Domaine Didier Dagueneau, 2013 Update

It was a taste of Pur Sang, in a restaurant long ago, that alerted me to the wines of the late Didier Dagueneau. I won’t revisit that moment now, as I have already described it in my profile of this domaine, but little did I suspect as I sipped that wine (the memory of which remains strong…..although I confess I have long forgotten what I ate that evening) that twenty-or-so years later I would be visiting the domaine for a taste of the 2012 vintage from cuve.

The 2013 Vintage

Well, in truth my prime purpose was to discover a little about the 2013 vintage, the fruit from which had freshly arrived in the cellars, which were a hive of activity. The most obvious characteristic of the 2013 vintage is that it is one of low yields (which mirrors events in Bordeaux, as I discovered a few weeks later). Benjamin Dagueneau’s yields in 2013 varied from 15 to 25 hl/ha depending on the vineyard, a significant drop from the 35 hl/ha achieved in the 2011 vintage. The juice from Buisson Renard, which would normally fill its 9100-litre stainless steel vat to the brim, amounts to just 1950 litres this year. Numbers are one thing, but there is something quite striking about the sight of a huge vat, one that towers above your head, ready to receive 91 hectolitres of the year’s harvest, and yet the total volume of juice brought in reaches only one-fifth of the way up the side (as shown below).

Domaine Didier Dagueneau

The yields were pushed down by rot, says Benjamin. It has been a vintage for “tri, beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup” in his words, but I suspect it will have been worth the effort, for a tasting of various 2013 juices revealed them to be clean and rather elegant in their precision. The alcoholic potential is generally 11-12%, and the acidity generally 6-6.2 g/l, so they will I imagine (and there certainly is a lot of imagination involved when extrapolating from a tasting of juice) they will be lighter and brighter in style. One juice destined for the 2013 Blanc Fumé de Pouilly showed a particularly rich colour and good ripeness, but all showed an appealing tension. Obviously I haven’t written any notes, as it would be nonsense to do so, but hopefully I will be able to revisit these wines once fermentations are finished next year.

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