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

Friday, 16 March 2018

Loire – a few dates for your diary


Central Loire:

31st March - 2nd April: Reuilly 65th Fête du Vin et de la Gastronomie

31st March - 2nd April: Châteaumeillant, Foire aux Vins


7th and 8th April: VinaViva, Saint-Étienne de Chigny 

26th-27th May: VitiLoire, Tours 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

March lunch at Newtonmore's Letterbox Restaurant

View from restaurant onto Main Street, Newtonmore

 Netta – my special guest

We profited from the restarting of weekday meals at the Letterbox – an early sign of spring – by enjoying lunch there today, which was made even better with the 20% lunchtime discount during March.

During the winter the Letterbox is just open for dinner at the weekends but now we are in March the restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner. Unlike many restaurants all the food is freshly prepared on the premises, so no question of heating up pre-prepared dishes. 

CRM and I both took a glass of very agreeable 2015 South African Sauvignon Blanc. 

The Letterbox is definitely recommended for either lunch (cash only) or dinner (cards accepted).  

 Tagliatelle with mushroom, pesto and cream sauce

 Tagliatelle with salmon and Parma ham

Haggis in filo pastry and vegetables


 The chef going through the dessert menu with Netta

 Apple and plum pie

 Choux bun with cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

2017 Éclat de granite, Côte Roannaise, Domaine Sérol

This is my first 2017 from the Côte Roannaise. Eclat de granite is na early bottling from Domaine Sérol, one of the best domaines in the Côte Roannaise. This long established estate is now run by Stéphane and Carine Sérol. Granite is the predominant soil here and Gamay, the sole grape variety permitted. 

The 2017 Eclat is delicious with soft vibrant red fruits and an attractive texture. This is very much a wine to enjoy its youthful fruit rather than to analyse. Another good vintage from this far flung part of the Loire.