April’s auctions were a chance for lovers of rare bottles to get their hands on some of the highly-coveted produce of the Loire’s Domaine Dagueneau.
This estate has made quite a name for itself in the Loire since its creation in 1982 by the emblematic Didier Dagueneau. Quickly becoming the talk of the town for his (at the time) unconventional methods, including sustainable growing and debudding to manage yields, Didier let his intuition lead him, though we mustn’t ignore the careful and conscientious work that pushed this kinship with the vineyard into action. His son Louis-Benjamin followed in the footsteps of his father after the latter’s unfortunate death in 2008, continuing at the Pouilly-Fumé domain as well as pursuing new projects with vines in Sancerre (Le Mont Damné) and Jurançon (Jardins de Babylone). Distinguished as Vintner of the year in 2016 by La Revue du vin de France, Louis-Benjamin has succeeded in proudly relaying his father’s legacy whilst also standing out on his own terms. In fact, such is his desire to craft wine following a self-made philosophy that one of his cuvées was refused by the Pouilly-Fumé appellation committee in 2017. His wines are all now sold under a Vin de France label, a move that has become a symbol of choice in the Loire, with many producers breaking away from the official criteria of the appellations.
This domain’s produce is highly coveted, with great success for collectors’ bottles vinified by Didier and more recent vintages alike, the latter embodying the new generation of Dagueneau spirit. French clients still make up half of all buyers of these bottles, but bidders from across the world rushed to get their hands on one of the 468 Dagueneau cuvées put up for auction on iDealwine last year. With our region-by-region ranking for 2020 now established in our Barometer, we can confirm that Domaine Dagueneau was the Loire’s second best-selling property, with only Clos Rougeard pipping it to the post.
Rarities and collectors’ bottles
Last month, Dagueneau bottles as rare as they are exceptional featured on the platform. Memento Mori is a cuvée that was crafted to pay homage, for which Louis-Benjamin set aside the produce of a parcel usually used to make Silex, the Pouilly-Fumé estate’s landmark wine. In its 2018 vintage, this cuvée – making its first appearance at iDealwine – was given an estimated price of €798, but skyrocketed in its success, eventually selling for a top bid of €1,474! Note that a Pouilly-Fumé Silex was also put up for auction last month in a magnum format, another mark of rarity for the wines of this domain; fewer than a dozen bottles like this were auctioned at iDealwine throughout the whole of 2020. The 2002 vintage is worth mentioning, too; a particularly accomplished vintage, the Sauvignon of this year is especially pure, coming from vines aged between 25 and 60 years, a bottle of which sold for €675 (+32%). Almost unfindable, the Paradoxe cuvée, also made from the Silex parcel, is distinguished for its particularly ripe grapes. Another expression of Sauvignon vinified by Didier Dagueneau, going under the hammer for €682. Finally, let’s consider one of the domain’s collectors’ bottles, produced in miniscule quantities from non-grafted vines that were spared the blight of phylloxera, another cuvée for which Didier harvested the grapes at a late maturity. In its 2015 vintage, this rarity sold for €1,105 (+20%). It’s clear that Pouilly-Fumé wines continue to attract keen bids from eager wine lovers. Connoisseurs would do well to keep an eye on the other domains owned by Louis-Benjamin…