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

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Jacky Blot and François Chidaine squeezed out of Vouvray – an update

François Chidaine and Jacky Blot with their Vouvrays

Last week I spoke to Jacky Blot to find out if there had been any change to the ban on Jacky Blot and François Chidaine vinifying their Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis. Jacky gave me an update: the situation was unchanged but he had recently sent a detailed letter to the current director of the INAO. To date François and Jacky have not commenced legal proceedings. 

However, if I have correctly understood the legal position – see this post on Les 5 du Vin – the INAO in Paris would surely not welcome having to defend before the Conseil d'Etat (France's Supreme Court) the part of the 2009 Vouvray décret that has been used to stop Blot and Chidaine from vinifying their Vouvray in Montlouis. It would appear that the INAO would have to convince the judges that Montlouis is not a neighbouring commune of Vouvray and that the permission to vinify his Vouvray in the commune of Montlouis given to Jacky Blot by the INAO in September 1999. 

This would certainly be a tall order for the INAO, as by the bridge across the Loire, the southern limit of Vouvray is on the south bank of the Loire touching Montlouis. Nor, in the September 1999 letter to Jacky Blot from the INAO, was there any mention of a time limit to the permission to vinify Vouvray in the Montlouis commune.

Will the director of the INAO be prepared to tell Vouvray that the relevant part of the 1999 décret cannot be defended? À suivre!     


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Two brilliantly creative meals – part 1: Taberna da Rua Flores, Lisbon

Fortunately André Magalhães was released 
from his beer prison to cook for us this evening

At André's Taberna you order a series of 
small dishes from the blackboard  

Readers of previous posts will know how enthusiastic we are over André Magalhães' brillantly inventive cooking at his tiny Taberna da Rua Flores, Lisbon. Each time we are in Lisbon we try to eat there – we were back there in mid-July. 

This will be a two-part post as more recently we made a wonderful dinner at Roger Jones' The Harrow in Little Bedwyn. I don't know whether Roger and André know of each other or have met but I suspect that they may well have a lot in common.   

Fantastic (horse) mackerel dish: picadinho de carapau

Just seared tuna (above and below)

André's signature dish – his take on fish and chips

Branco Especial, Quinta dos Carvalhais kindly brought by André Riberinho
A blend of several vintages this remarkable white was only made once 

Even for bears space is at a premium in this tiny restaurant...

The lamb cutlets went before I could take a photo!

Duck livers 

Special 15-YO fortified wine 

Suicide by chocolate!

Address: Rua das Flores 103, 1200-194 Lisboa, Portugal

Friday, 31 July 2015

Vignes, Vins, Randos: 2015 edition: 6th and 7th September

Details of one of the Loire's most popular wine events – Vignes, Vins, Randos. This year held on Saturday 6th September and Sunday 7th September.  





Événement incontournable de l’oenotourisme en Vade Loire, “Vignes, Vins, Randos” ce sont 16 balades vigneronnes hautes en couleur ! Les vignerons et négociants des appellations du Vade Loire se mobilisent pour vous faire découvrir leur terroir sur fond de paysages inscrits au patrimoine mondiade l’humanité par l’Unesco et de bonheurs partagés. 

En 2014, c’est plus de 10 000 randonneurs qui étaient au rendez-vous !

En famille ou entre amis, passez un moment conviviaen compagnie des vignerons et des négociants du Vade Loire, pour découvrir de magnifiques paysages de vignes et la diversité des appellations ligériennes. Muni du kit du randonneur et accompagné d’un vigneron, vous partez pour une balade conviviale ponctuée de pauses dégustations & découverte du patrimoine. Au retour, le village VVR vous propose des gourmandises, des animations, et la vente des vins que vous avez dégustés.  

Des parcours de 6/8km – 3h environ

Des parcours famille avec vos bambins, de 1h/1h30 environ (kit randonneur

pour chaque enfants). Les enfants pourront gambader dans les vignes sans
qu’ils finissent sur vos épaules !

Samedi 5 septembre – départs entre 14h et 15h30
Coteaux d’ancenis – départs de Champtoceaux
Savennières & Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines - départs de Savennières
Bonnezeaux - départs de Thouarcé
Saumur-champigny - départs de Varrains
Saint-nicolas-de-bourguei- départs de Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourguei
Chinon- départs de Beaumont-en-Véron
Touraine-mesland - départs de Mesland
Jasnières et coteaux-du-loir – départs de Ruillé-sur-Loir  

Dimanche 6 septembre – départs entre 8h30 et 9h30

Muscadet cotes de Grandlieu et gros plant - départs des Moutier-en-Retz
Muscadet sèvre-et-maine Gorges - départs de Gorges
Anjou-villages-brissac et coteaux-de-l’aubance - départs de Saint-Melaine-sur-Aubance
Chinon - départs de Beaumont-en-Véron
Touraine-azay-le-rideau - départs de Cheillé-le-Bourg
Vouvray - départs de Vernou-sur-Brenne
Touraine & touraine-chenonceaux - départs de Civray-de-Touraine

NOUVEAUTÉ 2015: Saumur brut fines bulles
Samedi 5 septembre
Départs entre 14h et 15h30
Un nouveau parcours est à découvrir : Saumur brut fines bulles. Au départ de la ville de Saumur et de son majestueux château, visitez les maisons de fines bulles et découvrez la méthode d’élaboration traditionnelle en traversant des lieux habituellement fermés au public.

Plus d’informations sur

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The monumental Oxford Companion to Wine – editor: Jancis Robinson MW

Jancis Robinson MW (editor) and Julia Harding MW (assistant editor): Oxford Companion to Wine – 4th edition, OUP, £40, 860 pages, hbk (publication date: 17th September 2015).
Here is the 4th edition of this remarkable work of wine scholarship.  Jancis explains in her preface that this revision has been the most ‘thorough’ with ‘every single entry has been subjected to intense scrutiny’. This new edition has 300 new entries out of a total of 4.104 – the third edition had 3930 entries.

She notes that: ‘Throughout the wine world, the emphasis continues to shift from ‘making’ to ‘growing’ wine, just as we are seeing a step change in the style of wine to which thoughtful producers aspire. In terms of wine structure and alcohol levels, big is no longer as beautiful as it was at the end of the last century. And the range of grape varieties harnessed for serious commercial wine production is wider than it has been for decades. ‘

‘Because the Companion was already very long and heavy (a common complaint which has inspired the publication of a digital version of this fourth edition), our esteemed publishers Oxford University Press were extremely strict with us about the total length of this new edition, which is less than 4% longer than the third edition in terms of the total number of words.’

It is interesting and obviously sensible that there is a digital version of this monumental reference book, whose printed version weighs in at 2.88 kilos. The Companion to Wine was first published in 1994 when printed books were king, kindle meant to start a fire and ‘ebooks’ would have been a ham actor attempting a Yorkshire accent.

I fancy that if the digital version is well publicized it may well out-sell the printed book on the grounds of practicality. The weight of the printed book means that it will stay in one place whereas the digital OCW can be at hand all the time. Add to this the ease of linking and connecting entries with each other and the advantages of the eOCW are clear.

Yet it is good to see that printed books continue to survive. There is something about owning and touching a book in comparison to an ebook even if it may be more practical. More cynically you can also show that you own a copy by displaying the tome on a coffee table or desk.

The list of contributors runs to eight pages with an additional 50 for this new edition. The following from the Circle of Wine Writers have contributed to The Companion to Wine: Tony Aspler, Nicolas Belfrage MW, Beverley Blanning MW, Michael Broadbent MW, Stephen Brook, Bob Campbell MW, Steve Charters MW, Nicholas Faith, Christopher Fielden, Michael Fridjhon, Rosemary George MW, Caroline Gilby MW, Lisa Shara Hall, James Halliday, Hugh Johnson, Michael Karam, Wink Lorch, Richard Mayson, late Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Michael Schuster, Stephen Skelton MW, Joelle Thomson, late Pamela Vandyke Price and José Vouillamoz.