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

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Adegga's 50 best takeaway restaurants in Portugal

50 takeaways

From the Adegga site:

'50 Restaurantes para Comer em Casa

Do melhor hambúrguer de Lisboa ao melhor leitão da Bairrada, apresentamos sugestões imperdíveis para encomendar e partilhar com os amigos e a família

Diz o ditado que ‘mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades’, mas nós temos de discordar. Se há coisa que não dispensamos à mesa é boa comida, capaz de despertar os sentidos e confortar a alma e, à volta dela, a melhor companhia.

Por isso preparámos uma seleção de alguns dos melhores Restaurantes para Comer em Casa, que não pode deixar de consultar da próxima vez que encomendar comida para partilhar com amigos ou em família.

A lista é tão diversificada quanto tentadora: da Feijoada à Transmontana da Taberna das Flores, ao Arroz de Polvo do Gaveto, sem esquecer o Leitão à Bairrada – porque há desvios de Rota impossíveis de contornar-, difícil vai ser decidir por onde começar.'

Responding the closure of restaurants in Portugal due to Coronavirus, Adegga has produced a very useful guide to the 50 best restaurants in Portugal now offering takeaways. The selection doesn't cover the whole country instead it concentrates on restaurants in Lisbon and Porto and those within an hour of each of these cities.

Tasca d'Esquina

Tasca d'Esquina-text

As the entry for Tasca Da Esquina in Lisbon's Campo d'Ourique shows each of the 50 entries lists some of the available dishes, an indication of price, whether they also sell takeaway wine, the delivery zone, contact details and whether you can order through UberEats and Glovo. 
Unfortunately there are some minor drawbacks to this guide. Firstly, it could be financially crippling as I discover more interesting and tempting restaurants in Lisbon, in particular, that I should try. Secondly due to current air-traffic restrictions you can't order from these restaurants from outside Portugal.......

From yesterday (18th May) restaurants in Portugal have been allowed to reopen. This is an indication of Portugal's success in dealing with coronavirus.  As of Sunday 17th May Portugal had recorded 29,036 cases with 1218 deaths. This compares very favourably with its nearby countries – Spain, France, Italy and the UK.

The Portuguese love to eat out, so it will be interesting to see how they react to restaurants reopening. Will they be scared/ reluctant to go back? A question I put yesterday to André Ribeirinho, the CEO of Adegga: 

'Only time will tell. Lots of questions at the moment. Restaurants can open today at maximum 50% capacity, mandatory 2 meter distance between clients and strict cleaning measures.
'Taberna da Rua das Flores opens today and have said they will do takeaway/ delivery until 2021 at least.

'I think many people will continue to order from home for fear of eating out but also because they got used to to it. Uber Eats and Glovo have grown tremendously in the number of registered restaurants in the last two months. Some people will start this phase by staying at home and eating with friends. We will be updating the takeaway guide once a month at least until September.

Tourism is out until god knows when. Looming in the horizon is a massive crisis which is probably the biggest question for many of the restaurants. '

Although takeaways help a restaurant to keep going and retain at least some if not all of their staff, it does mean a significant cut in profits. Restaurants tend to make more of their money on drinks and extras sold than their food. People ordering takeaways will have whatever they intend to drink with their meal already at home. No possibility of customers' after thoughts – a dessert, some cheese, a fancy coffee or any after-dinner drink.
Coming out of lockdown is likely to be a particular challenge for small restaurants like Taberna, who for the first time are taking bookings  for specified times. Previously you queued outside in the street for a table.  


O Gaveto

O Gaveto - details

Great to see O Gaveto, one of Portugal's restaurants heading the Porto selection. As they have a very good wine list it is unsurprising that they are also offering to sell customers wine to go with their takeaway meal.

Bom apetite!


Saturday, 16 May 2020

La Paulée d'Anjou 2020 has a new date: 11th October 2020

Cancelled or postponed wine events in the Loire unfortunately but inevitably keep mounting up. The latest event is the 20th anniversary of Saumur-Champigny's very popular Grands Tablées, which was due to be held on 5th and 6th August. There will, of course, be no VitiLoire in Tours at the end of May. 

La Paulée d'Anjou 
La Paulée d'Anjou due to be held in Saumur on Monday 22nd June has been postponed. Instead a much smaller version will now be held on Sunday 11th October to celebrate the end of the 2020 harvest. Following on from last year's edition that unified Anjou Noir and Anjou Blanc, which is essentially Saumur, the 2020 edition will also include Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil and Bourgueil. Anjou Noir refers to the type of impervious rock found in Anjou: schist, slate etc., while Anjou Blanc refers to the clay limestone of the Paris Basin that is known locally as tuffeau, a soft and easily quarried limestone.

At the 2020 edition there will be between 70 and 80 domaines (compared to 53 last year) showing their wines on the Sunday morning, which will be followed by a simple lunch at midday. All of the domaines present will either be organic or biodynamic.   

Because of the confinement rules limiting the number of people who can gather together, only 100, including the vigneronnes and vignerons, can attend this year's Paulée, so there will just be a few lucky and privileged guest. I am one of the lucky ones so will be reporting on the Paulée here and on Les 5 du Vin

2021 Paulée

La Paulée 2021
A full Paulée is planned for next year – the 10th anniversary of this event. 

These Paulées are the centre-piece of various projects, which will include a code of best practice along with a number of other long-term initiatives. 


Other dates for your diary – Saumur:



Thursday, 14 May 2020

Vincent Pinard: 2013 Charlouise, Sancerre Rouge


2013 is probably the most difficult recent Loire vintage – a very cold spring with flowering delayed until towards mid to late June. A hot July and August averted disaster but picking even in the Pays Nantais didn't start until late September. 

It is difficult vintages that show who are the really good producers. Almost any fool can make a decent wine in 2018, especially regarding reds. In contrast to make a very fine red in 2013 is impressive. The 2013 Charlouise Sancerre Red from Vincent Pinard is a wonderful example of a domaine being on top of its game in a testing vintage. Not forgetting, of course, that in difficult vintages coaxing good quality out of Pinot Noir is much more of a challenge than it is for Sauvignon Blanc. 

The Pinot Noir vines from Charlouise are planted on clay limestone and are on average 50 years old with yields around 30 hl/ha. The grapes are picked by hand and the wine is aged in a mix of barrels and wooden conical vats. Time in wood varies between 11 and 18 months depending on the vintage. My guess is that the 2013 spent closer to 11 months in wood than 18. The 2013 Charlouise has that seductive, silky texture that makes Pinot Noir such as sought after magical wine at its best.

Very impressive given the vintage.