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translation missing: en.ACellars Newsletter, 20th May, 2021: ACellars Newsletter, 20th May, 2021

Didier Dagueneau

Didier Dagueneau: the iconoclastic winemaker that changed a variety - Sauvignon Blanc - and a region forever. A rogue by nature, Didier was a thrill seeker and risk taker. Be it motorcycle racing, dog sled racing (which he won European and World Championships competing in) or winemaking, Didier set out to challenge the existing conventions. He applied his relentless drive, impeccable standards and attention to detail to succeed in whatever he set his sights on.

Didier was the fourth generation of winemaker in his family. He was deeply influenced by his father Louis Dagueneau, as well as luminaries such as Denis Dubourdieu, who managed many top estates in Bordeaux, and one of the kings of Burgundy, the great Henri Jayer. We talk about influencers a lot these days - these are the kind of influencers that actually matter. These prominent figures in Didier's life helped shape his style, views and beliefs about the importance of terroir and how best to express it, utilising modern techniques in the winery with a very traditional and timeless approach in the vineyard.

This balance of old and new is what sets Didier apart from so many of the pack. The understanding that the soil is the soul of the vineyard and needs to be respected means extra attention is required in the vineyard at all times. The Domaine employs nearly double the vineyard workers of other wineries in their region. They avoid the usage of tractors in most sites to avoid soil compaction and only minimal application of treatments in the vineyard including copper, which many organic and biodynamic vineyards use far from sparingly!

They crop at yields that are on average 75% lower than their neighbours and all grapes are hand picked and manually de-stemmed. The fruit is gently pressed in the cellar, cold settled and then racked into unique cigar-shaped barrels for fermentation. The wine is then left on lees for a year in oak and racked to stainless steel to rest for another six months. The wines are not fined or filtered so as to retain their purity, and no enzymes are used to treat the wines either.
Upon release the wines are tightly coiled, precise and detailed expressions of Sauvignon Blanc that are closer to White Burgundy in style than any New World Sauvignon Blanc that we know of. Like great White Burgundy and unlike most Sauvignon Blanc, these wines are meant to be aged and with cellaring the wines expand in presence, weight, power and poise. These wines are right at the top of the apex of white wines produced globally, and arguably the best expressions of Sauvignon Blanc produced. Pete and I were lucky enough to try one, and well... The Silex was one of the best white wines we have ever had the pleasure of tasting; a humbling experience. An experience that last year, we decided to film. More on that below.

Unfortunately in 2008, Didier died in a plane crash leaving his Domaine to his family and some very big shoes to fill. Luckily for us, his son, Louis-Benjamin, has taken over the Domaine and anyone who has tried these wines would agree that Louis-Benjamin has maintained the unwavering attention to detail that Didier poured into every wine. The wines have never looked better.

Now, we were fortunate enough to have been able to try the 2017 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex last year and filmed our reactions for an episode of Is It Called Wine Time?! We had planned to release it that week, however a very lucky customer swooped in and bought all the wines about an hour after we filmed the video, so we've held off from releasing it until now.
It's a privilege to be able to offer you these wines. Some of the finest expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, and some of the most highly sought after wines in the world.

In this week's episode of Is It Called Wine Time?!, Pete and Felix pop the cork on an incredibly rare bottle of 2017 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex. Tune in here to see our thoughts on this amazing producer, and very special wine.




This week Fresh Drops is all about Cantina Giardino. A fresh release with a fresh new look! There has been lots of chatter on social media about their new labels - many hate them... many love them. We are team LOVE!

The wines have never looked better in more ways than one and this release includes some of our favourite wines they make, like Paski! Not just Giorgio's (the importer of Cantina Giardino) very cute dog, but also a sensational wine.
Here are our thoughts on the wines -

2019 TAra Ra Greco
T'ara'ra means "seize the moment" and after a bottle of this you’ll feel inspired. Grippy and primary, the wine is great on it’s own or to kick off a meal or party with. - Pete L

2019 Paski Coda di Volpe Bianco
Old vine Coda di Volpa grown organically at 450m asl and fermented naturally on skins for a few days. This is a fun, energetic and generous wine from Cantina Giardino in the hills of Campania. Unfiltered, unfined, unbelievable. - Chris L

2019 Volpe Rosa Code di Volpe Rosato
The Coda di Volpe Rosso embodies the ethos of Cantina Giardino - old vine native varietals farmed organically and produced naturally from Campania. Made from Montemarano and Paternopoli this light red (basically Rose) is seductive and charming with it's negroni-like aromas and fine structure. A bit of volatile acidity here, but I think it works really well in this wine. - Chris L

Click here to see the new Cantina Giardinos!


Pierre Yves Colin Morey 2019
Release #1

One of the rising stars in the new wave of Burgundy producers is Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, or PYCM for short. PYCM’s wines are becoming more and more sought after globally and for good reason. Based in Chassagne Montrachet, PYCM makes wines from a myriad of sites across the Cote de Beaune and a few red cuvees from sites in the Cote de Nuits, such as Vosne Romanee for example.

His whites are hallmarked by a classic gun flint reduction, aged in 350L French oak barrels which helps to retain energy and freshness while minimising creaminess and oak spice in the wines. His entry level wines always present some of the best value Burgundy whites on offer each year, and as a team we always make sure to taste a bottle of the Bourgogne Blanc and Bourgogne Aligote as soon as we can.

As is common these days, a lot of the wines are consumed on release and will certainly benefit from air, if that is your plan. But we strongly recommend putting the wines down for a spell, to give them a chance to truly show themselves. A bit of time in the cellar helps these wines gain layers of complexity, filling out and making for a much more exciting drinking experience.

As always there are two releases from this producer each year with the higher tier wines to follow in a few months. Don’t sleep on these as there is never enough to go around, especially for the Bourgogne Blanc and Aligote.

Get your PYCMs here!