to such notoriety. Benjamin Dagueneau – whose intense focus is obvious – has been working alongside his father for several years, and the crew here – one person each for the estate’s 11 hectares (27 acres) – are no doubt exceptionally capable of carrying on. The 2009 collection (whose Pouilly-Fumes weigh in between 13 and less than 14% alcohol) promises to be the best group of Sauvignons rendered in that year. A late June visit offered my first opportunity to taste the Dagueneau rendition of Sancerre Monts Damnes (of which 2005 was the inaugural but 2007 effectively the first commercial vintage). All of the 2009s were still in barrel when I visited. The 2008s – harvested a mere two weeks after Didier Dagueneau’s death in a flying accident at age 52; and in bottle for only two months when I tasted them – are also superb as a group. The fermentative and elevage regiment here has for some time been entirely in larger barrels, in particular demi-muids and customized, 350-400-liter, cigar-shaped casks of Dagueneau design that maximizes lees contact. Fermentative temperature is controlled when necessary by inserting an exchanger. In view of how long Didier Dagueneau’s success had been recognized and how many ambitious Loire attempts at wooded Sauvignon prove inexpressive of their fruit and sites but depressingly similar to one another, one would think that the “methode Dagueneau” should be studied and adopted by at least a few other ambitious Loire growers, but it that’s happened, I have not tasted it! Incidentally, this is one domaine where (already high) prices have not remained static, so unfortunately it’s simply a fact now that you have to make the same well-justified sacrifice to experience these wines that you would in order to put top-notch Burgundy on your table.. (Incidentally, while this is the subject for another time, the nobly-concentrated Dagueneau Jurancons – of which I tasted a 2005 and 2004 – are magnificent, with superb detail, magical levity, as well as irresistibility rather than over-the-top sweetness. “The idea is to have a balance with high acidity, not a confiture,” remarks Benjamin Dagueneau. “Chateau d’Yquem is very good, but heavy. These wines aim at something a little more Germanic in style.” I was already grinning before he said this!)" -Robert Parker


Reviews

Publication Score Comments
Jancis Robinson NA FOR THE 2015 VINTAGE
Buttery, creamy, very soft and smooth. Ripe, complete and generous and perhaps quite high in alcohol? Even so, there is so much going on here. Compelling. (17.5/20)
Wine Spectator 94 FOR THE 2016 VINTAGE
“White Minerally and intense, showing plump notes of yellow apple and peach, while ruby grapefruit and sea salt accents add to the vibrancy. Features a beautiful silky texture and focused acidity that proves the pedigree, adding to the charm and overall harmony. Drink now through 2031.”—A.Z.