2018 Didier Dagueneau Silex
Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre are the global benchmarks for Sauvignon Blanc, and there is no bigger name or more highly regarded producer in the area than Domaine Didier Dagueneau. Now under the guidance of Didier's talented son Louis-Benjamin, the wines still follow his ethos that authentic Pouilly Fumé requires healthy fruit from low yielding, old vines to produce the purest, most intense and vibrantly fresh wine. That's not to say these wines are typical of the appellation. Given the severly low yields and approach to élevage, Dagueneau wines emphasise a creamy texture rather than bracing acidity, and combine mineral flavours with exotic fruits to supreme effect.
In many ways the ultimate Dagueneau wine, Silex is super-mineral, pure and crystalline, and is typically driven, intense and very long-lived. Silex means flint and this wine is produced only from the flint-rich soils on the north-facing slopes of the hill of Saint-Andelain. The vines here mostly range between 35 and 65 years old, and yields are kept lower than most other vineyards. Silex is fermented and aged in the famed Dagueneau cigar-shaped barrels as well as other casks.
Perhaps the most famous of the Dagueneau cuvées, the 2018 Silex is flowing and accessible on entry, but then it coils and tightens. The silex (flint) soil gives firmness, imbuing structure and steely tension. Power and concentration combine, providing an almost waxy texture on the finish. Flavors of spiced apples, almonds and pastry linger. It's just not quite as long as expected. Tasted over three days. Drink 2021 - 2028.
Rebecca Gibb MW - Vinous