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 investdrinks.org

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, 30 November 2011

Young Wine Writer of the Year 2011: Barley Blyton

Oz Clarke with the two runners up: Matthew Brass (left) and Nicolas Jackson
(Barley Blyton was in LA so unable to be present to receive her prize)

The Circle of Wine Writers is proud to announce the Young Wine Writer of the Year 2011 Award winner as Barley Blyton of Bristol. Ms Blyton won the award with her entry ‘A Journeying Introduction to South America and Her Wines’, winning over more than 25 other entrants.

The Award, now in its 11th year, is sponsored by Pavilion Books (publishers of Oz Clarke and Michael Broadbent MW) and the Circle of Wine Writers, together with Wine Australia. After much deliberation the judges short-listed (in alphabetical order): Barley Blyton, Matthew Brass, Nik Byrne, Tom Constable, Barbara Drew, Nicholas Jackson, Hugh Jones and Sean Tennyson.

This year the judges decided to announce four runners-up as there were so many high quality entries: Matthew Brass, Tom Constable, Nicholas Jackson and Hugh Jones who each received wine presented by Yvonne May, of Wine Australia.

Fiona Holman, Editorial Director of Pavilion Books, said: “This award aims to encourage new writing talent within the world of wine and to provide a real opportunity for some inspiring travel to the vineyards and wineries of Australia. We are looking for wine writing potential rather than extensive knowledge or experience. We had a record number of quality entries this year, which was most encouraging and I am sorry we could not give out more awards. I urge all this year’s entrants still eligible to enter again next year.”

Yvonne May, Director Wine Australia UK-Ireland_Europe, said: “I believe it’s important to support up and coming writers in the wine industry. With the rise in of amateur enthusiasts in the evolving online space we know that to stand out you have to be exceptional, and these writers certainly deliver. Our congratulations to Barley; we can’t wait to read her thoughts on Australia’s winemakers, wine regions and wine. Right now Australian wines are more diverse and exciting than ever, and we know that she will be absolutely buzzing from the trip.”

This year’s winner, Barley Blyton works for Davis Bell McCraith Wines, a wine merchant based in Bristol. Barley has an irrepressible passion for Italian wines. She entered the wine trade after finishing her degree in English and Italian literature where she spent most of her time in northern Italy cultivating her enthusiasm for food and wine. As well as a passion for the classic regions of the world, she has a penchant for Sherry and is now a trained official Sherry Educator. Barley was a shortlisted finalist for The Young Wine Writers Award in 2010.

The prizes for the 2011 winner include a £1000 cheque presented by Pavilion Books and, courtesy of Wine Australia, a two-week trip of a lifetime to the wine regions of Australia and a year’s free membership of the Circle of Wine Writers.

About the Young Wine Writer of the Year Awards
The Awards are aimed at encouraging and supporting new talent in the world of wine writing. While there are many well-established wine writers in the industry today, the Awards provide an opportunity for younger, less established writers to get a firm start in the world of wine. The announcement was celebrated last night at a reception at Australia House.

(photos to be added shortly)

Campogate: No Pay – No Jay

Adela Richer (left), Pancho Campo and Jay Miller (seated), Paulina Campo (back row, second left), Rony Bacqué (general manager of The Wine Academy of Spain) standing

(I’m greatly indebted to Harold Heckle, long established wine writer based in Madrid, for shedding further light on the non-visit to DO Vinos de Madrid. In particular it was his persistence that obtained copies of the explosive emails that form the basis of this co-authored post.)

Pancho Campo MW offered D.O. Vinos de Madrid what he called a cut-price deal of €20,000 for a two-day visit to the region by Jay Miller in July 2011. His special offer would have delivered Miller to the DO on 11th-12th July as the American wine writer and Campo returned from a tasting trip to Navarra. However, the small region set around Spain's capital city was so taken aback by the cost that it turned down the offer. In a bid to coax the deal to go through, Campo told Madrid such a short-notice visit ‘off the set agenda’ would normally cost more than €40,000, but that by a ‘miracle’ he had managed to persuade Miller ‘to stay 2 days more, and for half the usual price’. 

The two tasters had been set to drive southwest from Navarra, a region that has for decades strived to emulate the success of neighbouring Rioja. It is reported that Navarra shelled out €100,000 for its visit, with Miller collecting a $15,000 fee for a single master class there.

In an email sent via his iPhone from Tuscany at 15.30 on Friday 3rd June to Adela Richer, commercial director of The Wine Academy of Spain and copied to Irene Llorente of Aprovin and Elena Arribas of D.O. Vinos de Madrid, Campo pressured them to close the deal:

‘Asunto: Re: CATA VINOS DE MADTRID POR JAY MILLER, CONFERENCIA, VISITA A BODEGAS Y CATA DE 8 VINOS ENTRE PANCHO CAMPO MW Y JAY MILLER

Dear Adela,

This is a unique opportunity for vinos de Madrid, seeing as how this DO is not in Parker's plans to be visited in either 2012 or 2013.

Private visits off the set agenda, as this would be, rarely take place, and not for a price below 40,000 euros. The fact that Jay has agreed to stay 2 days more, and for half the usual price, is a miracle and an opportunity that Madrid will find it difficult to have again.

We close our diary next Wednesday. I hope they reconsider, especially considering how difficult the market is for Spain and that any little push like this can help a lot.

A kiss from Tuscany.

Pancho’

The visit proposal, as Richer outlined in an earlier email on 3rd June to Llorente (Aprovin is an organization that provides for Madrid the equivalent of what Asevin does for Murcia) and Arribas, press representative for D.O. Vinos de Madrid, was as follows:

'Dear Irene and Elena,

After talking with Pancho and analyzing your proposition, and since he feels great affection, he wants to cooperate with you, he proposes this:
     
It would have to be just after Navarra and would last two days (July 11 and 12)

1. Visit to 3 or 4 wineries

2. Tasting and press conference as at Fenavin. They would only taste around 8 wines.

3. Tasting of wines that have a U.S. importer and which Jay has not previously scored. (A prerequisite for their appearance in the publication)

 4, The wineries have to organize everything, tasting venue, invitations, tasting glasses, etc.

5. If they can't comply with all this, then Jay won't be able to do it until well into 2012

Cost € 20,000 plus VAT,  

I think that it is well worth your effort, and seeing as how we are doing a tasting with Miller in Madrid ... Let's make it a big one.

Invite the whole sector, buyers, distributors, specialist stores, VIP consumers ... they love big tastings and on top of it, these two will involve the winemakers in the wine tasting ...

Let me know, I'm using all my influence with Pancho, let's see if the winemakers know how to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

I need to know something by Wednesday ... Miller has many commitments and proposals from all around the world, and we cannot block-book his diary more than 4 days.’

A kiss to the two of you

Adela'

*

Richer was offering those Madrid bodegas that have American importers a chance to have their wines judged and rated by Miller, with the results to be published in The Wine Advocate.  Thus, it seems clear that the impression being given was that this was to have been an official visit by Miller.

Llorente was not entirely bowled over by The Wine Academy of Spain's proposition. There are not many wineries in up-and-coming D.O. Vinos de Madrid that export to the USA, and even a cut-price deal of €23,600 struck her as expensive, particularly in these straitened times. Also some wines from the region have, thanks to their importer, already been assessed by Parker and are on sale in Madrid with labels announcing their Parker points. Llorente also pointed out that The Wine Academy of Spain’s proposal was not properly budgeted. Hence her rather guarded response late morning on 3rd June: 

Dear Adele:

Thanks for dealing with the consultation I threw your way over the phone yesterday so quickly.

As I mentioned to you today as well, it all depends on the participation of wineries that export to the U.S. market, roughly 8 or 9 wineries from DO Vinos de Madrid. In turn, it also depends on whether PromoMadrid can approve such a budget, as they always help us when it comes to trying to internationalize the wineries of Madrid.

And regarding the budget that you have sent, I ask you to insert it into a proper document and that you break it down by concepts to show how you arrive at such a figure. I have to make a formal proposal to PromoMadrid and I cannot present it like this, in the rough. I'd appreciate it.

For my part, I am sending this now to exporting wineries to seek their answer as soon as possible, to meet your requirements for them to present their wines to Jay Miller.

*

Mid-afternoon the same day Richer made a further attempt to persuade Llorente of the benefits of paying for a visit from Miller before Campo turned the screw at 15.30 (see above). 

‘Dear Irene, those of us who still have jobs, we must work well, like this!

Look, the comment you've made, that it may be too hasty, and that the July date may not be good, I think that for any winemaker who is interested in sticking his head in the American market, and to have the opportunity to share a day with Miller and Pancho, dates should not matter. If they're on vacation, all they'd have to do is come up to Madrid for one day and enjoy a nice and constructive tasting, a Conference-Colloquium given by two people who are tremendously influential in the sector nationally and internationally

It's a great opportunity that we're providing them with, and that, given the circumstances, they can benefit from. They can talk to Miller and Pancho, discuss their concerns, have them guide producers on how best to aim their wines, what taste trends are and how best to look for an importer ...

And, you know, the bus passes only once. In 2012 things could change and it could be that we may not even be able to taste Madrid wines.

I am convinced that this timing will be interesting for Jeromin, Valverde, Benito, Qbel (sic), La bodega del Presidente, Castejón, Tagonius and some others I leave off this list ... at least I consider them all good entrepreneurs.

July is a busy month, and also with the crisis on us even August would be a good month in which to host this tasting, don't you think?

Well, you've got the opportunity...

I hope you know how to take advantage of it

a hug and thanks for thinking of us

Adela Richer

Commercial Director The Wine Academy


*

Despite Campo’s cut-price deal and ‘the miracle’ that Jay had agreed to stay two days more, and for 'half the usual price,' DO Vinos de Madrid turned down the offer. We understand that considerably less than half of the bodegas expressed any interest. The result: No pay – no Jay.

Campo has claimed that it was DO Madrid who contacted The Wine Academy of Spain, and has given several reasons why the Madrid visit didn’t go ahead.

To Adam Lechmere (Decanter): It was DO Vinos de Madrid who approached The Wine Academy of Spain with a request to organise a visit by Jay Miller. The visit did not go ahead due to a lack of time to organise this visit and that Vinos de Madrid could not afford the management fee. Campo told Lechmere that he is not apologetic about the cost of his management fees, which he described as “the going rate”.

Campo told Lechmere that: “absolutely no money ever changes hands between him and the consejo”. Madrid got in touch with him asking for a Wine Academy event. They could not afford it, nor could it be put together in their timeframe, so the idea was dropped. They wanted a tasting for 200 people, he said the cost would be €20k. Furthermore “no money changes hands for Jay Miller visits but it does for seminars”.

Elsewhere he has claimed that Vinos de Madrid ‘wanted to pay’ for Jay to go and visit wineries and review their wines for The Wine Advocate. Feigning shock, he said this was unacceptable, and he declined the approach.

**

The series of emails, which read on occasions like a scene out of The Godfather, show starkly that Campo has evidently sought to profit from his position organising Jay Miller’s visits as reviewer of Spanish wines for The Wine Advocate. He has indeed become Jay Miller’s gatekeeper, and charged the struggling Spanish wine industry hefty chunks of their total annual budgets – ‘the going rate’ – for access to Miller. Doubtless Don Corleone also had a ‘going rate’. 

The emails highlight the pressure being brought to bear on Vinos de Madrid – ‘unique opportunity’, ‘And, you know, the bus passes only once‘, “Well, you've got the opportunity”, “I hope they reconsider” – all familiar boiler room tactics, but by email.

Furthermore, the correspondence makes it clear that Campo has lied regularly over how Miller’s trips are really organised. Campo has lied not only to people asking awkward questions, but also to some of his staunchest supporters – people who have risked their reputations going out on a limb for him. Back in September 2009 he lied to his proponents over events in Dubai, and clearly he sees no reason to stop now. 

Looking at the proposal sent by Richer, it is evident that Campo’s only role in the mooted visit by Miller was to ensure that the illustrious American critic turned up. “The wineries have to organize everything, tasting venue, invitations, tasting glasses, etc.” and if you don’t agree to this, tough, because you won’t see Miller for many a month: it's €20,000 + VAT (€23,600) for access!


Late news flash
Suddenly late Tuesday afternoon (29.11.11) Madrid bodegas were contacted by Vinos de Madrid asking them to send two bottles of each of their wines to the DO for Miller to taste their wines this Thursday 1st December, at no apparent charge! That day Miller and Campo are scheduled to give a 45-minute speaking engagement at the presentation of wines from Spanish cooperatives selected for El Arte de Beber (the art of imbibing).

Why this sudden volte face when Campo had recently said that Miller had no plans to visit or taste Vinos de Madrid until 2014?

Is it just coincidental that yesterday morning I emailed Campo (with no response as of 14.20, 30.11.11) telling him that I would shortly be posting on Jim’s Loire further details of how the Wine Academy of Spain had approached Vinos de Madrid with its proposal that would have included a number of visits to bodegas along with a masterclass and seminar? Judge for yourself.

Pancho Campo MW and Jay Miller (interempresas.net)

See here a response and legal threats by Robert Parker posted on his website late Wednesday evening (GMT). 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

1855: story in Property Week + another example of delayed 2008 en primeur

Château Mouton-Rothschild


Mark Adams, an extremely frustrated client of 1855, covers in his column in Property Week (160,000 unique pages views per month) his recent trip to a Paris court to try to prise his wine out of 1855.    

'If only I had purchased the case of Mouton Rothschild 2008 which brought me to Paris on 17 November from Corney & Barrow or Justerini & Brooks.  I would not then have had to appear before Le Juge de Proximité at 4 Place du Louvre at 09:30 as the wine would have dutifully arrived as ordered.'  Read the rest here.

Read also Mark's disappointing visit to Paris in more detail here in a previous Jim's Loire post.

***

Château Latour

A message from GH, a similarly frustrated client of 1855, now considering his legal options:

'I appreciate your comments and your efforts to bring to the light the business practices of 1855.

Their behaviour is a huge scandal; many questions arise why the French authorities didn't close down this company already a long time ago.

I am myself a victim of this company concerning the 2008 Bordeaux subscription and missing delivery of those wines so far as many other wine lovers are; not thinking about the problems of the 2009 Bordeaux delivery that will probably come to the surface soon...

Reading all the blogs now I honestly have a lot of doubts that I will ever see those wines especially with regards to the fact that I took advantage of the spring 2009 economic crisis with a bit depressed prices for the big names like Lafite Rothschild and Latour, wines that I am waiting for...

I had many phone calls and mail conversation with those guys from 1855 and just got to know that delivery is gonna be delayed but will certainly happen.

Here their latest mail that I just got 3 days ago:

Dear sir,

Thank you for your message.
We would like to get back to you regarding the 2008 deliveries.

Please be assured that our teams are working to shorten the delays as much as possible. We guarantee that all the wines in your order will be delivered by the end of this year in spite of those supplying delays.

You will be notified by email when the wines are ready to be shipped.

We would like to thank you for your patience, we remain at your disposal if you have any further questions.'


Let's hope that GH gets lucky and does indeed receive his 2008s before the end of 2011. 

**

'Management' and leading shareholder of 1855 

Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon are the senior 'management' team of 1855 (1855.com, 1855.con). Thierry Maincent was an administrateur and one of the directeur général délégués until he resigned his posts for personal reasons on 30th September 2010. Businessman Jean-Pierre Meyers, who is on the boards of L'Oreal and Nestlé, is a long-term shareholder of 1855.


1855 is a probationary member of La Fevad.




Les 5 du Vin in Champagne: Les Artisans du Champagne

Some of Les Artisans du Champagne

Following the visit of Les 5 du Vin to Champagne in early November our cooperative blog is dedicated this week to a series of posts on various aspects of Champagne. My Tuesday post is now up here.   

The rest of Les Artisans

Monday, 28 November 2011

#EWBC: 5th conference will be in Izmir, Turkey November 9th-11th 2012




5th European Wine Bloggers' Conference (2012)




PRESS RELEASE

Izmir (Turkey), November 28, 2011


The fifth annual EWBC digital wine communications conference will be held in Izmir, Turkey, on November 9 - 11, 2012.


The only international event dedicated to the convergence of wine and the web, the EWBC provides a platform for the global wine community to address today's online communications opportunities. The annual, three-day event is helping to build an international network of wine communicators, and also encourages the acquisition of skills and information and the exchange of expertise across national, language and professional boundaries.

Organized by Ryan and Gabriella Opaz and Robert McIntosh of social media company Vrazon, the 2012 EWBC will be sponsored by Wines of Turkey.

"Having attended the 2011 EWBC, we're excited to invite wine professionals from around the world to explore Turkish wines, food and culture, and to help us communicate the ongoing journey to rediscover the source of Turkish wine history," said the Director of Wines of Turkey, Taner Ogutoglu.

2012 sees the EWBC celebrating its fifth anniversary (successful events have been run in Spain, Portugal, Austria and Italy) and the organizers expect a significantly larger turn-out, based on the exciting growth in attendance figures since the event was created in 2008.

The conference will be held in the ancient city of Izmir, known as the Pearl of the Aegean. Izmir's extraordinary history spans over 3,500 years and is marked by numerous archaeological sites relating to Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilisations and is within easy travel distance from some of Turkey's emerging wine regions.

The theme of the 2012 conference is 'Source', reflecting in part the recent hypothesis by Dr. Patrick E. McGovern* that Turkey is the birthplace of vitis vinifera, but also the suggestion that wine communicators aim to become sources of knowledge, not just disseminators of information.

“With the vast amount of information being added the web every second, it is hard for consumers to sift through content of varying levels of quality to find what they seek,” says EWBC co-founder Gabriella Opaz. “During the 2012 EWBC, we intend to help wine communicators learn how to position themselves as a source of quality information, whether that be on a single style, region, subject, event or study.”

EWBC 2012 delegates will not only attend a wide range of educational tasting on Turkish wines and visit several wineries within easy reach of the conference venue, but they will also be able to taste a wide range of wines from other countries via sponsored tastings held during the event. The event will provide ample opportunity for participants to experience the food, wine and culture of Turkey while discussing issues relating to the convergence of wine and the web.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About the EWBC Digital Wine Communications Conference

The fourth annual EWBC was held in Brescia (Italy) from October 14-16, 2011 and was attended by 216 wine communicators from 34 countries.

EWBC 2008: La Rioja (Spain), 50 delegates
EWBC 2009: Lisbon (Portugal), 140 delegates
EWBC 2010: Vienna (Austria), 200 delegates
EWBC 2011: Brescia (Italy), 216 delegates


A recording of the announcement of the 2012 venue can watched here. It is rather slow to get started.



For more information about the event, and to register, please come to our NEW European Wine Bloggers Conference site:http://ewbc12.vrazon.com/ Alumni (anyone who has attended any of the previous EWBC conferences) will get a 40% discount on the conference ticket price of 300€.



1855: 2008 en primeur delayed until 2012 + bad tax news for Jean-Pierre Meyers

Château Lynch-Bages (Pauillac)

Below: a message received by a client of 1855 from Matthieu Ortalda. Looks like some 2008s won't be delivered until the 'beginning' of 2012. Remember that these were originally promised for June 2011 and then this was delayed until the end of this year. Remember also that Fabien Hyon, now CEO of the 1855 group, claimed that all the 2008s had been bought en primeur and that 1855 does not practise la vente à decouverte (doesn't short trade).    

Dear sir,
 
Thank you for your message.
 
your wines will be delivered by the end of the year, beginning of January We are currently making up for important supplying delays.

We are doing our best to deliver the wines as soon as possible.

You will be notified by email when your wines are shipped.
 
We sincerely apologise for the delays.
 
We remain at your disposal.
 
Best regards,
  
Matthieu Ortalda

Chargé de Relation Client


What is the betting that Matthieu 'how does he manage to keep a straight face?' Ortalda will send the following message to this client in early January:

'your wines will be delivered by the end of January, beginning of February. We are currently making up for important supplying delays.



We are doing our best to deliver the wines as soon as possible.'

**
Jean-Pierre Meyers gets tax bill for 2.5m €
A news flash from Le Figaro late yesterday afternoon reported that Jean-Pierre Meyers has received a tax demand from the French tax authorities for 2.5 million euros. It would appear that Le Fisc believe that Meyers actual salary and those of his employees is much higher than has been claimed. Le Figaro:
'Le fisc réclame 2,5 millions d'euros de redressement fiscal au gendre de Liliane Bettencourt, Jean-Pierre Meyers, estimant que son salaire au sein de la holding familiale Téthys ne se justifie pas, écrit le JDD dimanche. Interrogé par l'AFP sur le cas de Jean-Pierre Meyers, le ministère du Budget n'a pas souhaité faire de commentaire.'
This has not been a good week for the Bettencourts and Jean-Pierre Meyers as le Figaro reported on 23rd November that Le Fisc is claiming more than 77 million euros from Lillian Bettencourt, Meyers' mother-in-law, for 100 million euros found in bank accounts in Switzerland and Singapore. 
What a delicious irony that the 1855 scam may been kept afloat by money that should have been paid to the French tax authorities!  

**


'Management' and leading shareholder of 1855 

Emeric Sauty de Chalon and Fabien Hyon are the senior 'management' team of 1855 (1855.com, 1855.con). Thierry Maincent was an administrateur and one of the directeur général délégués until he resigned his posts for personal reasons on 30th September 2010. Businessman Jean-Pierre Meyers, who is on the boards of L'Oreal and Nestlé, is a long-term shareholder of 1855. 


1855 is a probationary member of La Fevad.



 

Tim Atkin MW on journalistic ethics

Tasting notes...

Post from Tim Atkin's site on journalistic ethics and who pays? The article was originally published in Off Licence News.

'Who pays wine critics?

The campaigning journalist George Monbiot stirred up a considerable amount of debate among hacks recently when he decided to publish a registry of his financial interests on his website. There in black and white, Monbiot declares how much he’s paid by The Guardian, his publisher and his lodgers, as well as his total gross and net incomes.

Why the brave move? Monbiot believes that “journalists should live by the standards they demand of others, among which are accountability and transparency. One of the most important questions in public life, which is asked less often than it should be, is “who pays?”

Read the rest here.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Leveson: endangering UK press freedoms with possible rules on photographers?

Wine photographer Gabriel Dvoskin* 

The Leveson inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the UK press, currently hearing evidence in London is beginning to raise concerns amongst photographers that all photographers are being likened to paparazzi.

See here a post from Leon Neal, an English photographer now with Agence France Presse. Neal is concerned at the way news photographers are being portrayed before the Leveson inquiry. His post features an open letter written by Christopher Piedger, who works for the Daily Telegraph.

See also from The Guardian: Leveson inquiry – a paparazzo speaks. 

* I guess it is likely that any changes proposed by Leveson would be unlikely to impinge unduly on photographers working in wine largely because it is rare for wine photos to be hard-edged or controversial. Although if photographers were obliged to get permission from their subjects before a photo was published this would make press trips to vineyards more complicated with journos required to carry sheaves of permission forms with them.

This said photography is an essential part of a free press – often crystallising a message in a single, memorable shot. Its a freedom that needs to be protected.        

   

Trentino: visit to Ferrari

 Ferrari: entrance to the winery complex
Our second visit was to Ferrari, who stand way above the other Trentodoc producers in terms of quality. (More text to add.)


Ferrari: museum of old implements in the cellar (above and below)

 
Degorging machine specially commissioned from France – made of silver to avoid spoiling wine!


 Ferrari Trento DOC: bottles sur latte 

Camilla Lunelli amongst the stainless steel vat

 Marcello Ferrari tasting



 Signor George thru several glasses

Camilla and Marcello Lunelli: the two cousins

'Bollicine su Trento'*: visit to Maso Martis

View of the landscape from close to Maso Martis winery

We had five visits to Trentino producers yesterday starting with the 12 ha estate of Maso Martis, which the Stelzer family bought in the 1980s. They made their first vintage of sparkling wine in 1990. Of the 12 ha seven are planted with Chardonnay and the rest with Pinot Noir. They produce around 65,000 bottles a year with Trentadoc (bottle fermented) accounting for 50,000. 

Like a number of other producers they are moving away from the pergola system of training vines to the trellised guyot system, which is easier to work and allows the grapes to be exposed to the sun. It would seem that this is a return to the system that was used here, at least in part in the 18th century. They are also moving to organic viticulture. 

Of the four Maso Martis sparkling wines we tasted my preference was for the quite rich and creamy 2005 Riserva (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay). I also liked the delicate strawberry flavoured Brut Rosé (100% Pinot Noir) – 21€. My least favourite was the over-priced and over-evolved 2002 Madame Martis (70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier). Madame Martis sells for 65€, while the Riserva is only 22.50€ – no competition: three bottles of the Riserva for one of MM. Fortunately they only make 500 bottles of this icon wine.  

They run a very active blog here.    

 Pergola trained vines now giving way to the guyot system widely used in France and other parts of Italy 

Pergola system that shades the grapes 

 Vines and rocky landscape

 Owner Roberta Stelzer



Pupitres for hand riddling

A moustache isn't just for Movember! 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

'Bollicine su Trento': photos from visits to vineyards

 Essi Avellan MW learning to prune in the Zeni vineyards: listening intently ...
(above and below)

Essi wielding the secateurs on a Moscato vine....
(above and below)



 View from the tasting room of Maso Martis

Pergola vines and the Trentino mountain landscape (Maso Martis)



Two vineyard dogs@Maso Martis

Loches-autrefois: collection of old photos of Loches

The station at Loches (just one of the post cards on Loches-autrefois)

A reminder of the website Loches-autrefois which now contains some 1800 photos and old post cards of Loches and the surrounding area. If you register you can view the whole collection and there is now the facility to add your own photos     

Friday, 25 November 2011

Trento: more photos

 Imposing building just outside The Grand Hotel Trento (above and below)

Some more pictures of Trento taken on a bright sunny late autumn day.

Frescos on a house in the Piazza del Duomo 


Detail from fresco–woman with cross

 Clocktower (above and below) 



 Part of the Duomo (above and below)



'Bollicine su Trento'*: tasting of old vintages

Glass with a view advertising - Bollicene su Trento

Glass and poster

This morning a tasting of old vintages from five different Trentodoc companies was held in the Palazzo Roccabruna. Fifteen wines (three each) were shown from Abate Nero, Altemasi di Cavit, Az Vinicola Metius, Instituto Agr. di S.Michele and Ferrari F.IIi Lunelli. Vintages ranged from 2007 back to 1991.

Trentodoc uses just Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with Chardonnay normally making up the majority of any blends, except for Rosé Trentodoc. Minimum aging is 24 months for a 'normal' cuvée and 36 months for a Riserva. Minimum in Champagne is 15 months, while for Cava it is 9. Many of the Trentino vineyards are at high altitude even up to 800 metres. Some 3000 ha are devoted to the production of Trentodoc giving a current production of just under nine million bottles with 12% of the Italian market for sparkling wine.

Because of the cool climate conditions the wines are often lemony and mineral, although tasting the old vintages revealed considerable variations between both the five companies and the different vintages.


I thought the three wines from Ferrari – 2001, 1994 and 1991 – stood out way above the rest of the flight with their richness, complexity and real toasty, honey character. All three of these wines were dégorged in 2010, so the 1991 had nearly 20 years on its lees. The Ferrari wines come from their Maso Pianizza vineyard at an altitude of 500-600 metres.
These are memorable wines and ones to match with food or to share with discerning friends as an aperitif accompanied with some tapas.

A trio of Ferraris

No wonder Mauro Lunelli is pleased with the Ferrari wines!

The other trio that I liked were much younger: the 2006, 2005 and 2002 Methius Riservas from Metius, which showed considerable variation between the vintages.
I particularly liked the delicacy of the aromatic 2006 and the minerality and steely acidity of the 2002.The quite rich 2005 seemed quite evolved but like the other two was complex and well balanced.

Metius produces 75,000 bottles a year with the Riserva accounting for 15,000.


Delphine Veissiere, who commented on the wines

Forest of glasses...


Trentodoc glass


Self-portrait in a spittoon..

Map of Trentodoc
* 'Bollicene su Trento': I typed this into 'approximativo-translations' and it came up with 'Bollocks in Trento'! I had my doubts about this so checked during the tasting. Bollicene are bubbles, so it's Bubbles in Trento not Bollocks!