Didier Dagueneau was one of the most formidable and talented winemakers in France. He died on Wednesday, September 17th in the morning, after the ultralight plane he was piloting apparently stalled soon after takeoff. He was 52 years old.
With really only Edmond Vatan as his inspiration, he demanded a severity and a purity of his wines that was matched only by the severity of his personality. He raced motorcycles, was an avid dogsled racer and later took up flying as a part of his in-your-face, daredevil personality. As a winemaker, he was no less outspoken and he criticized, loudly, those winemakers he saw cutting corners, or not living up to the potential of their vineyards. While he was controversial, he was also greatly respected and his wines undeniably given a sort of "Grand Cru" status in the Loire region.
Click here to read Eric Asimov's official obituary, published on Thursday in the New York Times.