Didier Dagueneau's final flight

18 Sep 2008 by Jancis Robinson

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Didier Dagueneau, the wild boy of Pouilly Fumé, has died at a ridiculously early age, but in what was perhaps a predictable way.

Always a fan of derring do, he was killed yesterday in a microlite accident in the Charentes, Cognac country in western France. He was notable for blithely disregarding the practices of his neighbours in the upper Loire valley and writing his own rulebook for growing Sauvignon Blanc vines and turning them into wine. As long ago as the mid 1990s when we filmed our BBC tv series Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course, he was already using horses to plough his vineyards – years ahead of the Domaine de la Romanée Conti.

Those who have seen the Sauvignon Blanc episode of our Wine Course may remember Didier experimenting with ancient bits of hardware and treating me to the bloodiest bit of meat I think I have ever been served, with his Pouilly Fumé.

One of his most famous bottlings is called Pur Sang, or pure blood. He was a man of great purity of thought and intention. He will be very much missed.

In our forum, purple pager William Roach of Saratoga Springs has drawn our attention to US wine importer Joe Dressner’s memories of him, and a fine photograph of Didier and his dreadlocks and mischievous eyes, at www.joedressner.com

See related thread in Members' forum 


No!!! A travesty. Wine, particularly the Old World, needs rebels (or eccentrics) like Didier. So sorry to hear of his untimely passing, what a legend.

19 Sep 2008 10:22 by Curious Mike

Didier should not be called Wild Boy but Mad Dog. In 1988 when I guided him, his cousin, Phil Engel, Al Burguet, Jacky Riguax and some others around California for two weeks, Didier took to creeping up behind me, pinching my ankles and barking. Jim Clendenen made a wine called Chien Mechant in his honor. I had a lot of great experiences with Didier over the years and it's hard to believe it's all over. At the heart of Didier was the belief that he and others had been wronged by a winocracy that said X is always better than Y, for some crazy reason, when his Y could be twice as good as somebody else's X. The last time I saw Didier, November 06, he tasted us through a series of 04 and 05 wines that amazed us with their greatness. The first time I met him we tasted his '85 Silex. (We showed up at 3 and left at 11.) I had it again last year and it was still quite alive. I kept the cork and I think I ll have it bronzed.

19 Sep 2008 02:25 by Mel Knox

In 2005, at Vinexpo, I had the chance to meet him in the cellars of Chateau Belair ... and for the first time to taste his wines! Never been so impressed by the purity of sauvignon blanc (I could not believe the wines were matured in wood). Mr Dageneau only smiled when I asked him "why?" and said ... "low yields is the key".

18 Sep 2008 19:01 by ronny debaere

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