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, 1 April 2013

Three portes ouvertes + lunch@Café de la Promenade

Part of the remarkable cellars at Domaine de la Chevalerie

Although the weather was foul on Saturday we had an excellent outing taking in three Portes Ouvertes – Domaine de la Chevalerie and Château de Minière (Bourgueil), Château du Petit Thouars and with time for a very fine leisurely lunch at the increasingly popular Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil.  

We started at the Domaine de la Chevalerie being looked after by Stéphanie Caslot and her assistant – Clémence, while Pierre Caslot busied himself topping up barrels – mainly 2012 but also with some 2011 still being aged.

We tasted from 2011 through to 2009 with a couple of 2005s to finish. I particularly liked the 2010 Galichets and Buscardières and from 2009 Peu Muleau, Galichets and Chevalerie. Finally the 2005 Buscardières was impressively good.  

Identifying the bottle stacks (above and below)


Pierre Caslot topping up barrels (above and below)

Stéphanie Caslot

Barrels, bottle stack and stainless steel vats for storage

 La Dilettante, sparkling Vouvray, Catherine and Pierre Breton

After the 2005s we headed off to lunch at Café de la Promenade, which is packed. Obviously the format of sharing slates of cheese, charcuterie, oysters etc. along with sensibly priced wine is proving a great success, especially as it is open every day and up to 15.30, so ideal if you need somewhere to have a late lunch. How much custom in tourist areas in France do restaurants lose by turning people away from 1.30 onwards? Owners Ludo and Sophie told me that business in the first three months of the year is up on 2012.

We started with a bottle of the Bretons' sparkling Vouvray. I tend to find their Vouvray more consistently convincing than their reds. We shared a number of platters – all consistently good – and enjoyed the soft and juicy 2010 Rouge Désir from Guillaume Galteau, Domaine des Vins Coeur. I don't think I have tasted the wines of this young vigneron, who is based in Ingrandes at 44 Route de Touraine, before. Certainly someone to look out for.     

2010 Rouge Désir, Bourgueil, Guillaume Galteau, Ingrandes-de-Touraine (above and below) 

We followed lunch by a quick excursion to Château Petit Thouars, on the south bank of the Vienne. Here the 2010s were showing well, so we came away with a couple of very reasonably priced six packs: Sélection and the Réserve, along with the same of 2009 Cuvée Amiral, a new cuvée made using only the press wine and aged for 14 months in oak. This still needs time for the oak to fully marry but it will be interesting to see how Amiral develops.  Currently AC Touraine the wines here will become AC Chinon in 2015. Before that the domaine will produce its first white from a recently planted parcel of Chenin Blanc in 2014.    

 bienvenue au Château de Minière

After Petit Thouars it was back over the Vienne and the Loire to Minière on the western side of Ingrandes, where we tasted another six wines including the new sparkling Bulles de Minière. I found the ripe, soft but structured 2010 Château de Minière from old vines the most impressive of the reds. 

Renovation work@Minière continues (above and below)

A light made from wine bottles  

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