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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

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2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 28 September 2013

2013 Loire Vintage: thundery, humid weather threatening rot

The approaching storm seen on A83 autoroute we were heading eastwards

Growers' obvious optimism aroused by last weekend's fine weather which continued into the early part of this week appears to be starting to give way to concern, especially for those picking early varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. In the Fiefs Vendéens this was clearly the concern of Jérémie Mourat and Thierry Michon. The concern about the threat of rot was reinforced when we visited Frédéric Brochet of Ampelidae in Marigny-Brizay, Haut-Poitou. Frédéric report that you could virtually see rot spreading in their Sauvignon Blanc as you watched!

There also appear to be some fragile parcels of Sauvignon Blanc in the Central Vineyards, so picking will soon be getting underway. 

Friday was very hot, humid – tropical. Driving back from the Vendée yesterday we passed through a large area of stormy weather that stretched from Fontenay-le-Comte to north of Poitiers. We drove through some very heavy rain – fortunately we encountered no sign of hail. 

 Heavy rain on the A83
Fortunately the rain was much more gentle by the time 
it got to the Haut-Poitou vineyards

Reaching the Loire we ran into another, separate area of thundery weather with very dark clouds to the north of Bléré in the direction of Amboise. 

Unfortunately there are showers, some of them thundery, forecast of most days this coming week, so I expect growers to be picking their early varieties as quickly as possible while hoping that the later varieties resist better and manage to ripen properly before rot sets in.

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