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

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Loire news: Domaine Richou + Saget into Muscadet




News from Domaine Richou – 2017

Unfortunately 2017 joins 1945 and 1991 as years when Domaine Richou suffered serious April frost. The domaine was hit on 26th April overall losing 30% of the harvest. Les Rogeries and Le Champ de Pie were 90% wiped out – a total of 5ha 20. In Savennières La Bigotttière (1.30ha) lost 60% of the crop, while two parcels of Cabernet Franc suffered a 50% loss.

Quite early on the Richous decided not to make any Coteaux de l'Aubance in 2017 and instead make une grande cuvée from three parcels – Le Pavillion (schistes and quartz), Le Grand Vau (schistes gréseux and phtanites) and Les Rogeries (only 10% surviving the frost). 

Due to a poor flowering the Gamays from Les Chatelliers and Le Champ de la Pierre are down by 40% of normal. 

Domaine Richou is now organic.  


Laurent Saget

 Saget to invest in Muscadet

The Saget family, growers and négociants in Pouilly-sur-Loire announced today that they are in the process of buying a domaine in Muscadet. The sale will be finalised in March. Apparently they have long been looking to invest in the Pays Nantais. 



Tuesday, 16 January 2018

War over planting rights erupts in Champagne

Vineyards and looking northwards to Reims

News story from

By Barnaby Eales
Published:  16 January, 2018
'A war over planting rights is being waged in France, where Champagne growers want to severely limit new plantings of vines by rival growers in areas surrounding Champagne’s production zone.
Wine growers are aiming to secure planting rights for hundreds of hectares for the production of mainly still, but also sparkling wine as part of the restoration of Ile-de-France, which historically until the 19 century, was one of France’s leading wine regions.'


'Patrice Bersac, Chairman of Syvif - the Ile-de France Growers’ union, said the powerful Champagne Growers’ Union, Syndicat Général des Vignerons de Champagne (SVG), wants to establish a 25 kilometre wide ‘cordon sanitaire’ along the perimeter of Champagne’s production area in which the planting of vines would be prohibited.' 

Read the rest here

I can't say I have any sympathy with the Champagne producers wanting to establish a 'cordon sanitaire' around their vineyard where no vines could be planted. After all any sparkling wines from here couldn't be labelled 'Champagne'. OK it might be disappointing for the Champenois if sparkling wines proved to be better than those produced within the designated Champagne region. Tant pis!

Not long ago producers in Sancerre were pushing for a similar ban to stop anyone planting Sauvignon Blanc to produce Vin de Pays close to the Sancerre zone. I have no more sympathy for this demand either. Both are foolish and unnecessary protectionism. Make sure that your wines are impeccable and there will be no problem providing the strict labeling laws are adhered to. 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Newtonmore: white stuff on Blue Monday

The start of the snow around 3-3.30 Monday afternoon

Following a few days when it has been warmer making the black ice that unfortunately caused me to slide and rupture my quads from my left knee on Tuesday 2nd January disappear, snow and colder weather has returned to the Scottish Highlands this afternoon with a series of snow showers.Inthe interim I have been able to venture out on my crutches to get some much needed exercise.

Some more snow has fallen this evening lying now on the roads but only a maximum of two inches thick. More is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Whatever I'm going t have to remain inside while the snow remains – can't afford to do myself further damage ....  

After a few snow showers it seems again 
to be snow with more determination