The Domaine Didier Dagueneau (phone: +33 (0)3 86 39 15 62) has a 12-hectare surface altogether. 75 % of the wine is exported.
We arrived in Saint Andelain on a hot july afternoon. A rolling stove had some vineyard shoots and leaves burning in the back of the chai. We first were shown the vineyards, which are scattered in several plots around Saint Andelain.
First : A vineyard plot far from the Domaine, but the first in importance. Several people were working there in the july heat. The elder son of Didier Dagueneau, Louis Benjamin, was doing some plowing between the rows. This plot is a bit over 3 hectares in surface and the "Cuvee Asteroide" comes from there. The Cuvée Astéroide is made with grapes from non-grafted-vines ( 10 ranks on the border of this vineyard plot ), meaning non grafted on american rootstocks : They are fragile and need permanent supervision, but until now, except a few losses, most of the vines are OK [ Picture above left ]. It is actually close to another village named Saint Laurent L'Abbaye, but it is still in the Pouilly Fumé geographical zone.
The soil is composed with ludian silica clay, also called "chaille roulée". In the middle of the vineyard, there is a windmill, not to make electricity, but to force air circulation on the plot when necessary : When there is a risk of freezing, stoves are brought there under, and the windmill is activated to circulate warmer air over the vineyard. To decide when to act, a small wireless meteorological unit is sending signals from the lower part of the vineyard about essential data : Temperature Humidity Rain quantity Wind speed This monitoring system is connected to cellphones at critical times (winter & spring) for the vineyard .
Third is : "Clos du Calvaire". As Clos means, it is a plot surrounded with walls. Very high vine density here. Rows are very close. Only a horse can work in this plot. Density about 12 000-14 000/hectare. This is a small plot. No separate cuvée was made from this plot since 1999.
Fourth location is : "Buisson Renard". A unique vineyard plot which is vinified separately. Gives something very different from the others.
Fifth place : "Les Coques" , with different plots on it
__1__ Didier Dagueneau Millesime 2002 "Cuvee Pur Sang". Powerful. Always 1,5 year between harvest and availability (usually in january). 40% of the potential reached for this wine. Must wait some time. All is hand harvested here. 50-60 persons with grape selection on the vines, before the picking takes place. Harvesters come back several times on the same rows. In the Appellation, 98% of the harvest is with machines. Not here. People who come for the harvest at DD know they have to be selective and skillful. A proportion of new casks is bought each year, from several french cooperages : Berthomieu , Francois Freres , Taransaud , Seguin Moreau are the chosen tonneliers here . I have linked with their websites even if some of these websites are not very efficient nor user friendly _A common trait in many french businesses where it is rare to find a simple, pleasantly designed website (This is my rant of the day).
__2__ Didier Dagueneau "Cuvee Buisson Renard" 2002. Often the lesser known cuvee. Although this is the most complex wine. Didier Dagueneau meets other inventive producers. He is part of a group named "L'Union des Gens de Metier" which gathers wine producers with the same philosophy for quality. They get together regularly and exchange ideas, usually with a festive tone. Eloi Durrbach from Trevallon is also part of it.
__3__ Didier Dagueneau "Cuvée Silex" 2002. The emblem of Didier Dagueneau. Was bottled (like cuvée Pur Sang 2002) in the beginning of december 2002. Very nice wine. Great purity.
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