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It is and it isn’t (Pouilly, France – Day Two)

I’ve never really understood the phrase “the exception that proves the rule”, and I’m wondering if someone can explain it to me. Doesn’t an exception by definition DISprove a rule? Isn’t that the whole point of a rule? I understand the concept of “rules were meant to be broken”, never more appropriate than when talking about the rules and regulations around appellation des origine controlee (AOC) in France, and similar denominations in other European countries. The idea that the best wines are produced from certain varieties in certain terroirs perfected over the centuries isn’t the question for me. The question is the determination of yields and practices in the vineyards in cellars that are determined by this quite rigid system. In terms of planting other varieties, not only can you not label any wine made from the varieties, but the mere existence of them is forbidden. Around Europe there are mavericks looking to shake things up a bit, breaking away from the norm and attempting to disprove the rules, or prove the exception. One of these is Domaine Didier Dagueneau.

Domaine Didier Dagueneau

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Domaine Didier Dagueneau – 30/11/2012

Pouilly-Fume Blanc 2010
Totally different aromatics for a sauvignon blanc, amazingly complex, very mineralic but a maturity to the green herbaceous characters I’ve never seen before. Bright intense and fresh, yet full of fruit, very vibrant, mouth-filling, insanely complex, refined yet offering so much. Such assuredness in a Pouilly-Fume, it’s hard to believe. I need to know how…

Pur Sang 2010
A lot more subdued, quiet and complex, showing a lot more flint minerality but very subtle, deep floral elements, haunting. Wonderfully rich but not heavy, waves of complexity across the palate, fine and elegant but with precision, interesting grapefruit and some green pineapple as well, but not fat at all.

Buisson Renard 2010
Deeply complex and rich on the nose, wonderful concentration of fruit and minerality, not heavy but expressive. Somehow more masculine and serious. Very broad in an amazing way, not at all heavy, rich, creamy or cloying. Wonderful acidity and freshness, but shifting wonderfully. Exceptionally long. So much ageing potential I want to cry. A little bit of a savoury edge.

Le Mont Damne Sancerre 2010
Brighter and more floral, quite crisp and chalky, some tropical notes that are very restrained. Great ripeness good fruit, balanced acids, great finish. It’s just lacking a little depth and concentration. I think it is to do with the age of the vines (7 years). Perhaps the wine is too young, perhaps I am expecting too much. Improving with each taste.

Silex 2010
Brooding intense, very stoic and serious, slightly closed and very young, but wonderfully delicate and complex. Great clean and pure fruit, definitely in the greener spectrum. The flint seems to bring out the greener notes of the variety. Persistent racing and razor sharp, bitingly young, needs quite a few years to open and flesh out. Crisp to the nines.

Silex 2009
Riper and deeper, less concentration and density, more fruit and richness. More floral and even a little candied compared to the next vintage. Already showing much better than the 2010, more open and expressive, fruit is more apparent, quite ripe but not heavy or full, certainly not in the fat tropical area. The green is not showing in this wine, perhaps vintage specific. Still very young and brisk, nice bite to the back palate needs more time to soften.

Clos de Calvaire 2008
Lovely complex salted capers but very subtle, steamed asparagus, but also lovely fresh and ripe citron and kiwi fruit. I’ve never seen such complexity in green characters. Dense and concentrated but not too intense, bright fresh, integrated acids and exceptional balance of alcohol. So uniquely savoury, not overt fruit.

Cuvee Pirate 2008
Quite clearly riesling on the nose, but a very good example. Planted on flint it has the characters of the soil, quite dense and concentrated but different structure to German or Alsatian rieslings. A really good example, certainly a wine of interest worth ageing.

Les Jardins des Babylone 2010 (100% petit manseng)
Rich creamy tropical pineapple papaya, a little smoky and leesy. Quite concentrated and sweet on the palate, deep and fruity, very rich and full but not cloying. Good length, excellent balance, still enough acid to carry everything. Not a simple sweet wine, but approachable nonetheless.

Les Jardins 2007
Slightly smokier and more closed, more minerality and petrol aromas. Much denser and heavier, a lot of sweetness and density, I think it is a little heavy and the alcohol stands out a little bit. Too aggressive, the balance was better in the 2010.

Domaine Didier Dagueneau

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