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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 5 September 2008

Chapel verticals of Didier Dagueneau with Billie

Didier D

Extract from a report on press trip to the Central Vineyards in September 2007, which first appeared in Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers.
We stopped at 3 Rue Ernesto Che Guevara, St Andelain – one of the communes of the Pouilly-Fumé appellation. No 3 houses the winery of Didier Dagueneau.

Didier is on benign form today. To say that Didier doesn’t suffer fools gladly is wide of the mark – he doesn’t suffer them full stop. However, he is clearly prepared to suffer us today. Over the years he has happily enraged his fellow Pouilly producers by pointing out their shortcomings in the vineyard, in particular high yields, to the media. Although they can complain it is difficult for them to argue as Dagueneau’s Pouilly Fumés are completely in a league of their own.

We opted to visit the vineyards first guided by the girl friend of Louis Benjamin, Didier’s eldest son. Driving through the Pouilly vineyards we could see patches ravaged by mildew where no leaves remained – not, I should add, ones belonging to Didier. We started with a look at Buisson Renard. Originally called Buisson Menard, Didier renamed it after Michel Bettane made a mistake in print calling it Buisson Renard. Then on to the La Folie vineyard, near the hamlet of Moussard, the source of Pur Sang as well as the famous patch of 18 rows of ungrafted vines that produce Didier’s Asteroide. Badly hit by hail it is estimated that there will only be 200 litres of Asteroid this year.

Didier put on a magnificent tasting in a restored former chapel that now serves as his imposing tasting room. Billie Holiday provided the soundtrack. He included the first vintage of his Sancerre – the minerally and restained 2005 Les Monts Damnés. “Difficult for a producer from Pouilly to have vines in Sancerre, impossible in Chavignol,” commented Didier. We tasted Pur Sang, a range of vintages of Silex, and three of Asteroide – all different reflecting the different terroir they come from. Not a dud among them, of course, just a question of picking out the finest of the very pure wines. I particularly liked the 2003 Asteroide – rich but with great tension in the long finish. The balance of the 2002 Silex was wonderful with a hint of that toastiness found in aged Hunter Semillons. 2002 is a really lovely Loire vintage. A 1984 Silex in magnum was also superb – “I like acidity,’ commented Didier. Also superb was the fresh and complex 1986 Silex.

We finished with Didier’s Jurançon, tasting the 2004 and 2005 Les Jardins Babylone from 100% Petit Manseng. The 2005 was clearly the superior wine with wonderful rich, pure fruit and a thrilling balance.

Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau

Didier Dagueneau, 3 Rue Ernesto Che Guevara, 58150 Saint Andelain. Tel:


Jan-Tore Egge said...

Sorry for this slightly off-topic comment, but he really lives in a street called rue Ernesto Che Guevara?

Jim's Loire said...

Hi Jan-Tore,

if you look at the previous posting on Didier you will see the street sign. However, I suspect that Didier's claim to live on Rue Ernesto Che Guevara would be disputed by the French authorities.