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




Thursday, 16 May 2019

Pancho Campo's MW restored.....?





'Cala Pancho Campo MW'


17th May 2019: Tasting of 10 wines 
presented by Pancho Campo MW



In these grim days it is cheering to have a Good News story. Pancho Campo's many friends and admirers will doubtless be delighted that Pancho has apparently returned to the MW fold. Campo famously resigned as an Master of Wine in early May 2012. 

'Pancho Campo MW' will be London tomorrow presenting Spanish 10 wines. Unfortunately I somehow missed the official announcement from the Institute of Masters of Wine of Pancho's return. Perhaps curiously, for the moment, Campo also does not appear to listed as as a current MW neither alphabetically nor by region

 
Update: 
Clarification – comment from Pancho Campo:

Well, that is totally inaccurate.
 
My bio is in the website of my company chrand.es and in my personal site panchocampo.com
 
It must be a mistake from whoever published those news. 
 
I shall inform the people who hired me.


 

      

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Sébastien David petition: an extraordinary success


This petition was launched on Monday.  In only some 48 hours the petition in support of Sébastien Davis, who has been ordered to destroy 2078 bottles of his 2016 Coef Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil because of an alleged excess of volatile acidity, has reached an extraordinary more than 52,000 signatures. It broke through the 50,000 barrier around 8.30 am BST this morning.  

Until late yesterday afternoon the numbers signing had been growing steadily to over 10,000. Suddenly the petition exploded – really took off – doubling, trebling over the course of yesterday evening. 

See earlier posts here and here. Also reporting by Isabelle Saporta.

Update 20.00 CET (8.5.19): 75,000 latest target crushed and now onto 76 698 signatures

Apparently Sébastien is ordered his 2016 Coef by Monday 13th May, which is why the court appearance at Orléans is so important. It is estimated that if Sébastien is forced to destroy his 2078 bottle of Coef it will cost him 50,000 euros. 





Monday, 6 May 2019

Please support Sébastien David (Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil) to save his wine from destruction



La préfète ordonne la destruction de son vin. Soutenons Sébastien David, vigneron bio!

Sébastien David, vigneron en Loire connu et reconnu, conduit sa vigne et ses vinifications en bio et en biodynamie pour produire des vins rouges qui se retrouvent tant sur la table des plus grands restaurants que chez les amateurs du monde entier. Des vins gourmands, vivants, des vins d’émotion, à mille lieux des vins industriels aux 100 intrants. Il n’est clairement pas dans la norme.

Please sign this petition here. Shortened English version below.

Acte 1
Coïncidence, il reçoit la visite d’un agent de la DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes) qui lui prélève 3 bouteilles de sa cuvée « Coef » millésime 2016, qu’il vinifie naturellement et élève en amphores et qui donne, millésime après millésime, des vins magnifiques.

L’analyse des échantillons par le BIEV (Bureau d’Investigation des Enquêtes Vinicoles) y aurait décelé une teneur en acidité volatile au dessus de la norme alors même que la technicienne du même laboratoire trouvait cette teneur "satisfaisante" après examen organoleptique. Sébastien procède alors à deux contre-analyses dont les résultats vont tous deux à l’encontre des résultats du BIEV et sont même en dessous de la norme européenne.

Pour l’anecdote, l’instrument de mesure utilisé par le BIEV leur a été vendu par ce même laboratoire où Sébastien a procédé aux contre-expertises. Et les techniciens de ce laboratoire de lâcher que "ce n’était pas la première fois qu’un employé du BIEV n’utilisait pas correctement l’appareil" !

Malgré les résultats des deux contre-expertises, les inspecteurs bloquent le lot de 2,078 bouteilles (mise sous scellé avec interdiction d’y toucher) et portent l’affaire devant le tribunal de grande instance de Tours. Mais ce dernier juge la faute non recevable et ‘libère’ le lot. Fin de l’Acte 1, soulagement pour Sébastien.

Acte 2
Soulagement de très courte durée car le même jour que le jugement du tribunal de Tours (étonnant parfois cette rapidité de l’administration), Sébastien reçoit de la part de la préfète d’Indre et Loire, Corinne Orzechowski (pref-secretariat-prefet@indre-et-loire.gouv.fr), un arrêté lui demandant de faire détruire, dans le mois, son lot de 2,078 bouteilles. Ayant demandé une audience pour connaître les motifs de cet arrêté de destruction, la préfète botte en touche et renvoie aux services de la DGCCRF. Vous avez dit justice expéditive ?

Acte 3
Afin d’éviter la destruction de ces magnifiques bouteilles qui représenterait un préjudice financier énorme et mettrait son entreprise en péril, Sébastien n’a d’autre recours que la procédure en référé d’urgence dont l’audience aura lieu vendredi prochain, 10 mai à 11 heures au tribunal administratif d’Orléans. La séance est publique, tout le monde est donc plus que bienvenu pour le soutenir. En espérant que ce soit enfin un vrai procès où il sera entendu et pourra se défendre.

Action
Pour que l’erreur administrative ne devienne pas une erreur judiciaire, Sébastien a besoin de vous et de votre soutien. Car la seule fraude que l’administration pourrait lui reprocher c’est de vouloir faire du vin vivant et libre avec comme seul et unique ingrédient : le raisin.

Votre signature aidera Sébastien, nous l’espérons, à sauver ses 2,078 bouteilles de Coef 2016.
Mais au delà, c’est aussi soutenir une viticulture artisanale, respectueuse de l’environnement, vivante et qui s’exprime le plus librement possible sans entrave administrative superflue.

Merci de signer et de partager un maximum - #sauvonscoef16
PS : C’est en discutant avec des amis aussi scandalisés que moi par cette injustice et bien-sûr avec l’accord de Sébastien David, que j’ai pris l’initiative de lancer cette pétition. Le billet originel de Sébastien se trouve ici

Shortened version in English:
The French administration wants to destroy a batch of 2000 bottles of wines. Let's support Sébastien David, organic winegrower
Sébastien David, renowned biodynamic winegrower in the Loire valley, produces great red wines without any additives and other winemaking inputs. He is clearly not up to industrial wines standard.
Coincidentally, the French administration came to pick up samples of his “Coef 2016” cuvee and detected a volatile acidity level above allowed threshold, even though the technician from the same laboratory found this level "satisfactory" after organoleptic examination. Sébastien then proceeded with two counter-analysis, both contradicting the results of the French administration.

Despite the results of the two counter-analysis, the administration sealed his batch of 2,078 bottles and the prefect of Indre and Loire, Corinne Orzechowski (pref-secretariat-prefet @ indre-et-loire.gouv.fr) asked via a decree, to destroy his batch of 2,078 bottles within a month. You said expeditious justice?

In order to avoid these magnificent bottles being destroyed, which would represent a huge financial loss and would put his business at risk, Sébastien had no other recourse than an urgency procedure and the open hearing will take place next Friday, May 10 at 11 am at the Administrative Court of Orléans. Everyone is more than welcome to support him. Hoping that this time he will be heard and will be able to defend himself.

For this administrative error not to end up in a judicial error, Sébastien needs you and your support. Because the only fraud that the administration could blame Sébastien with is that he wants to make wine with a single and unique ingredient: the grape.

Your signature will help Sebastien to save his 2,078 bottles of “Coef 2016”.
But beyond that, it demonstrates your support of a ‘craft viticulture’, respectful of the environment, and which expresses itself as freely as possible without superfluous administrative hindrance.
Thank you for signing and sharing a maximum


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Loire Millésime 2019 – 23.4. + 24.4


 Group assembling outside the Radisson Blu, Nantes

First evening: Tuesday 23rd April 2019

I'm in Nantes for the third edition of Loire Millésime, organised by InterLoire. 


 
The band at Le Bateau Lavoir

Group of 12 @ a répas off-piste
Le Coq en Pattes 


Wednesday 24th April: an afternoon and evening of Muscadet 


The Atlantic and the oyster farm


François Robin 
i/c communications Vin de Nantes

Jo Landron, Domaine Landron, La Haye Fouassière 

Margot, Domaine Thierry Besnard
Monnières-Saint Fiacre


Nicolas Choblet, Domaine de Haut-Bourg
Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu

 
Stéphane Luneau, GAEC Michel Luneau
Mouzillon-Tillières
 

Vincent Lieubeau, Domaine Famille, Lieubeau
Château-Thébaud



Piping group into dinner with Bateau Muscadet


Muscadet vignerons plus L'equipe du Chef Mathieu Guibert


Mathieu Guibert with bottle of 
Muscadet of his birth year - 1981

Fabien Lainé – blogger,
drone and video specialist, sommelier 
as Easter Bunny 
 
 
More to follow.....


Friday, 19 April 2019

Epeigné-les-Bois: les jardinades – Sunday 21st April


Starts 9am finishes at 6pm – all welcome

Please note that les jardinades are on Sunday not Saturday as I had earlier posted.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Epeigné-les-Bois: 1er tranche of community vines planted






The first three rows are now planted

Newly planted parcel – Lieu dit: Gandelard 


1st 150 vines planted in the commune's new communal vineyard organised by Les Amis des Patrimoines d'Épeigné les Bois. The first 150 are Le Plantet, a hybrid which was very common in Touraine between the two world wars and in at least two decades following. Chosen because of its resistance to disease. Also known as 5455 Seibel. 

Vincent Beaumont, the wine-maker, says the first vintage will be in 2021 or 2022 depending on whether this summer is dry or wet. If wet the vines will grow sufficiently to permit a vintage in 2021. "The Plantet won't produce a 'grand vin' but it should be attractive to drink and can served at various fêtes here in Epeigné-les-Bois.   

Three watch while four work at other end of row

L'equipe gets down to work (above and below)



La précision s'impose.....

Jean-Michel Prieur, le chef de culture, and 
Vincent Beaumont, the wine-maker confer

 Juan watering the newly planted vines

Fabrice au plein boulot


Vincent making a hole for a vine 
'je monte la garde'

Le pauvre ... un vieux paysan complètement 
crevé par ce boulot dur.....

Organsing le cassecroute

Vincent serves 2018 Sauvignon Blanc
made from vines in Epeigné-les-Bois




Saturday, 6 April 2019

Early Thursday morning – once again April frost hits the Loire

A young bud at risk of being destroyed by frost

Dramatic photo from Frédéric Mabileau's Facebook page
The very real danger is that the ice will magnify the sun's rays 
and burn the delicate young bud.

Aspersion at Domaine Frédéric Mabileau, 
Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil.
Provides protection by spraying water on 
the vines to make a protection coating of ice.


Thursday 4th April 2019 will be another black date etched in the memory of some Loire vignerons as yet another spring frost strikes part of the Loire Valley. 

Early on Thursday morning temperatures dropped in parts of the Loire to a low as minus 4. Wednesday afternoon and Thursday saw a lethal combination of factors. It rained during the latter part of Wednesday, which meant that there was a lot of humidity and that the vines are their young buds and leaves were wet. The skies cleared. The humidity turned to ice as the temperatures fell into Thursday and then on day break the sun rose in the clear skies. The ice around the young buds and leaves acted as a magnifying glass for the sun's rays burning those leaves and buds. This meant that even the temperatures didn't have to be as low for minus 4 for severe damage to be caused. In the Layon it fell to minus 2 with the humidity unfortunately accentuating the damage.  

This lethal combination of weather factors mirrors that of the very destructive frost of 21st April 1991. A damaging frost in early April has recently been rare, although in 2003 there was a frost on 8th April, which luckily caused limited damage. The destructive frosts have tended recently to come in the latter part of April.   

Reports from regions and producers (Friday 5th 2019)
Obviously these are initial reactions and it is too early yet to really know the extend of the damage. However, in general it seems that its is largely the vineyards to the west of Tours that have been affected. To date the vines in the Cher Valley 

François Robin, Vin de Nantes:  
"Yes we have some frost damage, especially in the areas, like Clisson, Mouzillon, Le Pallet and the Côtes de Grandlieu, where bud break is early. It is too early to know exactly how much the damage is. Fortunately 2018 was a big vintage so we have some stock in reserve. We had rain and hail during Wednesday. Then temperatures fell to minus 3 overnight."

Vincent Ogereau, Domaine Ogereau, Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay (Anjou)
"We have been very badly hit. It rained during Wednesday so there was a lot of humidity. Overnight the temperature fell to minus 2. The vines were completely white with hoar frost. Then the sun came up and burnt the buds and leaves. Savennières has been very badly hit. Unfortunately as the vines are well in advance this year the second generation buds may also have been affected." 


Ironically the 4th April was the 30th birthday of Emmanuel, Vincent and Catherine's son, who is now increasingly in charge of the domaine. The frost obviously put a considerable dampener on the celebrations.  

Ivan Massonnat, Domaine Belargus, Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay (Anjou)
'Bad news first: on a gelé à 60-80% dans la nuit de mercredi… Voila, je découvre la (vraie) vie de vigneron ! Sniff."


'Damage?'

'C’est un peu tôt pour le dire… Mais on a été le plus touché sur Quarts de Chaume, les Treilles et les Ruchères. Tough life ! On va croiser les doigts pour que les 2 semaines qui viennent nous redonnent un peu d’espoir…'

(Ivan, who set up his new domaine last year discovering sadly part of the reality of being a vigneron.)
     
Florence Chevallier, Château de Villeneuve, Souzay-Champigny (Saumur)
"A little damage but not serious for the moment. However, I am worried about a possible frost on the night of this Saturday to Sunday."

The north side of Saumur-Champigny is normally less prone to frost than the part of the appellation in the communes of Varrains, Chacé and St Cyr. From Antoine Sanzay's facebook it appears that his frost protection measures worked. However, there was frost damage in this sector including the lower part of the famous Les Poyeux vineyard as well as Chaintres. It is reported that in places the temperature fell as low as minus 5. 

Francis Jourdan, Domaine Jourdan-Pickard, Cravant-les-Coteaux, (Chinon) aussi président Vins de Chinon
"Dégâts estimés à 25% sur l'appelation ávec des 70% sur Cravant, Panzoult Crouzilles sur les zones non protégées. Point positif l'aspersion et tours antigel ont plutôt bien fonctionné.

Elodie Billard, Domaine de la Noblaie, Ligré (Chinon)
"Yes we have been hit. The buds are all open. Our parcel of Chenin close to the house has been totally grilled."

Natalie Mabileau, Domaine Frédéric Mabileau, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil
"In places where we didn't have any anti-frost measures we think we have lost 90% of the crop, although it is still too early to be sure. The apersion system proved to be the most effective, while the wind machines also worked. Unfortunately the five new anti-frost machines that we bought for this year did not work properly – one broke down and the four others gave a much more restricted area of protection than we had been promised. 

Unfortunately more frost is forecast for Sunday. Hopefully this will be proved wrong. There is nothing that we can do.'  

Patricia Boucard, Lamé Delisle Boucard, Ingrandes de Touraine (Bourgueil)
"It is like 2016 (Bourgueil was very badly hit in 16). Thankfully last year's vintage was generous but this is the third frost in four years – we can't continue like this. It's the vines on gravel that were hit. It is, however, still too early to know the full extent of the damage."

Alexis Caraux, director of Vins de Bourgueil
The temperature dropped to minus 3 and although the frost has caused some damage it is still too early to know the extent of the damage. We need to wait for a a few days to have a clearer picture." 


François Chidaine, Montlouis aussi président du syndicat des vins de Montlouis-sur-Loire
'Il semble que des secteurs de la commune de Saint Martin Le Beau soient touchés, mais ce gel  ne permet pas à ce jour d' être précis sur le pourcentage de perte.

Le mois d'Avril n'est pas terminé, et de nouveaux épisodes de froid peuvent arriver.
Il semble que Montlouis dans sa globalité ait plutôt bien résisté à ce froid, des efforts collectifs et individuels de lutte y sont pour beaucoup .

En ce qui me concerne , je n'ai que très peu de dégâts et j'en suis heureux.'


Corinne Collain, Communication AOC Touraine & ses dénominations
'Il semblerait que le gel ait fait des dégâts relativement importants dans le secteur d’Azay-le-Rideau. La température est descendue jusqu’à moins 4. Les autres secteurs n’ont pas été impactés.'

Benoît Roumet, director Bureau Vins du Centre (Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Menetou-Salon etc.)
Fortunately we haven't been affected by Thursday morning's frost that hit other parts of the Loire. Wind machines in Quincy were switched on but there are no reports of frost damage."


       
Further update: Monday 8th 2019
All the vignerons are worried as we are only in early April. In places temperatures fell overnight – Sunday to Monday. Here in Epeigné our central heating thermostat registered zero. Benoît Gautier (Domaine de la Châtaigneraie, Parçay-Meslay reported on Facebook that the temperature early on Monday morning was down to minus 2 in places. Fortunately it was a misty start which was providing some protection against the sun's rays. Also Sunday was fine and dry so less moisture than on last Thursday morning. 

Further west Saumur and Saumur-Champigny have been hit by a severe frost this morning (Monday 8th) with temperatures apparently dropping to minus 4. 

We are still in early April and traditionally the risk of frost is not over until Les Saintes de Glacé, which this year runs from Saturday 11th May until Monday 13th. However, recently the major risk has during April, especially in the latter part.

My thoughts are with the vignerons and vigneronnes during these stressful nights.


This post will be updated as I get more news.   





 
 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

A long, lovely lunch Chez Olivia et Vincent....


BU0A8035

O+VGéant 
Olivia and Vincent @ Vincent le Cuisinier
Ingrandes de Touraine

The idea was to organise a lunch around the wines of Jo Pithon that we haven't yet drunk, especially his first real vintage – 2005 – from the Clos des Treilles. Jo hasn't kept many examples of his old vintages. Ivan Massonnat hadn't tasted the 2005, so it made sense to have a lunch at Vincent le Cuisinier in Ingrandes de Touraine with the 2005 as the centrepiece. Clearly one bottle, however good, would not suffice so we added a few more, while remaining moderate.

IMG_9316

As an apéro we opted for the 1961 Le Haut-Lieu demi-sec from Gaston Huet. It still had a youthful golden colour. It was initially quite austere but took on more weight when decanted giving a lovely balance of fruit and acidity.

We had intended to hold the lunch the day before but that was not possible. Holding it on the Saturday proved to be fortuitous as Jacques Pusais was also lunching Chez Vincent. Giving him a glass of the 1961 Huet to try led to us discovering that it was Jacques who vinified this vintage for Huet – the first of several at the domaine. Jacques was born in 1927, so it was good to see him in such good form.

BU0A8030
Jacques Pusais, Ivan Massonnat and Jo Pithon 

Vincent and Olivia kindly created a special menu for us to go with the wines. For this they charged us a remarkably reasonable 39€ per person.

IMG_9317
entrée
Ris d’agneau roulés au beurre fermier,
jeunes poireaux et poêlée de betteraves
 
 
IMG_9336 (1)
2005 Les Treilles. Anjou, Domaine Jo Pithon (100% Chenin)
 
IMG_9337 (1)
 
 
Happily the 2005 turned out to be the real star of our meal with its great vivacity and energy. With its lovely texture, balance and finesse it went well with all of the dishes with perhaps the exception of the dessert. We served it with the entrée and kept it on the table.
 
 
IMG_9314
1992 Les Nouettes, Coteaux du Layon,
Saint Lambert du Lattay, Domaine Jo Pithon
 
This was remarkably impressive for a 1992, a decidedly difficult year starting with a very big crop as the vines had had a year off due to the terrible frost of 1991 and then the weather during harvest wasn't favourable with plenty of grey rot. It was fascinating hearing Jo talk about the measures and precautions they had to take to achieve this result – very clean, quite rich with well balanced length. Its richness matched the sweet succulence of the riz de veau.
 
Poulet-flambé
Vincent is not a man to be trifled with ......
 
 
IMG_9319
 
Poulet de notre vigne , cuit en cocotte
en deux services
la poitrine , Bourgueilette de légumes
la cuisse , jus réduit au thym
 
 
 
IMG_9318
 
 
The 1997 Le Gory, Saumur Blanc was made by Françoise Foucault, the wife of the late Charly Foucault. The 1997 is very rich, concentrated and powerful with still some traces of new wood. Although impressive it didn't have the finesse of the very food-friendly Les Treilles.
 
IMG_9320
 

This one is definitely reserved for special occasions like this – 1989 Dioterie, Chinon, Charles Joguet. Initially it was rather closed with notes of green pepper but in the decanter it opened up revealing lovely soft texture, complexity and length. Still youthful at 30 years.
 
IMG_9322
 
dessert
Pomme rôtie longuement
Biscuit d’épices , une escalope de foie gras pochée
 

Desserts are the preserve of Olivia and this one is very unusual as it features a slice of foie gras – utterly delicious!
 
 
IMG_9321
1993 Clos du Bois, Coteaux du Layon Saint Aubin,
Domaine Jo Pithon

Another very impressive wine from a far from easy vintage – not as difficult as 1992 admittedly. The 1993 Clos du Bois was richer and more concentrated than the 1992 Les Nouettes. It had lovely rich fruit – apricot confit, very fine texture matched with good acidity and a long finish. Making wine this good in a difficult year is the mark of a great vigneron! Chapeau Jo !  

BU0A8033.jpg
The evidence of modération
– none of the bottles were emptied by us






Vincent cuisinier de campagne
19 Rue de la Galottière, 37140 Ingrandes-de-Touraine
Téléphone : 02 47 96 17 21