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, 19 January 2009

Wine journalists are clearly not vegetarian

Château de Brissac venue for the dinner

Sarah Ahmed, the ‘Wine Detective’, is one of the very few UK wine journalists who is a regular at the annual Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers. On Friday she accepted an invitation to the Anjou Villages Brissac and Coteeaux de l’Aubance dinner on the eve of the Salon and asked for a vegetarian option.

Sarah was very considerably taken aback and offended by the following blunt email she received today from the PR agency looking after journalists attending the Salon.

Dear Sarah,

Unfortunately the menu for the Brissac evening was already planned and starter and main meal are not vegetarian.

- entrée : terrine de foie gras accompagné d'une gelée à l'Aubance, de toasts aux figues et d'une salade légère
- plat principal : civet de canard, sauce griotte avec une touche de cacao accompagné de petits legumes
- dessert : poire pochée à l'Aubance et feuillantine au thé et raisins

I will understand if you decide not to come. Please let me know.
Best regards,

Agence Clair de Lune

As she finds the Brissac event a useful opportunity to get an overview of Anjou Villages and Coteaux de l’Aubance, Sarah is now hoping to find a way of getting out to Brissac to taste the wines and then get back to Angers to have dinner.

Staggering that in 2009 no arrangements are made for people who do not eat meat and what a good way to win friends!


Alice said...

Hello Jim, Eight years ago when I attended, I did not ask, I assumed there was always a cheese course, and I made sure to have lunch. But food aside, there is no way I'd ever attend that dinner again. The wines are still dreadful, so there was not only little to eat there was nothing worthy to drink. The speeches were long and boring, but the chateau is lovely and it's worth taking a peek at the famed portrait of Madame Clicquot, but personally, I'd suggest Sarah hit the wine bar in Angers. That's what I'll be doing this year.

Jim's Loire said...

Hi Alice. I agree that some AVs can be unlovely but there are some good ones about. I too avoid gala dinners as far as possible. Which wine bar are you thinking of in Angers?

See you at the Renaissance tasting.


Alice said...

I can't remember the name of it, but there was one that was minutes old, the last time I was in for the Salon, I could find it, but I can't describe it. As I remember there were none other in Angers, but perhaps time changed that?

Jim's Loire said...


Two suggestions, although I haven't been to either:

Le Cercle Rouge, Angers
6 Rue des Deux Haies, Angers

o tono, Angers
Rue d'anjou, 49100 Angers

Le Cerle Rouge is in the centre, while o tono is not far from the station.

Alex said...

You don't say whether or not journalists are expected to pay for this meal or if they are guests. If they are paying, I would expect some leeway/tolerance on the menu, if they are guests ... that's a very different kettle of fish.

Jim's Loire said...

The journalists are guests but the purpose of the evening is to promote the wine sof Anjou-Villages Brissac and Coteaux de l'Aubance, so it would be sensible for the organisers to have thought that some of their guest might not eat meat, especially as there could be journalists from a number of different countries.