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

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Le Bistrot@Les Belles Caves Tours

Menu for two courses from 18€, 40 wines by the glass 
and 1200 references on the wine list

On the last Friday of our recent stay in the Loire went to the Domain de la Taille aux Loups to taste the 2012s with Jacky Blot as well as pick up some 2012 Montlouis we had reserved last autumn. Following the tasting we were invited to lunch by Jacky at the Bistrot des Belles Caves in Tours, which Jacky and Joëlle Blot opened early last September.  

The 2012 Montlouis from Domaine are tasting well at the moment – once again underlining that 'difficult' less sunny vintages often lead to more interesting dry Loire whites than hotter years. The 2012s have texture, some weight but above all they have a vibrancy and balance – they should age well.

The 2012 Rémus (Montlouis) set the tone with its balance, while Rémus Plus is currently less open but has greater length – sufficiently impressive for us to add a late case to our reservation. The impressive Clos Mosny with its touch of honey and attractive texture shows that the Blots are getting to grips with their latest Montlouis vineyard – acquired in 2010 after the vintage and now being transformed from a politic of quantity to quality. In contrast the nearby Clos Michet is simpler, less intense and complex. 

Across the river at Noizay (AC Vouvray) the expressive Clos de la Bretonnière has a buttery character with a touch of oak with the small Clos de Venise parcel a step above – more finesse, a lightly floral character, citric, vibrant and long lasting.

Then a look at three of the 2012 Bourgueils – very interesting to compare the ripeness on le Haut de la Butte with its touch of green pepper and the richer, riper flavours of Les Perrières and Mi-Pente. Once again Les Perrières showed its delicate power, less muscular than Mi-Pente but classy.  

Then it was off for lunch at Le Bistrot des Belles Caves, 23 Rue du Commerce, Tours ( in the centre of Tours between the Rue Nationale and the Place Plumereau. 

On entering the Bistrot there is a bar and sitting area that leads through to the wine shop, where you can either buy wine from all over France to take away or drink in house by adding a flat 10€ fee to the retail price. This is surely the eminently sensible approach to pricing wine in a restaurant. Le Café de la Promenade in Bourgueil has a similar system – adding 8€ to the retail price but, of course, overheads are lower in Bourgueil than in central Tours. 

I had three courses (24€ – 18€ for two courses) starting with a delicious, quite thickly sliced seared tuna with a light salad. A perfectly cooked piece of cod followed. I finished with a sophisticated rice pudding. 

Brilliant – just seared tuna

    Perfectly cooked, moist cod

Opulent and creamy rice pudding with a caramel crème chantilly

We drank a fine 2010 Saint-Aubin from Domaine Hubert Lamy followed by a rather over-rich 2011 taburnum (100% Viognier) from Les Vins de Vienne, which was my choice!   


The retail shop

Some local wines

The bar area

The restaurant area (above and below)

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