Tribute to Didier Dagueneau Tasting at VVW

Vin, Vino Wine, Palo Alto, CA
Tasted Thursday, October 9, 2008 by rjonwine@gmail.com with 862 views

Introduction

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This was a good opportunity, less than a month after M. Dagueneau's very untimely passing, to reflect on the mark he has left on Sauvignon Blanc, the Loire, and intense and passionate winemaking in general. It was bittersweet, but ultimately very sad, to taste these impressive wines, and remind oneself that their maker and champion is no longer with us. Victor, who owns VVW, and is pictured below, did share with me a statement from Beaune Imports' Michael Sullivan indicating that Dagueneau's 26-year-old son Benjamin, who will be continuing as winemaker, not only had Dagueneau's confidence as a winemaker, but that Dagueneau was on the verge before his death of buying an additional 14 hectares in Sancerre for Benjamin to focus on as winemaker. The statement also indicated that 2007 was Dagueneau's favorite vintage of the decade, so we have the release of that vintage to look forward to as Dagueneau's ultimate expression of what he was striving for.
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Flight 1 - Single Vineyard Dagueneaus (2 Notes)

This was a look at two of the single vineyard bottlings Dagueneau has produced from his Domaine in recent years. The '06 Buisson Renard was particularly impressive, showing both the vintage, but also the detail and depth that this vineyard is capable of.

Flight 2 - Pur Sang Flight (3 Notes)

This flight evidenced something I've found to be true of Dagueneau wines. I think they generally take a year or two to really show their stuff, and they are not made for very long aging. I had a '96 Pur Sang a few months ago that had gone way off the deep end. The '00 and '01 were starting to show their age, and oxidation, and Sauvignon Blanc and its flavor profile is, in my view, less appealing in its oxidized state, even, than Chardonnay. The '05 was showing well, and is in that ideal window for Dagueneau, and I look forward to sampling the '06 and '07.

Flight 3 - Fume Silex flight (3 Notes)

This was the strongest flight of the tasting, and Dagueneau's most reliable wine year after year. The '06, although tight and young yet, was stunning, as it was when we tried it at my birthday dinner a few weeks back. The '05 and '02 were also both going strong.

Flight 4 - Dagueneau Sweetie (1 Note)

This was my first chance to sample this wine, made from Petit Manseng. I found it quite complex and thoroughly enjoyable. I'm not sure it's made for long aging, but it is a very enjoyable Jurancon. I look forward to trying the '05.

Closing

Dagueneau was a visionary and inspiring winemaker, whose wines stand as a testament to his singular vision and commitment. He will be greatly missed, but we have his '07s to look forward to, as well as what his son Benjamin will do with the estate vineyards that Didier planted and groomed in pursuit of his singular vision.

Michael, up from L.A., with our flight of Dagueneaus:
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