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

Monday 2 January 2012

Biodyvin tasting: biodynamic event 10th November 2011

François Chidaine: a leading biodynamist
On 10th November last year 42 biodynamic growers (Biodyvin*) showed their wines in London with all but one of them – Dr Bürklin Wolf coming from France. Eleven of the French producers came from the Loire indicating how important and mainstream biodynamics is now in the valley. This is further underlined by the quality of the producers present: François Chidaine, Philippe Gourdon, Alphonse Mellot, Thierry Germain, Thierry Michon, Jean-Dominique and Jean-Laurent Vacheron, Eddy & Mileine Oosterlinck-Bracke, Philippe Gilbert, Joseph Landron, Paul Fouassier, Noël Pinguet and Eric and Christine Nicolas.

Among the wines that stood out in the tasting were:

2001 Saumur Brut Non Dosé, Château la Tour Grise
I'm not normally a fan of the wines from la Tour Grise, however this slightly oxidised and intriguing sparkling wine works and would make a good apéro.
Several from François Chidaine (Montlouis) – 2008 Les Choisilles sec, 2010 Les Argiles sec and 2008 le Bournais sec.

Two individual terroir wines from Alphonse Mellot (Sancerre) – 2010 Les Romains (mineral and quite austere) and 2010 Satellite from four parcels on Les Monts Damnés (Chavignol) – more weight and less austere than Les Romains.

Thierry Germain: 2010 Franc de Pied, Saumur-Champigny – very precise with good concentration.

Thierry Michon (Domaine Saint Nicolas, Fiefs Vendéens): the mineral 2010 Les Clous – 45% Chardonnay, 45% Chenin Blanc and 10% Grolleau Gris).

Eddy & Mileine Oosterlinck-Bracke (Domaine de Juchepie) – a couple of Coteaux-du-Layon Faye: the lighter and fresher 2008 Les Churelles and then the powerful 2004 La Passion de Juchepie with its fruits confits character.

Philippe Gilbert – I was particularly impressed with the wines from Philippe Gilbert, especially the mineral and stone fruit white 2010 Menetou-Salon. Interesting contrast with the very concentrated 2009 Les Renardières – typical of the 2009 Menetou-Salon from this ripe year and tiny yields due to severe hail damage.

Jo Landron: 2010 Le Fief du Breil, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine – mineral but needing time in bottle.
Paul Fouassier: further indications of the step up in quality from this large Sancerre estate, Interesting to see the first vintage of the spicy and attractive 2010 Iconoclaste – an unwooded red Sancerre.

Noël Pinguet (Domaine Huet): the beautifully balanced 2009 Le Haut-Lieu demi-sec Vouvray.

Christine and Eric Nicolas: 2010 Les Rosiers, Jasnières – again lovely seamless balance, quite rich and long lasting.

Noël Pinguet

* 'The Syndicat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique (SIVCBD) requires that members be certified winemakers AB for their entire area and also cultivate their entire property in biodynamics. The SIVCBD provides a specification to ECOCERT an independent body that carries out an annual check on each field. Depending on the inspection report, SIVCBD issuing the label BIODYVIN.' (From here.) SIVCBD was founded in 1995 with 15 members. They now have 75 members.

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