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

Friday, 15 June 2012

Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil: decision day 18th June

Small bottle of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in the villages's central square

The Syndicat des Producteurs of Saint-Nicoias-de-Bourgueil have at least two crucial decisions to make at their annual general meeting on Monday 18th June. Will they stay in Interloire or follow the example of their adjacent but rival appellation Bourgueil? Also will they pass measures to restrict the use of weed killers in the vineyard?

I’m not going to guess the outcome of the vote to stay in or pull out of Interloire, the promotional and administrative body that looks after the vineyards from Nantes to Touraine. Neighbouring Bourgueil left Interloire at the beginning of 2011. As a number of producers have vines in both appellations the vote may depend upon how they judge the success of Bourgueil in promoting itself without the greater administrative means of Interloire.

Sadly lifeless vineyards@Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil

I hope that Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil will pass measures to restrict the use of weed killers. It is shameful that an appellation that sells well still has significant parcels of vines that are completely weed killered and where the vineyard looks dead and with no biodiversity. Producers in Touraine AC may be able to argue that they can’t afford not to completely blitz their vineyards but this is certainly not the case in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, the Loire’s most popular Cabernet Franc red.

And yet Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil lags behind the other nearby appellations. Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur-Champigny all now have rules that ban the use of weed killers behind the rows and only permit their use under the vines. The area between the vines has to be either grassed over or cultivated. Ideally their use would be banned altogether but this is a significant step in the right direction, although the use of weed killers right by the vines may adversely affect the delicate micro-organisms that protect the vine and its roots against disease. Of course many Saint-Nicolas producers do grass over their vineyards and some are organic but too many seem still attached to the chemical agriculture of the 1980s.  

Should the Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil decide not to restrict the use of weed killers, they may well be perceived to have become complacent due to their commercial success.

A suivré…       

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