This branch of the Dagueneau family headed by father Serge is based in Saint Andelain and owns 17 hectares of old vineyards across several of the prime sites of the appellation. Today the estate is run by Serge's daughter Valerie, a cousin of the late Didier Dagueneau, though Serge still helps out in the vineyard.
While the calcareous soil in the vineyards give the wines ample structure and the ability to age for five or more years, the vineyards of Poiully Fume typically have more clay and depth than the poorer more chalky soils of neighbouring Sancerre. This is particularly so in the prime area of Saint Andelain where most of the family's vineyard holdings are located.
Here the wines still show clear and intense varietal Sauvignon Blanc character but the heavier soil adds texture and generosity to the palate. Whilst this does give them immediate appeal, with 5 to 10 years bottle age they take on a honeyed richness reminiscent of white Burgundy.
The work in the vineyard does not have certified organic or biodynamic status (though some vineyards are trialing bio-dynamics as of 2018) and their work is perhaps best described as viticulture raisonnée. The soils are partly planted with cover crops, and partly ploughed, and the family have reduced their dependence on herbicides, in recent years. Today there are 18 ha planted to Sauvignon blanc in the Pouilly Fume appellation and roughly 1 ha planted to Chasselas for the Pouilly sur Loire appellation. These particular vines are ancient, aged more than one hundred years, and they are propagated by the age-old method of marcottage. Most of these vines are planted on Kimmeridgian marl, one of the classic terroirs of both appellations.
The Dagueneau’s also have an old 100% Chasselas vineyard in Pouilly-sur-Loire which was planted just after phylloxera struck in the late nineteenth century. Located beside an old Roman cobblestone road on the route to Paris, this remarkable vineyard is now over 120 years old.
These prime vineyard sites located so close to the Loire have been rewarding travelers with wonderfully refreshing wines for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
2016 Pouilly-sur-Loire La Centenaire
100% Chasselas from vines planted 1895. The fruit is picked by hand, and the vinification is in stainless steel, and it is bottled within a few months of the harvest. Restrained and racy with intriguing notes of anise and almost briny oyster shell minerality on the super sleek and delicately sculpted palate.
“The Chasselas “la Centenaire” from the Dagueneau family is produced from a parcel that is over one hundred years of age. The grapes are hand-picked and fermented in stainless steel, with the wine bottled the following March after the harvest. The 2014 version offers up a beautiful bouquet of apple, melon, sweet nuttiness, a complex base of soil and a touch of orange zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and impressively complex, with a superb core of fruit, bright acids and excellent length and grip on the soil-driven finish. Picture a high quality Pouilly-Fumé made from Chasselas, instead of Sauvignon Blanc. Fine juice. 90.”
2016 Pouilly Fumé (750ml + 375ml)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. This is the main cuvée at this estate, coming from a number of different parcels, all planted on Kimmeridgian marl. It was vinified in stainless steel.
“The 2016 Pouilly-Fumé “les Pentes” from the Dagueneau family is really a classic and very stylish example of the appellation, wafting from the glass in a bright aromatic constellation of lime, green apple, flinty minerality, fresh-cut grass, orange peel and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with fine focus and grip, vibrant acids and excellent length and grip on the very well-balanced finish. Very classy Pouilly-Fumé. 2018-2025. 92.” John Gilman View from the Cellar October 2018
2015 Pouilly Fumé Clos des Chadoux
100% Sauvignon Blanc, hand harvested from a 1.5ha parcel of 45 year-old vines grown on clay/chalk 'terres blanches' and Kimmeridgian marls. The fruit is fully de-stemmed and is kept on skins for 10-12 hours. Made solely in stainless steel it is left to mature on lees (stirred weekly) for 8 months before racking and maturing for a further 16 months.
'The citrus-colored 2015 Pouilly-Fumé Clos des Chaudoux is very clear, intense and precise on the nose where flinty flavors intermix with white fruits and lemony flavors. Creamy and nobly elegant on the palate, this is a superbly balanced Pouilly with a subtle, well integrated acidity and a lingering, very juicy but well structured finish. The finish is excellent and really stimulating in its refreshing purity and salinity. Drink 2016-2021.' 90 points, Stephan Reinhardt, RobertParker.com, October 2016.
2017 Pouilly Fumé La Leontine
”This cuvée is made from a selection of grapes, from three parcels. The juice is fermented and raised in oak barrels aged between four and seven years, the élevage lasting one year with bâtonnage every week. I see some rather restrained but undeniably honeyed oak on the nose, with a little dried fruit, and some salted minerals too. The palate shows a charming substance and weight, nicely polished by the oak, with creamed citrus fruits, orchard fruits, peach and apricot, backed up by a pithy energy and fresh, bright acidity. An attractive energy, fresh and bright, with substantial body and polish. This has appeal, but it will need five years to soak up those oak notes. Attractive. 93/100” thewinedoctor.com, February 2019
2017 Pouilly Fumé
’The 2017 Pouilly-Fumé “les Pentes” from Serge Dagueneau and his daughter is lovely and quite expressive on the nose, with the bouquet jumping from the glass in a vibrant blend of gooseberry, lime, superb, flinty minerality, fresh-cut grass and a topnote of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied and not as together as the nose suggests, with a good
core, fine acids and plenty of grip on the long and nascently complex finish. One gets the sense that this wine is still pretty young on the palate and needs a bit more time in bottle to snap into proper focus, but all of the constituent components here are quite good and my gut instinct is all this wine needs is a few more months in the bottle to allow the palate to catch up with the fine bouquet. Perhaps the very, very short crop here because of the frosts has made this more concentrated than usual and the wine needs a bit of time to blossom? 2019-2025’
John Gilman - View from the Cellar
2018 Pouilly Fumé
“This is the main cuvée at this estate, coming from a number of different parcels, all planted on Kimmeridgian marl. It was vinified in stainless steel, and this is an early bottling of part of the finished blend, made in January before my tasting. It has a pretty nose, lightly salty, with spiced white peach, overall nicely aromatic, flinty and impressive. There follows a fresh and gently polished style, with a fine substance, gently salty and peppery, with attractive threads of citrus fruits, and a little extract and fresh acidity. An appealing result, balanced and convincing, in what is an early-released domaine-level cuvée. 93/100” thewinedoctor.com, February 2019