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Didier Dagueneau, Pouilly Fume Silex 2018


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    Sauvignon Blanc

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    Pouilly Fume

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Cool and without obvious richness. Really refreshing and with great substance and density. More approachable in youth than I remember some Silex bottlings. You could happily enjoy this layered wine now but it should age well too. It really does taste flinty!! Drink 2021- 2029. Jancis Robinson (17+)

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Silex is named after the type of rock that the vines are grown on and partly why this is one of the world’s greatest expressions of Sauvignon. The wine is complex with exotic and flinty flavours combined with oodles of grassy, mineral notes wrapped in a full-bodied, smooth and creamy texture; elegance and balance personified. If you’re lucky to ever get to taste a bottle you’ll see why this wine is hallowed by wine lovers and critics all around the world.

With one full time worker for each hectare of vineyard, yields 50-75% lower than those of his neighbours, and soils ploughed without machinery to avoid disturbing the root system, he never cut corners in order to achieve excellence. In the vineyard as in the cellar, where he worked scrupulously without sulphites, relying on natural fermentation only and using barrels made especially for him, with the level of toast defined by himself in close contact with the coopers. 

Always adventurous and restless, he died, tragically and prematurely, when an ultralight plane he was travelling in crashed near Cognac. The wine world stopped, in shock, with tributes pouring in from all corners of the world. His obituary in The New York Times, written by Eric Asimov was particularly insightful and moving. 

Being the quintessential enfant terrible that he was, Didier Dagueneau was born to a winemaking family in 1956 but decided to break away and become a motorcycle sidecar race driver. He raced competitively in the international circuit between 1978 and 1982, after which he returned to his home village. But instead of taking his turn as the family’s fourth generation winemaker he, as expected, decided to blaze his own trail. He set up his own estate in Pouilly-Fumé, inspired by the great masters of other regions and by the legacy of his grandfather – Louis Dagueneau – with a primary focus on terroir. 

He acquired his first parcel, 1.2 hectares of En Chailloux, and began to vinify under his own label in the 1982 vintage. In 1985, he added the now famous (and infamous!) Silex to his range. Pur Sang followed, in 1988.These are now some of the most sought-after wines of wine lovers and collectors. 

His single-vineyard approach and his quest to make age-worthy wines was nothing short of revolutionary in the region. As was his fastidious dedication to his vineyards, his continuous quest for perfection and his relentless self-criticism. 

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