Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 24 September 2017

2017 Loire – Vincent Roussely, AC Touraine

 Vincent Roussely with two handfuls of 
Pineau d'Aunis picked on Saturday

Last Monday (18th September) on our way to the Central Vineyards we dropped in to see Vincent Roussely at his winery in Angé. Vincent was well into his 2017 harvest, having started on 4th September, with all his Sauvignon Blanc now picked. 

"The Sauvignon Blanc has great potential," enthused Vincent. "The potential alcohol is between 13.5% and 13.7% with 5.0 acidity. In terms of volume 2017 is much better than last year when we were badly frosted – making only 9 hl/ha. This year we are at 35 hl/ha I am happy with that." 

Vincent is organic, so accepts that his yields are likely to be well below the level that producers who use a range of chemicals on their vines can expect to achieve. 

He is waiting for his Cabernet to ripen properly.    
 Vincent in his cellar at Angé with his amphore

 Sauvignon Blanc in the amphore 

 Vincent with his series of small vats that allows 
him to vinify small parcels of his vines separately

 Vincent has been very go-ahead with wine tourism 
– this is part of his shop

A selection of local goats' cheese (chèvre)
Sauvignon Blanc is a great match

 More shelves and a pink couch for the boss's siesta


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Paulée Nantaise: a great initiative involving Muscadet producers and restaurants in Nantes

Paulée Nantaise, 26th,27th and 28th October 2017
Following two years – 2016 and 2017 – when severe April frosts have hit producers in the Pays Nantais, this is an excellent initiative involving domaines in the Pays Nantais and 30 restaurants in Nantes.  Each domaine involved has teamed up with a particular restaurant – see details below. 

The aim is to raise money to pay for frost protection in the local vineyards, in particular buying and installing wind machines. It is great to see the producers and the restaurants in Nantes working together as in the past the city of Nantes has all too often not shown any great interest in vineyards that are largely to the south of the city. At least 50% of the takings from the evening meals in the where the vignerons will present their wines during a meal.

If you happen to be in the area at the end of October this is an excellent opportunity to help an excellent list of local wine producers including many of the areas top estates. 

It looks like this initiative has inspired producers, who have also recently suffered frost damage in 2016 and 2017, and restaurants in Anjou to organise a similar event to aid the local wine producers.   

Communiqué de Presse
'Ces chefs solidaires des vignerons

Les 26, 27 et 28 octobre prochains à Nantes, 30 chefs s’associent avec autant de vignerons pour proposer dans leur restaurant une soirée exceptionnelle en accords mets et vins. Cette initiative originale vise à soutenir les vignerons de l’aire d’appellation du Muscadet dont les vignes ont été, une fois de plus, durement touchées par les intempéries.

Lors de ces soirées, chaque chef accueillera, dans son restaurant, le vigneron associé et travaillera ses vins en accords aux plats. 50%, au minimum, du chiffre d’affaires réalisé lors de ces dîners seront reversés sous forme de dons à l’association L’é.paulée nantaise, qui redistribuera, équitablement, la totalité de la somme aux vignerons participants. 

« Je vous sollicite suite aux différents coups de fil passés aux vignerons avec qui je travaille. Ils ont été, une fois encore, durement touchés par le gel. Par endroits, jusqu’à 100% des récoltes sont détruites ! Ne pourrait-on pas, le temps d’une soirée, afficher notre solidarité ? » Lorsqu’au mois de mai dernier, Nicolas Guiet, chef de l’ à Nantes, écrit à ses confrères pour les alerter sur la situation des vignerons et leur proposer son idée, tous affichent leur solidarité et répondent favorablement.
« La région nantaise a souvent tourné le dos à son vignoble. Nous ne pouvons faire de même avec cette génération de vignerons, qui a bousculé les traditions pour tendre vers une expression du terroir, un artisanat de qualité tout en préservant respectueusement notre environnement. Les vignerons nous ont toujours soutenus, à nous de leur rendre la pareille ! »
L’association L’é.paulée Nantaise renouvellera ce type d’opérations si besoin. Elle souhaite par ailleurs provoquer un élan d’une plus grande ampleur en France et à l’étranger. « D’autres vignerons sont touchés ailleurs. Incitons les chefs à créer partout des réseaux d’entre-aide ! Donnons encore plus de sens à nos métiers ! » 

Les maisons participantes /
Le Pavillon / Domaine des Hautes Noëlles ; L’Atlantide 1874 Maison Guého / Domaine de Bellevue ; Analude / Château du Coing ; Le Baco Saveurs / Domaine Bruno Cormerais ; Lamaccotte / Domaine Landron Chartier ; Le Plan B. / Domaine Julien Braud ; Clémence / Domaine Ménard Gaborit ; Le Laurier Fleuri / Domaines Chéreau Carré ; Pickle’s / Domaine Brégeon ; Lulu Rouget / Domaine de l’Ecu ; La Raffinerie / Domaine de l’Aujardière ; L’Atelier d’Alain / Vignoble Malidain ; La Poissonnerie mais pas que / Domaine Bonnet Huteau ; Les Caudalies / Domaine Luneau Papin ; Le Café du musée des Arts / Domaine de la Brégeonnette ; L’ / Domaine Fay d’Homme ; Les Brassés / Château les Aveneaux ; L’ardoise / Domaine de la Paonnerie ; Le Clos du Cellier / Domaine du Grand Chatelier ; Le Restaurant du Pont / Domaine du Haut Bourg ; Le Bistrot de l’Alchimiste / La famille Lieubeau ; Les Chants d’Avril / Domaine Complémen’terre ; L’instinct Gourmand / Domaine de la Foliette ; Le Manoir de la Boulaie / Domaine Landron ; Song Saveurs et Sens / La Tour Gallus ; Le Petit Boucot / Domaine de la Pepeiere ; Bé2M / Domaine des Cognettes ; L’O Deck / Domaine Poiron Dabin ; La Cascade / Domaine Luneau ; A Boire et à Manger / Domaine de la Sénéchalière.

Contact L’é.paulée Nantaise : /

Friday, 22 September 2017

2017 Loire – a generally promising vintage – my impression so far

After a week on the road we are now back in our base in the Cher Valley. Time to relax, reflect on what we have seen, heard and tasted as well as get out on the bike to work off any additional pounds gained. 

Since we arrived in the Loire we have been to the following appellations looking at vineyards, talking to producers and often tasting the recently pressed juice or juice that has recently started fermenting. ACs: Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Fiefs Vendéens, Touraine, Menetou-Salon, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Bourgueil, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Saumur-Champigny and Saumur. We have not yet had time to visit Anjou nor indeed any of the vineyards of the Upper Loire.

The vintage is a  truly magical time of the year! I am always grateful for the time that so many producers give me at this very busy period. It's a great privilege!

My overall impression – though I agree it is still early days –   is that 2017 is a good to very promising vintage. Tasting juice from Muscadet to Pouilly I have found that they all have weight of fruit, are very clean, precise and well balanced. 

The major concern, of course is the loss of crop due to the late April frosts. However, the effects are very variable with, of all the places, we have visited  Muscadet being the worst hit but this is very variable with some producers barely affected to those who have lost virtually all of their 2017 crop. Picking will now be over in Muscadet and a substantial proportion of the crop in Sancerre will have been picked by the middle of next. 

In contrast most of the Cabernet Franc in Saumur, Saumur-Champigny, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Bourgueil and Chinon has yet to be picked. Many producers are planning to start this coming Monday. 

For the moment the weather forecast is good more settled than the first part of the month, which has been quite wet after a dry summer and sometimes very hot summer. 

One producer I saw today thought 2017 might be as good as 2005. Maybe but the September rains must have brought some dilution, although below the top soil the ground remains very dry. 

Time early next week to have a look at Montlouis and Vouvray.

Over the next few days I plan to post more detailed reports on individual appellations.