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, 10 November 2014

Gigondas charity (NSPCC) rugby match and auction

 Team photo: UK wine trade in white, Gigondas in navy blue

 Special shirt for the match@King's House sports ground, Chiswick

Yesterday I watched my first rugby match for many a year – probably the first one since I was a school, which is now a little while ago. How time passes! Held at the King's House sports ground beside the Thames at Chiswick, the match was between the British Wine Trade and producers and friends of Gigondas. Organised by Louis Barruol of Château de Saint-Cosme in Gigondas the match and the dinner at Stokes & Moncrieff (Twickenham) that followed were designed to raise money for the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

Louis invited The Circle of Wine Writers to supply some players for the UK team but unfortunately we either don't have any active rugby playing members or any that were available to play. Having only played occasionally at school and with little enthusiasm, I was prepared to go and watch but not run about on the pitch for 60 minutes! That requires a different fitness than cycling for long distances. Sadly I turned out to be the only journalist who made the trip to a part of Chiswick that I had never been to before.

It was a rather ad-hoc UK team that faced the might of Gigondas – some members of the UK trade plus friends of Louis Barruol from the little village of Lee, near Ilfracombe, North Devon. Louis has a holiday home here and his influence has transformed the wines of the local pub – the Grampus Inn run by Bill Harvey. Out has gone boxed wines from Stowells of Chelsea to be replaced with Gigondas from Château Saint-Cosme and other wines     

Fortunately it was a lovely sunny late autumn afternoon in marked contrast to the vileness of the day before – torrential showers during the afternoon and evening. 

The match was played in good spirit, no bones were broken although I imagine there will be some stiff limbs this morning! After initial pressure from the British, the Gigondas team's superior strength and technique began to pay off and they won by 17-10.   

Shaking hands@the end of 60 minutes

Dinner and auction@Stokes & Moncrieff
Following the match a magnum dinner and auction was held at Stokes & Moncrieff in Twickenham. It was a relaxed and very enjoyable occasion bien arrosée with magnums of Gigondas. The highlight of the evening was the auction of magnums and larger format bottles of Gigondas to raise money for the NSPCC. Jasper conducted the bidding to great effect raising £1560. 

Louis and Jasper in action
Louis Barruol 

 Louis with a Perpignan rugby shirt – 
a gift from former French international Michel Koniek

I suspect that the evening went on for a considerble time but I had to leave relatively early to get home on a Sunday night from this western extremity of London!   

Two favourite magnums: 

 2005 Valbelle, Château de Saint Cosme

2005 Confidentiel, Montirus   

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