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, 4 February 2009

Charles and Philippa's traditional Tuesday night bash

A possible nightmare: five Charles Sydneys for the price of one!

Now back in London having driven back up from the Loire. Plenty now to write up, especially the brief entries over the last few days. Spending the day at the Salon and then going out in the evening leaves little time for writing and posting. More pictures have been added to the Wine Bloggers trophy competition.

Time to post some photos taken at Charles and Philippa Sydney's traditional Tuesday evening event – a blend of the Loire growers, UK wine buyers and the odd journalist. Charles and Philippa are based in Chinon and have been Loire wine courtiers for over 20 years acting as a conduit between their Loire growers and the UK market.

Jérome Choblet of Domaine des Herbauges, Bouaye
– Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu

Jean-Hubert Lebreton (Domaine des Rochelles) gave his vintage report in English

"It only rained on my neighbours' vines!" Charles is frankly
sceptical of Alexandre Monmousseau's claim

Chris Hardy, wine buyer for Majestic Wine Warehouses
"It's going to be a tough year."

I'm sure Olivier Mouraud, commercial director of Bougrier SA, would agree. In the first year of their new vendangeoir in the Pays Nantais they made just 2500 hl of Muscadet-sur-lie in a facility designed for 8000-10,000 hls. "We are close to Castel's new facility in la Chapelle Heulin," Olivier told me, "and we have benefitted as Castel have paid for all the infrastructure to be put in."

In the light of current pressure from UK buyers on French producers to lower prices to compensate for the fall of sterling against the euro, Jean-Marie Bourgeois (Henri Bourgeois) remarks that when sterling was strong UK buyers didn't press producers to put up their prices!

Marielle Henrion, Château de l'Aulée, Azay-le-Rideau

Château de l'Aulée's very good Crémant de Loire Brut Zero was served as an aperitif.

Loïc Cailbourdin (Pouilly-Fumé) and Pierre Sauvion (Château du Cléray, Muscadet)

This is always a very good opportunity to taste lots of different wines, as long as you can remember what you have poured into what glass. The growers bring along a selection to try – sometimes new wines not but often bottled wines from the last few years – often from good vintages.

Some wines I enjoyed:


2007 Haute Culture, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, Château du Cléray
2008 La Grand Reserve du Moulin, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, Gadais Père et Fils
2007 Typique, Pouilly-Fumé, Alain Cailbourdin
From 80 year old vines on flint at Saint-Andelain. I've always found Alain's wines to be pleasant enough but not thrilling. This one caught my attention.

Florian Mollet (Saint-Satur, Sancerre)

2005 Le K Ampelidae, VDP de la Vienne
2005 Les Varennes du Grand Clos Clos, Chinon, Charles Joguet
+ 2007 Clos de la Dioterie, Chinon, Charles Joguet
A reminder that I need to seriously review the recent vintages of this domaine after the dilute disappointments released in the late 1990s and early 200s.
2005 Quintessence, Saumur-Champigny, Château du Targe
Very concentrated and initially very impressive but I suspect one of those wines where one's enthusiasm declines rapidly because it is showy but not drinkable. of course in 5 or 6 years it may be stunning!

Sylvain Miniot (oenologist, Cave de Saint-Pourçain) Olivier Mouraud (Bougrier SA) and Sophie Merlin-Cherrier (Bué, Sancerre)

Sweet wines
2007 Les Onnis, Chaume, Domaine des Forges
2007 Chaume, Domaine Cady
Two good sweet wines from the very attractive, vibrant and well-balanced 2007 vintage. The Cady has a little more concentration. Unfortunately it looks like the Branchereaus (Domaine des Forges) have gone for a catastrophic label redesign. The new label just looks naff and cheap undermining the quality in the bottle.

Chris Hardy (Majestic Wine) and Christophe Gadais (Gadais Père et Fils, Saint-Fiacre, Muscadet)

Table including Philippe Vatan (Château de Hureau, Saumur), Nick Room (Waitrose), Jérome Choblet and Stéphane Branchereau

Stéphane Branchereau (Domaine des Forges, Saint-Aubin)

Alain Cailbourdin (Pouilly-Fumé) wonders whether Alexandre Monmousseau (Château Gaudrelle) has fallen asleep in mid-sentence

With several growers from Sancerre and Pouilly present, the lamentable state of the Clos de la Poussie (Bué, Sancerre), owned by Baron Patrick de Ladoucette came up. They expressed anger and frustration that one of the finest sites in the area is now in such as ruinous state – contrasting this with the Baron Patrick's well-groomed vines around Château du Nozet in Pouilly.

The Clos de la Poussie showing many missing vines

Detail of one of the vines in the Clos de la Poussie

More on Baron Patrick de Ladoucette's Clos de la Poussie here.

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