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Didier Dagueneau RIP
Copyright Bertrand Celce
We visited Didier Dagueneau this summer to taste the 2007s and the bottled 2006s.
Didier had recently renovated The Temple, an ancient chapel next to his home which had fallen into ruin. He had decided to turn the Temple into a cultural center and had mounted an exhibition of Jean-Marie Périer's photography for its inauguration this summer. Périer was the most famous French photographer of the 1960s and the Temple was filled with photos of celebrities from that epoch.
Didier took us on a tour and Denyse and I had to name each celebrity. Of course, even I know Claude François but only Denyse knew Dani, Sylvie Vartan and Sheila. I didn't recognize Françoise Hardy but I did recognize Jacques Dutronc. Dylan, the Rolling Stones and all the stars of the Anglophone world were easy enough for me.
You could see how proud and joyful Didier was of putting together such an art show. While we were in the Temple, Didier talked about how every year he organizes a lavish dinner called Les Anciens, where he invites all the older vignerons of the area for a great meal, old bottles and good times. Didier was a maverick and a rebel, but he had great respect and love for all these anciens, like Edmond Vatan and Claude Thomas, who had taught him his métier.
Didier Dagueneau died this morning, September 17th, in a small plane crash in the Cognac region. The wine world has lost a great vigneron and the world has lost one of the most original, charming and mischievous characters to ever grace a vineyard row.