Thursday, September 18, 2008
It is tough to eulogize someone whom you have never met. It is somewhat less tough to eulogize someone whom you have never met, but whose work you respect and admire. My very limited experience with Didier Dagueneau's work involves three wines: 2003 Pur Sang, 2004 Blanc Fume and 2005 Pur Sang. All three wines were deeply thought provoking, and I would say that two of the three were amongst the best expressions of Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tasted. I have not yet tasted Dagueneau's most famous achievement, Silex, though I look forward to drinking it one day and toasting the maestro.
Most of what the media said about Dagueneau was that he was a trailblazer, a man who took chances both in winemaking and in his personal life. A man with wild, unkempt hair, dressed in overalls, who some might call 'unpredictable.' In a field of wild personalities, Didier apparently stood right at the top in both his ability to impress with his wines and confound with his eccentricities. As much as we wine lovers will miss him, I think of all of the young vignerons with whom he shared knowledge and offered encouragement. Francois Chidaine, I am told, was particularly close with Didier, as I imagine were many other winemakers.
To the family of Mr. Dagueneau, his colleagues in the Loire valley and anyone else who has come to know and love the man, I'm deeply sorry for your loss. The wine world is losing one of its most passionate and talented vignerons all too early.