2010 Les Jardins de Babylone, Jurançon, Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau
et Guy Pautrat.
This Jurançon Moelleux is the epitome of what a great producer can achieve with Petit Manseng. The light golden liquid is intensely sparkling and clinging to the glass with the vehemence of a pitbull, this has the density of liquid mercury. If this wine resembles the Baylonian hanging gardens, they must have been full of fruit baskets. This wine immediately takes me back to visiting the fruit market in Cavaillon in the summer, with tons of ripe fruit on display under the Mediterranean sun. Did I mention fruit already? We have a real smorgasbord here : apricot and ripe peaches, sweet melon, golden raisins, carambola (star fruit ), mango, lychee, apple sauce, etc. This whirlwind of fruit is backed up by soft floral tones, honey and exotic spices like lemon grass and ginger preserve. If that isn’t enough there’s also a scent of dry hay and at the very end a wonderful minerality, the smell of wet rocks. The complexity and abundance is simply stunning. The aromas alone make me fear I’ll run out of superlatives before the end of my tasting note. On the palate the same avalanche of tastes and sensations, obviously leaning towards sweetness but again finishing with great minerality and lasting about half a minute or more, extraordinary for a white wine. On whether it was balanced out opinions were divided, sure there is acidity to tone down the sweetness, according to me just a pinch too little to make this a perfect wine, but it’s close enough and this way at least a half liter bottle can go a long way. Benjamin had huge footsteps to fill after Didier died in a tragic accident in 2008, but if this wine is an example of what he is capable of, we can rest assured the legacy is in more than capable hands.