There is a quirk to my personality that glories in the underdog (there has to be a reason I am a Quin’s supporter) and relishes the fall of Goliath. So when a good friend produced a bottle of the infamous Didier Dagueneau Silex 2008 on Saturday night, there was a momentary flicker of malicious excitement as I prepared to be delightfully underwhelmed in the face of such an awesome reputation.
Well, I am glad that I wasn’t wearing a hat, as it would have taken some chewing. Despite being a hardened Sauvignon Blanc sceptic, the wine could only be described as sublime. Three days later, shunted around on an over-crowded, sweaty, rush hour tube; squeezed between garlic breath on my left and BO armpits on my right; I could withdraw into the sanctuary of the memory that is the Silex.
It was quite a line up we had on Saturday night, but the Silex stood out from the crowd, glowing with an ethereal elegance, the like of which hasn’t been seen since Ingrid Bergman graced our screens in Casablanca. What I prize in a wine is understated power and grace and this, the Silex has in spades. It wasn’t all bulging muscle and posturing, that was more the remit of the Pur Sang, but it had the incredible concentration, the effortless fluidity of mineral weight, spiced lemon grass, dried herbs and sun-baked stone as the flavours ebbed and flowed against your consciousness. The great wines don’t require words. The quiet smiles and unanimous silence around the table spoke volumes.
Suffice to say the 2011’s have just arrived in the Bancroft warehouses and my name is now on a case.