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

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme: overnight stay

 Incoming tide@Saint-Valéry 

Rather than driving back to London from Touraine in one day we chose this time to stop overnight in Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme. Although we have stayed on a number of occasions at Saint-Valéry, on the south west side of the bay of the Somme, it is a number of years since we were there. Interesting and good to return. 

Firstly it looks as though the silting up of the bay has gathered pace since our last visit. Much of the eastern part of the bay appears now to be permanent pasture. Of course, the days when clients of the Hotel du Port et des Bains crossed the harbour by boat to swim on the others side of the levée have long since disappeared. 

The town looks smart and more prosperous with a number of houses etc. refurbished plus plants and new pavements in the port area. There were, however, relatively few restaurants open last night. We ate quite well in the Le Nichols, which was full. Le Nichols, however, treats wine with contempt as so many restaurants in northern France do, offering few details apart for the name of the appellation – no vintage dates and rarely the name of the producer. We chose a bottle of Couly-Dutheil's Chinon Les Gravières d'Amador Abbaye de Turpenay. Before ordering I asked the vintage and was told it was 2009. However, seconds later when it arrived it had become 2010. I didn't notice in time and, in any case the 2010 was probably the better match for our food, but the lack of accuracy sums up the attitude to wine.      

Hotel du Port et des Bains 

 Seaward exit from the port 

Seaward exit from the port 

Unless you are a motor racing fan this is a time to avoid the popular A28 route to the Loire valley and on to Bordeaux as it is the 24 hour Le Mans weekend. As we drove north from le Mans on Thursday afternoon we could see a steady stream of cars (many sports cars and specialist cars) heading southwards for the race. It will not have helped that there was disruption on Friday morning at the tunnel due to illegal immigrants attempting to cross to the UK through the tunnel. 

Whereas getting to Le Mans is spread out over several days, the return is concentrated on late Sunday and Monday. Rouen is likely to be very busy as well as Le Tunnel sous La Manche.

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