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

Saturday, 6 February 2016

PUBLIC MEETING - Save Lewisham Libraries: Tuesday 7th February

PUBLIC MEETING - Save Lewisham Libraries
Tuesday 9 February - 7pm
New Cross Learning
283-285 New Cross Road
SE14 6AS

As strikes begin across South London to defend library services, come to our public meeting to hear the latest on the fight for libraries in Lewisham and to get involved with our campaign.

With speakers:
Alan Gibbons - children's author and library campaigner
Chrissie Gittins - Lewisham Writer in Residence
Kathy Smith - Bromley libraries striker
Jenny Leow - student healthworker, NHS bursaries campaign
Plus Save Lewisham Libraries campaigners

Please invite your friends on facebook and share our event.

Speak Up for Libraries - Lobby of parliament
Tuesday 9 February
The national Speak up for Libraries campaign will be holding a lobby in Westminster next week.
Full details at:

Support striking library workers:
Send messages of support for Lambeth, Greenwich and Bromley libraries to


Follow us on Facebook!
Save Lewisham Libraries now has a Facebook page. Give us a 'like'  for all the latest news here.

Friday, 5 February 2016

2016 Salon des Vins de Loire: some photos from Tuesday 2nd February

Côtes d'Auvergne + IPG

It was very good to see Annie Sauvat and Michel Blot again. I visited them in Boudes away back in August 2009. They continue to make good wine and I was pleased to see that Michel is still as Feisty as ever!

 Annie Sauvat 

 Michel Blot

 Romain Redde, Domaine Michel Redde 
with their new cuvée:  2014 Barre à Mine: from their vineyard 
in an old quarry 

New président of the Savennières Syndicat 

Anjou Coteaux de la Loire  

Angelique Gabrielle, Châteaumeillant

Juli Roumet: iPhotographer 


Thursday, 4 February 2016

2016 Salon des Vins de Loire – some echoes

The First Salon des Vins de Loire was in 1987 and to date it hasn't missed a year since not even following the terrible frost of April 1991. Despite some voices saying that it should be called off the 1992 edition went ahead. My first Salon was in January 1990 and I have been to every edition since.
The biggest threat the Salon now faces is Prowein, which has grown enormously over the last decade and a number of significant producers have decided to opt for the Dusseldorf and miss the Loire Salon. Late in the day the organisers of the Salon found a place and a formula for organic La Levée de la Loire last year. This year they have added a Demeter (biodynamic) fair as well. They have also included a section that highlights 'Young Producers', which is good news.  
Monday attracted a good crowd and my impression was that this first  is that this edition is busier than last year. Predictably Tuesday was quieter and Wednesday very calm but good news for those of us who want to taste at the most popular stands but don't want to fight through the crowds. 
Some echoes
Châteaumeillant: up to 25 growers
Châteaumeillant, Georges Sand country, has a strong claim to be the most isolated of Loire appellations. Quincy and Reuilly are the two Loire appellations closest to Châteaumeillant – just under 70 kilometres away for Reuilly and just over 70 kms for Quincy. In both cases it's an hour's drive away or more. 
Despite being isolated the appellation, which was promoted from VDQS to AOC in June 2010, has undergone a revolution in the past five years. In 2010 there were just four or five producers with the Cave Coop counting for an important part of the small production of Châteaumeillant. Since then, due to the closure of the Co-op some two years and a number of producers selling up or retiring, the number of producers has jumped to 25, although the area under vine hasn't increased significantly. 
A number of the new producers have come from Quincy, an all white appellation, attracted by the possibility of making red and rosé to augment their portfolios. Quincy producers, who have moved into Châteaumeillant, include Lecomte, Roux, Jacques Rouzé and Domaines Siret. Joseph Mellot also has a small parcel in the AC.  
Ludo and Sophie Ragot have sold their fine Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil with the new owners taking over in March.
Having handed over the Château de Tracy (Pouilly-Fumé) vineyards to his sisters, Comte Henry d'Assay has set up a négociant business – SAS Comte Henry d'Assay.
After some 20 years this is expected to be the last Salon des Vins de Loire that Gérard Pelletier will be welcoming vignerons, importers and press to his excellent restaurant – Le Relais. At the age of 62 Gérard has decided to embark on a second life. Thank you Gérard and we wish you a long and enjoyable retirement.