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

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The First Chenin Blanc Congress in Angers: 1st - 3rd July 2019

1-3 July 19

Le mot de la Présidente

Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncer que le Val de Loire accueille le 1st Chenin blanc International Congress à Angers, les 1,2 et 3 juillet 2019.

Cette première édition est co-organisée par l’Académie du Chenin et Destination Angers en partenariat avec Interloire, la Fédération Viticole d’Anjou Saumur, la Fédération des Associations Viticoles d’Indre et Loire et de la Sarthe, l’Université de Stellenbosh et la South African Chenin Blanc Association.

Ce congrès destiné aux professionnels du monde viticole, s’inscrit dans la continuité des colloques de 1996 sur les Terroirs viticoles ( INRA Angers), de 2003 sur les Paysages de vignes et de vins ( Union des Œnologues de France/INRA Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud), des trois éditions de 2002, 2003, 2004 des Rendez-vous du chenin ( Union des œnologues de France) et de la journée d’étude : Chenin de 2015 ( Musée de la Vigne et du vin, St Lambert du Lattay).

De dimension internationale, il est un lieu de rencontres et de débats sur l’avenir du Chenin blanc face aux défis de la viticulture mondiale, défis environnementaux, climatiques, économiques, sociétaux et culturels du XXI° siècle.

Le comité scientifique prépare un programme exceptionnel, conforme à notre engagement d’excellence face à l’innovation, l’expertise et la créativité du monde viticole.
Ce congrès international met en avant le cépage Chenin blanc, sa versatilité, sa singularité et ses terroirs.

Evelyne de Pontbriand
Présidente du Chenin Blanc International Congress
Présidente de l’Académie du Chenin


It is with great pleasure that we announce that the Loire Valley will host the 1st International Chenin Blanc Congress in Angers, on July 1, 2 and 3, 2019.
This first edition is co-organised by the Académie du Chenin and Destination Angers in partnership with Interloire, the Fédération Viticole d’Anjou Saumur, the Fédération des Associations Viticoles d’Indre et Loire et de la Sarthe, the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa and the South African Chenin Blanc Association.
This congress aimed for the Wine industry is in keeping with the different symposiums  on Chenin blanc, Terroirs and Landscapes organized from 1996 to 2004 (Royal Abbey of Fontevraud) as well as the 2015 Chenin  Study Day (Museum of Vine and Wine, St Lambert du Lattay).
With an international scope, this congress is a place to meet and debate about the future of Chenin Blanc faced with the challenges of global viticulture, i.e. the environmental, climatic, economic, societal and cultural challenges of the 21st Century.
The Scientific Committee is preparing an exceptional program, in keeping with our commitment to excellence with respect to innovation, expertise and creativity of the wine trade.
This international congress showcases the Chenin Blanc grape varietal, its versatility, its uniqueness and its terroirs.

Evelyne de Pontbriand
Chenin Blanc International Congress President
Académie du Chenin Presiden

Nick Faith, 2018 Loire, Paris-Tours highlights Vouvray

Au revoir Nick

2005 – Nick Faith receiving the 2004 André Simon Drinks Book Award 

The eminent journalist and writer, Nick Faith, died on Wednesday 26th September at the age of 85. He was born in London on 6th July 1933.

I was privileged to get to know Nick when he joined the Circle of Wine Writers around 1996. He was a great support for me when editing Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers. For a number of years he checked the newsletter for libel.

Nick was a leading authority on Cognac as well as writing detailed and impressive accounts of the Cruse scandal in Bordeaux in The Winemasters (1978), which won him an André Simon Drinks Book Award, and The Bronfmans: The Rise and Fall of the House of Seagram on the once powerful Canadian drinks family.  Railways were another of his passions and interests.

Nick will be sadly missed.

Farewell Nick Faith by Jancis Robinson MW


2018 Saumur & Saumur-Champigny

Cab F@Bonnellière

Cab F @Champigny 

CF + mildew 

Last Thursday we made a quick dash through Saumur-Champigny to see how the 2018 vintage is progressing before heading off for an excellent lunch at Vincent le Cuisinier de Campagne , Ingrandes de Touraine.

We had time to drop in on three producers – Anton Sanzay, Domaine de la Bonnelière (Bonneau Frères)  and Rocheville (Agnès et Philippe Porché). There was a interesting variation in picking times. Both Antoine Sanzay and Rocheville had finished – Antoine on Tuesday evening while Rocheville were right at the very end of picking. In contrast the Bonneau brothers were barely halfway through their harvest. Cédric Bonneau explained that they had started the reds a week ago and that the tannins in the skins and pips remained strong, so they were taking their time with still a week's picking ahead. They still had all the vineyards on the coteaux (clay-limestone) to harvest.

All three were understandably very happy with how clean the fruit is this year with virtually no sign of rot. Serious losses from mildew has been a problem in parts of the Loire. None of these three domaines had suffered from serious losses. As elsewhere a limited amount of mildew damage was quite useful as 2018 was potentially a very big crop losing some grapes through mildew meant that a green harvest wasn't necessary.

Driving through the Saumur-Champigny vineyards it was apparent that there was still a substantial amount of grapes to be picked.


Paris-Tours Classic has Vouvray make-over

The Paris-Tours course from La Nouvelle République

Details of the white roads and steep climbs around the Vouvray Appellation

Doubtless inspired by the Vouvray articles on our blog (Les 5 du Vin), the organisers of the Paris-Tours classic bike race changed this year's edition run last Sunday (7th October) from the traditional route. Instead of featuring some steep hills and narrow roads to the south of Tours, farm tracks and short steep hills in the Vouvray were featured in the last part of the race. The 2018 edition was won by Søren Kragh Andersen, who broke away from his two breakaway companions with 10 kilometres remaining to win on his own.

The race is often known as a sprinters' classic. Over recent years wins have been shared between sprinters and breakaway specialists. If the change to farm tracks and short steep climbs is continued then it is very unlikely that Paris-Tours will ever come down to a big bunch sprint again as the farm tracks rapidly blew the race apart with numerous punctures caused by sharp stones.

The new route made great TV watching but caused a mixed reaction amongst the riders and their team managers – some loved it while others said that farm tracks have no place in road racing.

Paris-Tours was first run in 1896 making it one of the oldest bike races in the world.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Guess the vintage?

Vintage ?

A glass of Bourgueil from Lamé-Delisle-Boucard – which vintage please?