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, 17 August 2012

Touraine-Amboise: Foire aux Vins (August 15th)

Thomas Frissant, son of Xavier and Isabelle Frissant. Xavier is now president of Touraine-Amboise 

On Wednesday I spent around a couple of hours at the August edition of the Foire aux Vins d'Amboise, which is held in the tunnel under the château. I didn't manage to taste wines from all of the producers present. However, with a few exceptions it was the usual names who stood out: Xavier Frissant, François Péquin (Domaine des Bessons), Vincent Péquin (Domaine de la Tonnelerie) and Closerie de Chanteloup. As far as I know Coralie and Damien Delecheneau (La Grange Tiphaine), one of the Touraine-Amboise appellation's stand-out producers, don't do this Foire aux Vins. Certainly I have never seen them here.     

François Pequin pouring. He is Vice-President of AC Touraine-Amboise 

The very difficult climatic conditions of 2012 was a common complaint. François Péquin listed them for me. Firstly a mild January with temperatures up around 15˚C which encouraged the sap to rise early. This was followed by severe cold in February with temperatures down at -15˚C. Then a hot March and early April bringing on the vines early only to be hit by frost on 17th-18th April. High rainfall in May, June and July with a difficult flowering and widespread disease, particularly mildew.

Péquin also said that the grape skins this year were very tight and that bursts of hot weather tends to split the grapes, which may be bad news because of the high temperatures forecast for today and, especially, tomorrow. He also reported that Esca was a serious problem in his Sauvignon Blanc this year, which was a surprise as Esca is thought to be worse in dry conditions. 

In their roles as president and vice-president Xavier Frissant and François Péquin are hoping to be able to promote Amboise to cru status, so just Amboise would appear on the label rather than Touraine-Amboise. François suggested that the red might well be pure Côt (Malbec). It will be interesting to see the proposals but I'm far from convinced that Touraine-Amboise has quality in depth that would justify promotion to a cru; two steps in the pyramid above straight Touraine AC, which has some very good producers – the equal of virtually anybody in Touraine-Amboise. A suivre!         

The new chef de cave@Domaine des Bessons

Vincent Péquin

Willi Debenne of Closerie de Chanteloup

Thierry Denay (Domaine de la Croix)

Thierry Denay is the father of Brice Denay, who has recently set up on his own at the 7-ha Domaine du Breuil ( 2011 was Brice's first vintage and I tasted his easy drinking, juicy Rouge Elégance. Made from 100% Cabernet Franc it shows promise and it will be interesting to see how Brice Denay develops at the Domaine du Breuil, where he has started the conversion to organic viticulture.        

 Elegance on the Plou stand 

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