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




Monday, 30 April 2012

Touraine Chenonceaux and Touraine Oisly – out with a whimper

Château de Chenonceau on the Cher has refused to allow 'Chenonceau' to be used for the new appellation. Instead it is 'Chenonceaux' after the village name. 

Tomorrow sees the official release of the first wines to carry the new Touraine Chenonceaux and Touraine Oisly appellations. The new Oisly appellation covers 10 communes in the Loir-et-Cher to the north of the Cher Valley and to the south of the Cheverny AC, while the larger and more extended Chenonceaux runs along both sides of the Cher and includes 27 communes from the départments Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher. 

The Oisly appellation is for whites only using Sauvignon Blanc and for the first vintage producers have opted to put forward only 16 hectares for appellation. The rest of the Sauvignon Blanc in the ten communes will continue to be sold as straight Touraine. 

The Chenonceaux appellation is for both white (100% Sauvignon) and red but the reds will not be released until 1st September. Like Oisly, only 16ha has been put forward for the white Touraine Chenonceaux and 19ha for the red. 

For the moment it looks like the Touraine producers have been sold or have opted to buy a pup as the price of the two new appellations was to 'rationalise' the grapes varieties are allowed for the straight Touraine AC. Previously a considerable range of varieties were allowed recognising that Touraine east of Tours is the melting pot of vinous Loire combining varieties – mainly Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from the Central Vineyards – with those from further west – mainly Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc but also Pineau d'Aunis, Arbois, Grolleau and others. Mix in Gamay, Côt and Sauvignon Gris and you have a wide palette of varieties. Clearly all too much for the bureaucratic mind and perhaps also for large companies wanting to simplify their marketing message. 

Under the new regulations pure Cabernet Franc there have been a number of casualties – no pure Cabernet Franc, nor Chenin Blanc, nor Pineau d'Aunis – either as a rosé or a red and no pure Fié Gris (Sauvignon Gris). Already producers of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc in the birthplace of Rabelais have successfully sought refuge with AC Chinon. I suspect that a number of producers of the often delicious Pineau d'Aunis Rosé and those like Jacky Preys, who make Fié Gris will sell their wine as vin de pays or Vin de France.

A complete dog's dinner and for what?

Rather than worrying about grape varieties you might have thought that the architects of the new régime might have followed the lead given by Saumur-Le-Puy Notre Dame and Savennières Roche-aux-Moines and either severely restrict or ban the use of weedkiller in the vineyard. The only restriction on the use of weedkiller in the new regulations is to ban producers from spraying their ditches close to their vines. And where pray does the water from the weed killered vineyards drain to if it does go into the ditches?

    


Portes Ouvertes: Huet (Vouvray) + Paleine (Saumur)

Clos du Bourg, Domaine Huet

More diary dates – this time Vouvray and Saumur-Le Puy-Notre-Dame: 
 
Journées Portes Ouvertes au Domaine Huet - 5, 6 et 7 mai & 17, 18 et 19 mai (10h à 19h) 
L’année 2012 fait défiler ses saisons. L’hiver fut de courte durée mais très rigoureux, quelles  en seront les conséquences sur la vigne ? Seul le printemps, encore précoce semble-t-il, apportera les réponses à ces interrogations. Le 
millésime 2011 a profité de cette période froide pour s’affirmer et révéler sa personnalité : nous vous invitons à venir le découvrir lors de nos portes ouvertes.

Ce moment de partage et d’échange sera également pour vous l’occasion de déguster une large sélection de nos vins. Nous vous invitons à venir les déguster ainsi que le tout nouveau millésime 2011, y compris le Mont Moelleux Première Trie 2011 et autres vins spéciaux dont le Mont Moelleux 1997 et Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux Première Trie 1990 ressortis exceptionnellement pour l’occasion. Ces dernières seront commercialisées uniquement lors de nos journées portes ouvertes.

Nous serons à votre disposition afin de vous expliquer nos méthodes de travail et vous accompagner dans la visite de nos caves.

**



Portes ouvertes au Domaine dela Paleine
Venez déguster nos produits gourmands, terrines de Loire, rillettes de gibiers et douceurs sucrées et découvrir les millésimes du Domaine de la Paleine du 11 au 13 mai prochain.

Les Trois Coups seront présents avec nous pour des concerts Samedi et Dimanche ! Un groupe à ne pas louper ! Découvrez les en attendant sur leur Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/236987884874/

Faites circulez et venez avec vos amis!!!
A bientôt au domaine!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Chinon and Bourgueil: Portes Ouvertes: 5th-8th May 2012


Bucolic idyll in the centre of Panzoult

Some more diary dates – open days in Chinon and Bourgueil for next weekend that includes the May 8th holiday:


Chinon 
Sunday 6th-Tuesday 8th May  
C'est avec plaisir que nous vous invitons à venir découvrir notre Chinon 2011, à l'occasion de la 20éme édition de nos Portes ouvertes, (du dimanche 6 au mardi 8 mai 2012, de 10h à 19h). Nous nous retrouverons autour de produits authentiques lors d'un moment convivial. Nous vous reservons de nombreuses animations et de nombreuses surprises! 
Suivez le domaine sur facebook: www.facebook.com/DomaineDeLaMariniere ou sur son blog : http://domainedelamariniere.viabloga.com

••

Bourgueil

Christophe Pitault – Domaine des Pins 

Samedi 5 mai 10h à 19h
Domaine Les Pins 
Pitault-Landry et Fils
8 route du Vignoble - 37140 BOURGUEIL
Tel: 02.47.97.47.91 email: philippe.pitault@wanadoo.fr

La famille Pitault-Landry vous accueille sur leur domaine. Nous vous proposons la dégustation de nos différentes cuvées avec projection des différentes étapes de la vigne. A votre arrivée, le verre du domaine vous est offert et des fouasses cuites dans notre four ancestral sont proposées le samedi tout au long de la journée afin de compléter la dégustation des vins.

Une promenade de 2 km dans notre vignoble en calèche clôturera votre journée.


Du samedi 05 au mardi 08 mai 10h à 19h:
Domaine des Geslets 
Sylvie et Vincent Grégoire
12, domaine des Geslets - 37140 BOURGUEIL
Tel: 02.47.97.97.06
C’est avec plaisir que nous vous accueillerons au domaine des Geslets.
Nous vous ferons partager notre passion et notre amour de la vigne et du vin. Dans les vignes, nous vous expliquerons les différentes étapes du cycle végétatif, nous poursuivrons dans le chai par la formidable magie des fermentations et bien évidement nous terminerons cet échange lors de la dégustation de nos différentes cuvée de Bourgueil et Saint‑Nicolas‑de‑Bourgueil et Crémant de Loire.
A tout de suite !

Nau Frères Portes Ouvertes 2011

Du samedi 05 au mardi 08 mai 10h à 19h:

Domaine Nau Frères 
Bertrand, Patrice et Abel
Tel: 02.47.96.98.57
Email: naufreres@wanadoo.fr
Nous recevons nos amis clients et tous visiteurs pour partager notre dernière
récolte 2011 que nous présentons en avant-première lors de nos portes
ouvertes, autour d’un sympathique buffet. Aussi, promenades dans les vignes
sur le thème de la plantation et de la jeune vigne.

We were at the Nau Frères portes ouvertes last year with not only the 2010 vintage to taste but also a range of wines going back to 1996. Some of the early vines were already flowering then. Despite the warm end of March and beginning of April I very much doubt if it will be the same this year with the wet, cool weather recently.

 CRM and Abel in the vines: May 2011 



Lundi 07 et mardi 08 mai 10h à 19h:
Domaine Nathalie et David Drussé 
37140 SAINT NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL
Tel: 02.47.97.98.24 

Au chai, en tant que Vignerons Indépendants, nous vous proposons une découverte du terroir et des vinifications. Dans le caveau, labellisé Bienvenue à la Ferme, vous pourrez déguster les millésimes médaillés et du jus de raisin, pour les gourmets et les enfants.

Pour conclure votre visite, une balade souterraine vous sera proposée jusqu’à notre cave troglodytique de tuffeau, du Xème siècle, avec une dégustation à la pipette des vins en tonnes.


Rural Kent joins Third World

Staying on the Kent and Sussex borders this weekend. Already had two power cuts today – one just before 11am which lasted about half and hour and one around 1.30 pm that last 20 minutes. Apparently in these parts this is quite a regular occurence when it rains!

Late flash (or would be if we had power!): third power cut of day just before 6pm for about another 20 minutes. Dinner delayed!

Loire: some bottles enjoyed sur place – March/April 2012

2002 demi-sec Le Haut-Lieu, Domaine Huet
 Wonderfully well balanced vintage, some evolution, delicate sweetness matched by precise acidity 

Some bottles drunk and enjoyed during our three week stay in Touraine from mid-March to early April. 

2004 Sancerre Rouge, Domaine Vacheron 
 2004 was not the easiest of vintages – some attractive fruit but toughish tannins from a time the domaine used more wood for their reds than they do now. Admittedly a different vintage but the emphasis in their 2010 Sancerre, drunk at the La Tour restaurant in Sancerre, is much more on the fruit.     

2005 Éclipse, Saint Nicola-de-Bourgueil, Frédéric Mabileau 

A couple of 2005 reds – one from Frédéric Mabileau and the other from Château Pierre-Bise. Both showing well with the potential to age further. The Pierre-Bise is the more ready to drink as Frédéric's Éclipse really needs more time.      




2005 Gorges, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Auguste Bonhomme

2005 Gorges, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Martin-Luneau


2009 Jubiliation Le Pallet, Vignerons du Pallet

We tried another three examples of new Muscadet crus communaux with two from Gorges and one from Le Pallet. Of the three Le Pallet was the least complex. Dangerous, I know, to draw any conclusions from just one bottle but I wonder whether the slightly shorter minimum aging on the lees for the wines from Le Pallet – 17 months compared to 24 for Clisson and Gorges – plays any part here.  Of the two 2005s from Gorges the Auguste Bonhomme was especially fine. Once again you have to forgot your traditional ideas of Muscadet and be prepared for a much fuller and more complex wine that will show best with more elaborate fish dishes than customary fruits de mers or moules marinières

2005 La Moussière, Sancerre Blanc, Alphonse Mellot

Les Alphonses 'basic' Sancerre is developing nicely and was served at a dinner with friends with a small selection of cheese including some local goat.



2006 Côt, AC Touraine, Clos Roche Blanche
Rich, delicious black fruits showing that Côt (Malbec and Auxerrois as in Cahors are synonyms) is probably the best red variety in the Cher Valley. As far as I can make out it will still be possible to sell 100% Côt under the insane new Touraine AC rules fashioned by bureaucracy and probably marketing conditions, while ignoring tradition, true 'typicity' and terroir in its widest sense. 

Sadly this next wine will be outlawed under the new AC Touraine Fou régime: 
    

2008 Cuvée de Fié Gris, Vieille Vigne, AC Touraine, Domaine Jacky Preys
Still quite difficult to find, Sauvignon Gris is often more interesting and complex than its more assertive cousin – Sauvignon Blanc. Jacky Preys has long made an excellent Fié Gris and has been instrumental in its revivial. The 2008 was a lovely bottle with weight, spice, delicacy with some floral notes, too, and more complex than many Touraine Sauvignons. Under the new Touraine regulations Sauvignon Gris can only make up 20% of the blend for AC Touraine Blanc. I hope the Preys family will continue to make this and sell it as a vin de pays or as a Vin de France. My guess is that they have built a sufficient reputation for this wine not to need the new fatally flawed Appellation Touraine Contrôlée label.

2009 petites grappes sur Basalte, Côtes d'Auvergne, Caves de Verny


2011 Enjoy, Côtes d'Auvergne Rosé 


Two impressive wines from the Caves de Verny, a cave co-operative at Veyre Monton in the Côtes d’Auvergne, kindly given to me to try by Fabrice Dagaut at the excellent Bon Laboureur hotel restaurant in Chenonceaux. Fabrice has recently started to list these wines.  2011 Enjoy (a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir) is an ideal pale rosé for a summer apéritif – red fruits and a fresh clean finish, while the Basalte is a concentrated Gamay coming from low yielding vines – only 25 hl/ha. It will surprise people used to drinking (or avoiding) dilute Gamays that often give this variety a poor reputation.
    
2011 Les marcottes, Gamay AC Touraine, Lionel Gosseaume
Another example of a delicious Gamay, this time from Touraine in the commune of Choussy, just to the west of Oisly and made by Lionel Gosseaume. Not a wine to analyse rather one to enjoy with friends. I hope Lionel hasn't been too badly hit by the frost in mid-April.  



 2010 Pinot Noir Marigny-Neuf, Ampelidae, Frédéric Brochet

2010 Sauvignon, Marigny-Neuf, Ampelidae, Frédéric Brochet

Two wines (samples) from Frédéric Brochet's Ampelidae: both from 2010 – a Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Noir is exuberantly juicy in a modern style made to drink young, while the Sauvignon is more restrained and more classic.    



Cuvée JM Monmousseau, Touraine

Ackerman bought the Touraine sparkling wine producer, Monmousseau, in the autumn of 2010. Cuvée JM (sample) is a creamy, pure Chenin aged for between 24 and 36 months in the cellars on the eastern side of Montrichard. Available direct on-line for customers in France for 45€ for six bottles. 

2009 Vent d'Anges, Pouilly-Fumé, Régis Minet
An impressively fine Pouilly-Fumé from Régis Minet with lovely racy, minerality. Added to the list of producers that I need to visit. Profile by Kermit Lynch here.   
   

Saturday, 28 April 2012

2012 Decanter World Wine Awards: last few portraits

 Ben Llewelyn (Caviste – independent merchant)


 Danny Cameron (Raymond Reynolds – Portuguese specialists)

 Elizabeth Gabay MW (consultant)

Justin Liddle (Stokes Fine Wines Ltd)


2012 Decanter World Wine Awards: a few pics from 4th day


Part of the downstairs@The Worx

Andy Howard (buyer for Marks & Spencer)

 Anthony Barne MW (head of UK wine Bonhams auctioneers)

 Christian Honorez (H2VIN)

 Godfrey Spence (writer and lecturer)

 John Livingstone-Learmonth

Jason Turner (Austrian specialist based in Vienna)

 

Downstairs@The Worx


 Jim Harre (Senior Judge with New Zealand Winegrowers, 
Chairman of Judges for the New World Wine Competition)

 Marcel Orford Williams (The Wine Society)

 Margaret Rand (writer and editor)

 Nico Manessis (Regional chair for Greece) and Fiona Beckett (wine correspondent for The Guardian)

Nick Room (wine buyer for Waitrose) 

Peter Cobb (writer and doyen of the Port trade)

Photographer

Tom Stevenson (Regional chair for Alsace and Champagne)

Part of the downstairs@The Worx

Friday, 27 April 2012

Lincoln Siliakus is home

Lincoln Siliakus@2012 Salon des Vins de Loire

Australian-born wine writer, Lincoln Siliakus, is now back at his home in Sablet after being taken seriously ill at the beginning of March. Lincoln is perhaps best known for having ridden in 2009 a vintage Solex, the scooter that liberated at least a generation of French teenagers, from Chablis to Sablet in pursuit of greater understanding of terroir. See here.

Last weekend he was allowed home for the first time, now Lincoln has convinced the medics to allow him home full-time:  


'Hi dear friends and family,

Guess what? This is Lincoln here. I’m back at home. We convinced the folks at the convalescence home that I was in good hands at home, and they let me go. What could be better for recovery than Anne’s loving arms, the calm of home here in the vines, to see the colours changing in the evening, the growing moon, the stars, the croaking of the frogs? And the hammock on the sunny terrace.

What a couple of months it’s been! I’ll tell you more about it soon.

You have all been truly fantastic, with your messages of support and photos. The mattress with your photos pinned to it created a sensation in the Marseille hospital, with nurses and doctors crowding around to see the latest additions.

It’s been a tough time for Anne, who has had to continue working while running backwards and forwards (the trip to Marseille was particularly long) and organising all of the paperwork. Her innate communication skills came to the fore, as you all know! She has a week of holidays next week, so we are going to take things easy together.

All for now. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart for your support and affection. It has made all the difference.'

Not quite Sablet but nearby Rasteau overlooked by the omni-present Mont Ventoux




Domaine Pierre Chauvin: Portes ouvertes - Dégustations: 28th April to 1st May




Du 28 avril au 1er mai, le domaine sera ouvert pour la dégustation et la vente de nos Anjou et Coteaux du Layon bio, de 10h à 12h et de 14h à 18h.

De plus, nous vous proposons plusieurs animations :

Le samedi 28 avril
A 15h30, dégustation commentée des vins du domaine avec des idées recettes simples et pratiques pour étonner vos amis. Un moment privilégié pour l'éveil des sens et la découverte des arômes cachés... (5 €/personne - sur réservation)
A 19h, dîner-conte : Pat Ouvrard vous fera voyager, rire, et saura vous émouvoir à travers ses textes. Claire-Marie et Lalla de "Ripaille et Tartine" régalerons vos papilles. Le tout accompagné bien évidemment des vins du domaine (17 €/adulte - 7 €/enfant jusqu'à 12ans - sur réservation).

Le dimanche 29 avril Durant toute cette journée seront présents quelques producteurs locaux qui partageront avec vous leur savoir-faire (escargots, charcuteries, apérinades et confitures créatives).

Le matin à 10h :
Lors d'une ballade à travers nos vignes, Philippe vous racontera le travail effectué tout au long de l'année.
Au retour le midi (12h30) :
L'association Mets-Tissés vous régalera d'une paella préparée sous vos yeux ! Les producteurs présents vous ferons (re)découvrir leurs produits, en accord avec les vins du domaine (16 €/adulte - 6 €/enfant jusqu'à 12 ans - sur réservation).

Le mardi 1er mai
Rejoignez-nous dès 10h pour une randonnée sur les sentiers de Rablay, avec votre pique-nique que nous partagerons à votre retour au domaine (vins et boissons offertes).

Détails et bulletin d'inscription sur cette page : http://www.domainepierrechauvin.fr/pages/porte-ouverte-vin-anjou.php

2012 Decanter World Wine Awards: regional chairs' awards

 The Bleeding lot!

Sign for restaurant

Although the regional and international results from the Decanter World Wine Awards are keenly awaited, it is the awards for the regional chairs that are most coveted generating ferocious competition. Traditionally they were announced during the regional chairs' lunch on the Friday of the competition. However, with the number of wines entered now over 14,000 the awards need all of Friday plus next Monday set aside for some panels to reassess their gold medals and decide on regional trophies, the lunch has now become a Thursday evening dinner.

2012 Regional Chair Awards

Christine MacDonald, new DWWA executive, with thank you bouquet 
 Sarah Kemp announcing regional awards, Steven Spurrier and Giles MacDonogh look on


Richard Mayson (regional chair for Port) won the Woman of the Year Award for 
his ability to multi-task 

Richard now ready for action!
New head chef@Bleeding Heart complex?

John "Golden Roan' Livingstone-Learmonth (regional chair for the Rhône) wins the 2012 easy virtue award for services to Gold Medals

The winners' celebrate...

The humble workers' awards
John 'Golden Roan' Livingstone then announced on behalf of the regional chairs the winners of the alternative awards: 

Anthony Rose (regional chair for Australia) – black teeth award from tasting powerful Ozzie reds


Lack of black teeth award: winner Tom Stevenson (below) who tastes Champagne and Alsace


One of Tony Aspler's (regional chair, Canada) fans for use of plane home

Other pics

Stephen Howse, Decanter's official DWWA photographer

 1940 Yalumba Vintage Special Reserve Tawny


Steven Spurrier very kindly shared on of two bottles of 1940 Vintage 'Port' from Yalumba. Robert Hill-Smith of Yalumba presented Steven with two bottles for his 70th birthday party. One was drunk at the birthday party and we were able to enjoy a small glass of the second which was complex, nutty and still wonderfully fresh. 

One of the tables set for dinner