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, 4 March 2015

‘Champagne Jayne v CIVC: the Fizzical Battle Resumes’

An uneven battle ....

Graeme Lofts reports:
'The battle between Champagne Jayne and the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne) resumed in Melbourne’s Federal Court yesterday (4.3.2015) with a long day of mediation. Jayne was unable to comment on the outcome so it seems that the media gag is still in place and that the matter is still before the court.'

However, it would appear that this second attempt at mediation has been unsuccessful and that at a date, as yet unknown, the case will return to the Melbourne Federal Court. Mediation was also tried around this time last year and again on that occasion it proved to be unsuccessful.   

'Jayne Powell, aka Champagne Jayne has spent many years of her life promoting and supporting the Champagne industry by educating and entertaining people from all parts of the world about Champagne. Despite her passionate efforts and support of the Champagne industry she is being sued by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (the CIVC) for deceiving and misleading conduct.

As a result of this action by the CIVC, Jayne is being driven out of business and is being forced into bankruptcy. For well over a year Champagne Jayne has been desperately fighting a battle against this powerful, global organisation with an abundance of funding and an expensive team of lawyers.

Champagne Jayne’s supporters have now rallied together to create a fundraising campaign that will help pay the legal costs so that she can continue to defend herself against this outrageous behaviour of the CIVC. To read more about Champagne Jayne’s battle and support our fundraising campaign please go to' 

The fund currently stands at a rather disappointing $AU1,160. It would be good to see more donations from people who have criticised the CIVC’s heavy-handed action in pushing ahead with this court case.  

Jim's Loire is again indebted to Graeme Lofts for his report. 

It is highly regrettable that mediation has once again failed. Jim's Loire is in no way privy to the reasons for this failure. However, as it was the CIVC who embarked on this quite unnecessary case, I hope that they made a genuine effort to settle and did not continue their previous hard-ball tactics. 

I can understand their legal objection to Jayne Powell trademarking Champagne Jayne, although why Champagne Escorts in Milton Keynes is left untouched, while Jayne Powell is pursued for 'tarnishing the image of Champagne' is entirely beyond my limited comprehension. 

      Champagnes Escort Agency – apparently acceptable to the CIVC

Post CWW Committee BYO@Lahore

Ernie Loosen's Dr L 2013 Riesling: 
opened the evening at the Lahore 

In case you thought that being on the Circle of Wine Writers Committee is all work and no play, here is a report on our agenda post-yesterday's-meeting from late-afternoon into the evening.

After the committee meeting held at the Institute of Masters of Wine, which started at 2pm and was fuelled by nothing stronger than water, six of us repaired to the nearby Iberica Marylebone, Five of us opted for a reviving glass of sherry, while one of our number went for a glass of Cava – Raventós i Blanc L’hereu Reserva Brut 2011. Initially we opted for a bottle of the Fino Una Palma (£40) – more expensive than the also listed Tio Pepe (£34) but worth trying something we didn't know. However when the bottle arrived we discovered that it was only a 50cl, making it substantially more than Tio Pepe which was 75cl, so TP it was and a nicely fresh bottle.

It would be helpful if Iberica listed their bottle sizes. They do list the size of wines by the glass but not bottles.  

Around 6.15 it was time for three of us (bit like an Agatha Christie novel without the deaths!) to head eastwards to the Commercial Road and The Lahore Kebab House. Iberica Marylebone is ideally placed being a short step from Great Portland Street tube station and the Metropolitan Line to Barking. Getting off at Algate East we made our way down the Commercial Road past a number of wholesale hat shops displaying a wealth of hats and signs warning –  'no retail'  and 'minimum purchase' £100 plus VAT. 

The Lahore Kebab House, 2 Umberston Street, London E1 1PY 

Dr Loosen's door bell@Bernkastel 

We started on the 2013 Dr L brought by Lindsay, while we waited for the two sparkling wines – Michael's kind offering – to chill down. With its touch of sweetness and crisp acidity Ernie's 2013 Riesling made this a good transition from the Tio Pepe as we cracked and nibbled our papadums, while waiting for Kathy, our fourth commitee member to arrive.         

2004 Cuvée Josephine from Joseph Perrier 

Just in case anyone thinks I weakened and tasted a banned substance – a Champagne – please be assured that instead I had a fine glass of the single vineyard Masottina Contrada Granda (see below). 

2011 Gewurztraminer Turckheim, Domaine Zind Humbrecht

As you expect from Zind Humbrecht the 2011 Gewurztraminer was rich and delicious that worked well with the butter chicken.

2009 Cabernet Franc, AC Touraine, Château du Petit Thouars 

The combination of Loire fruit and acidity makes Cabernet Franc a good bet with food at the Lahore – worked for me particularly well with the Methi Gosht.  

1992 Coteaux de l'Aubance, Vin Noble, 
Domaine de Bablut (50cl)

Eschewing any desserts we turned instead to the 1992 Coteaux de l'Aubance, Vin Noble, Domaine de Bablut. 1992 is not a great vintage. Coming after the very severe frost of 1991 it was a big generous vintage. Although attractive to drink and we finished the bottle, the nose – typical bruised apple Chenin (Lindsay) was more interesting than the palate that was sweet but without much complexity or rich texture. Very interesting to taste but rather confirmed my preconceptions about how this 1992 might taste. Having said that it was a good effort for the vintage.   

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Bourgueil's annual invasion of Tours approaches: Saturday 21st March

Always a good event, although it can be pretty chilly some years but then the Bourgueil producers come from tough stock! 

'Press release:
13ème fête des vins de Bourgueil à Tours 
Samedi  21 mars 2015 de 10 h à 19 h 00 Boulevard Heurteloup à Tours

Pour la 13ème année consécutive, les vignerons de Bourgueil investissent le centre-ville  de Tours pour célebrer la fête des vins de Bourgueil sur le boulevard Heurteloup. 
Après avoir acheté un verre de dégustation (2 €), les amateurs découvriront le millésime  2014, pourront rencontrer 45 vignerons, et remplir leur cave des meilleurs vins rouges et rosés de l’appellation.

Jean-François Mabileau

 «En 2014, nous avons renoué avec un millésime d’anthologie» se félicite Jean-François Mabileau, président des vignerons de Bourgueil. «Sur les graviers, 2014 nous offre déjà des cuvées de plaisir, prêtes à boire. Sur nos coteaux de tuffeau, 2014 offre de belles cuvées, récoltées à pleine maturité. Les meilleures d’entre elles sont encore en cours d’élevage et on pourra les garder longtemps en cave! 
2014 trouvera une belle place parmi les millésimes dont on reparlera longtemps ! »

La fête des Vins de Bourgueil à Tours, c'est aussi :

 - Les traditionnels «Saint-Vincent» qui récompensent les meilleures cuvées de rosé, de  rouge de printemps et de rouge de garde. Les trophées remis aux lauréats sont des œuvres originales en tuffeau et cep de vigne, signées par la sculptrice Valérie Herlin. Installée à Chouzé-sur-Loire, Valérie Herlin est lʼépouse du vigneron Laurent Herlin. 

* Inauguration et remise des Saint-Vincent à partir de 10 h 30 

- Parmi les artisans des métiers de bouche exposant sur le boulevard Heurteloup aux  côtés des vignerons, Fabrice Métry, pâtissier, chocolatier et glacier à Bourgueil, viendra  présenter sa célèbre «galette bourgueilloise», recette originale et marque déposée  depuis plus de 30 ans.

 - Les deux offices du tourisme de Bourgueil et de Langeais-Castelvalérie seront sur le boulevard pour présenter la richesse de leur territoire et la nouvelle signature « Touraine Nature » adoptée l’an dernier par  cette destination touristique sur la rive droite de la Loire.

Vincent with his famous poulet au blowtorch!

En fin de matinée, le restaurateur d'Ingrandes-de-Touraine, « Vincent cuisinier de campagne » sera présent sur le stand des offices du tourisme pour présenter son établissement et faire déguster quelques spécialités locales.  

- Pour bien accueillir les familles, la fête des vins de Bourgueil à Tours proposera également  un espace enfant animé par CQFDégustation : cet atelier abordera l’éveil au goût, les 5 sens, les 4 saveurs, le monde des odeurs, des couleurs, des textures, et proposera des petits jeux sensoriels et des dégustations combinées de jus de raisin de cabernet franc en association avec le Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine.

- Les grilles du jardin de la Préfecture accueillent, du 7 au 24 mars, une exposition, de 18 photos signées David Darrault et 2 photos signées Stevan Lira, mettant en avant les paysages et les expériences touristiques de notre destination « Touraine Nature ».

* Les vignerons remercient les partenaires de la 13ème fête des vins de Bourgueil à Tours : la ville de Tours, le Crédit Agricole Touraine-Poitou et la Prévention Routière.

March 2014: Guillaume Lapaque with Jean Germain 
during the 12th invasion of Tours 

Nous aurons cette année une pensée toute particulière pour Joëlle Monsigny et Jean Gemain, qui ont créé ce beau rendez-vous entre la Touraine des champs et la Touraine des villes ; et pour Serge Babary et Céline Ballesteros qui nous invitent aujourd’hui à poursuivre ce beau partenariat entre Bourgueil et Tours !

Serge Babary@Vitiloire May 2014
 The event can have its hairy moments!

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards 2015 – OPEN FOR ENTRIES

 Sign from last year's award ceremony

Press release:
'The Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards 2015 – OPEN FOR ENTRIES 

We are delighted to announce a new category – the Food & Wine Writer Awards.

The deadline for entries is 10th April and the Awards ceremony will be held on 15th September at the Royal Academy of Arts. For more information about the Awards and to enter, please click here.

Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2015

Launches new category
27th February, London – Champagne Louis Roederer is delighted to declare the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2015 open for entries. The ‘Roederers’, now in their 11th year, have long been internationally recognised as the ultimate in accolades for wine writers in all countries*, through all written and visual media.

This year’s awards will be returning to the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts on London’s Piccadilly on 15th September for the Awards ceremony.

The Judges

The 2015 team is: 
Charles Metcalfe (chair)
Nina Caplan
Dr Neil Beckett
Jancis Robinson OBE MW
Gabriel Stone

New category:  
Food – the perfect accompaniment
While wine can be enjoyed on its own, pairing it with food can so often create something greater than the sum of its parts. With this in mind, we are delighted to announce a new category – the Food & Wine Writer of the Year Award. True to the essence of the competition, for entries to be considered, the focus of the content must be balanced between wine its interaction with food. All articles must be written and published online or in print in English between April 1st 2014 and April 10th 2015.

The full list of categories for the 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers is as follows: 

- The Artistry Award 
- The Emerging Wine Writer
- The Online Communicator of the Year 
- The International Wine Book of the Year
- The International Wine Columnist of the Year 
- The International Wine Feature Writer
- The Food and Wine Writer of the Year'

* written work remains only open to texts in English.

 Organising last year's winners for the group shot......

 Done at last!

PS Will we see a new category in 2016  – standing up to the CIVC – I wonder?