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, 31 March 2010

BaLaDO: Centre Val de Loire Edition 2010-2011

I bought a copy of this new edition to leisure activities in the Région du Centre. There are 390 suggestions of things to do – leisure activities, places to visits, walks, canal trips etc – when in the Région du Centre. Each activity or place to visit is given a page. The guide is divided into 10 sections. These include nature, walking, horse rides, river or canal trips, history, arts and crafts as well as a section on places to visit with babies and children. There are BaLaDO guides covering all of France.    

My copy came from Le Lézard Vert in Epeigné-les-Bois but I assume they are widely available in bookshops around France.

BaLaDO: Centre Val de Loire 2010-2011 – des loisirs pour tous, en toute saison, Editions Mondeos, 512 pages, 14.90€

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Epeigné-les-Bois: a school trip and some spring photos

 L'Ecole d'Epeigné-les-Bois

Last week some of the children, aged 8 and 9, from Epeigné/Luzillé's primary schools spent a week at Batz-sur-Mer, which is between La Baule and Le Croisic. Pictures of the journey can be found here on Epeigné's official site. Schooling for the children of Epeigné and Luzille is linked – sharing facilities in both villages.


Photos taken around the village this morning during a brief sunny spell – an hour later it was overcast and wet.


Municpal pansies

More pansies

Blossom and L'Eglise

Le Lézard Vert: promise of future drinks outside but sadly not today!

A couple of forthcoming events in April

Art by' Cabernet d'Anjou

15 avril 2010
Le cabernet-d'anjou créé la rencontre des arts et du vin et se met en scène à la Bastille.

Dans 10 bars tendances*, 10 artistes font appel au public pour réaliser une oeuvre dédiée à ce rosé demi-sec, le temps d'une soirée.

Dessin, sculture, photo, jeu, mise en formes et en lumières... ce quartier parisien sera nimbé de rose et plongé dans une bonne humeur communicative et gourmande !

* L'Art Café, Le Bar des Ferrailleurs, Le Café Divan, Le Charlotte Bar, El Rancho Dominicano, L'Iguana Café, Le Mégalo Bar, La Pirada, Le Que Pasa, Le Tribar.


Antoine Simoneau: le Dimanche 18 avril 
Portes ouvertes avec barbecue dans les vignes: 9h-19h
20 Rue des Vendanges, 41400 Saint-Georges-sur-Cher.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Bourgueil in Tours: 27th March – my favourite wines

I was delighted to have the opportunity to taste a big selection of the 2009s from Bourgueil on Saturday afternoon in Tours. Admittedly 2009 is a very good vintage, so the standard should be high but there were no undrinkable wines among those I tasted and I tasted all the 2009s on show from the 46 vignerons present. I fancy that 10 years ago this would not have been the case: there would still have been some rough, rustic, unripe wines despite 2009s favourable conditions.

A pity that some of the hordes of wine merchants and journalists heading to Bordeaux for the en primeur tastings this coming week did not take the time to stop in Tours on Saturday to become acquainted with these 2009s. Almost all of them less than 10€ a bottle prix publique from the domaine – many closer to 5€ and likely to be offering more pleasure per euro than many of the highly priced wines being tasted in Bordeaux.

My favourite producers/wines
These are the wines/producers I picked out from tasting the 2009s Don't forget that many of the wines have yet to be bottled.  The light styles will be bottled fairly soon, while some of the vin de garde will not be bottled until 2011. The lighter styles come from vines planted on sand and gravel or gravel, while the more structured wines come from the clay-limestone coteaux.

My impression is that some of the 2009 'cuvée printemps' would in a lesser vintage be considered vin de garde given their concentration and structure. 

Listed in the order I tasted them:

Château de Minière (Ingrandes de Touraine): showed three wines. My preference was for the middle cuvée: Château de Minière from 40 year old vines planted on the coteaux. The Cuvée Vieilles Vignes is very concentrated but currently quite marked by the wood, so difficult to assess properly at this stage.

Lamé Delisle Boucard (Ingrandes): Domaine des Chesnaies.

Jean-Marc and Stephane Breton, Vignoble de la Grioche (Restigné). One of my discoveries of the day. 13ha of vines. Liked their cuvée printemps, Cuvée de Santenay (5€) from 30 year old vines  on gravel but was particularly impressed by their Cuvée Manon from 60 YO vines on the coteaux, which will be around 6€ when it is available – a bargain! I see from Stéphane's rather dormant blog  that they won a Saint-Vincent at the Bourgueil Concours 2008 for their 2007 Cuvée Manon.

Delanoue Frères, Domaine de la Noiraie (Benais). 32 ha estate including 7ha in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil. 10ha in Bourgueil is in conversion to organic viticulture. Won a Saint-Vincent for their rosé. Their soft and supple spring red Cuvée Saint-Vincent comes from 25 year old vines on the gravel. They used carbonic maceration on 10% to emphasize the fruit. The dense and structured Cuvée Prestige is from 50-60 YO vines on the coteaux.

Nau Frères (Ingrandes): I find this domaine consistently impressive and 2009 is no exception. Les Blottières (6€) will be bottled in June, while the powerful and impressive Vieilles Vignes is unlikely to be bottled before 2011.

Jean-Marie Amirault (Benais). 10 hectares – 5ha on the gravel at Restigné and 5 on the coteaux at Benais. Powerful, black fruited and impressive 2009 – not sure which cuvée I'm afraid!

More to add

Also liked: 
Christophe Chasle/ Xavier Courant: Coteaux
The is a domaine of seven hectares in Saint-Patrice which was run by Christophe Chasle from 1982 to 2008. Last year he decided to retire and sold the domaine to Xavier Courant, who used to be a caviste and then studied viticulture and how to make wine at Montreuil-Bellay. Xavier made the 2009s.

Joël Julienne (Chouzé-sur-Loire):  a small domaine of just 2ha of vines on sand/gravel.

Domaine Jérôme Godefroy  (Chouzé-sur-Loire): Wasn't very impressed with the slightly rustic 2009 but certainly liked the concentration, balance and structure of the 2008 Les Champs Colesses. 8 ha of Bourgueil plus some in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil.  

Other recent posts on Bourgueil around 8th Fête de Bourgueil here (Concours), here and here.

See also my posting on Le 5 du Vin for Tuesday 30th March.

In progress 

Sunday, 28 March 2010

First floor ladders – a disappearing sight in Touraine

The sight of a ladder propped up to a first floor mansard window or entrance used to be a typical sight in Touraine, when houses didn't have internal staircases and a wooden ladder was the only way to access the storage space above the living quarters. As houses are renovated to include internal staircases, this is becoming a rarer sight. These two examples come from Céré-la-Ronde.

Loches en Fête: 3rd to 5th April

Le Château de Loches

Loches en Fête» 3 au 5 avril 2010 :
Foire et savoir-faire en Touraine Côté Sud

C’est place de Verdun, dans un décor boisé, reflet de notre patrimoine forestier, avec un clin d’œil au Québec, que vous accueillent les participants de la 2ème édition de « Loches en Fête ».

Sous un espace couvert, les exposants des 4 Communautés de Communes formant le Pays Touraine Côté Sud proposent leur savoir-faire en matière d’habitat, d’énergies renouvelables, de construction, etc. Afin d’alimenter le pôle destiné à la filière bois, des échanges et rencontres entre public, professionnels et acteurs économiques du territoire sont organisées.

Un second pôle installé dans le carrefour, le « pôle bois », accueille l’allée des tourneurs sur bois, du débardage à cheval, un sculpteur sur bois et une démonstration de bois de chauffage.

Venez-vous restaurer au sein du village alimentaire et comme toujours vous amuser à la fête foraine jouxtant la place de Verdun.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Bourgueil vertical: 1999-1959 – all the nines

Following the concours tasting in L'Hotel de Ville in Tours, there was a vertical of Bourgueil on the theme of the 9s stretching back from 1999 to 1959. The tasting was held in a room reserved for marriages – large and echoey. Sadly some of the audience was not as attentive as the fine commentaries given by Pedico Lagrasse and Jacques Puisais (JP) deserved.

Perico Lagrasse
Jacques Puisais and his Burgundian tie
Jean-Claude Audebert: master of ceremonies

Details of the vintages are outlined below. Overall, my favourite wine of the evening was the 1969. Sadly, although the much-anticipated 1959 still had the sense of a hot year, the palate disappointed with a dominant acidity as the fruit had not survived the passage of time.

We started with the 1999. Jean-Claude Audebert of Audebert et Fils recalled that 1999 was looking like an excellent vintage until there was a very heavy storm around Restigné on 3rd September. Despite this there are some attractive wines from 1999. "A year without excesses – temperature, etc.," commented Jacques Puisais. Incidentally Jacques was perhaps being a little provocative wearing a tie listing many of the Burgundian wine villages. Still a similar one for Bordeaux would probably have caused more offence!

Like all of wines in the vertical this was served blind with no indication of producer. The 1999 was mid-weight with some notes of sous bois with attractive easy drinking fruit and some refreshing acidity in the finish. A classic Loire red.

The 1989 moved us from the classic, traditional Loire red style to the abnormal. 1989 was a very hot and dry year – widely acknowledged as one of the great Loire vintages of the 20th century. Perhaps in the top three along with 1921 and 1947. Since this marked the bicentenary of the French Revolution I'm sure the French viewed the exceptional climate of 1989 as a sign of divine approval of the events 200 years ago. "Regarding the sum of the temperature during the year 1989 saw 300˚ more degrees than normal," remarked Jacques Puisais. It was not unusual for the grapes to have reached 14 degrees potential, even on occasions 15.

From the soft and round aromas, including notes of leather, it is evident that the 1989 comes from a very hot year and, like in 2003, you sense that the wine could come from the south of France. There is some acidity in the finish but noticeably less than in a classic year. Possibly very slightly drying in the finish but certainly a wine to enjoy drinking especially with JP's suggestion – a filet de biche presumably cooked for him by Jean Bardet, present at this soirée. Bardet used to have the restaurant and hotel, Jean Bardet, in northern Tours. He retired about two or three years ago.

Perico Lagrasse talked about an unusual excess of sunshine being more difficult to cope with than a lack of sunshine. Although this is fair comment for dry whites, I'm not convinced that it holds true for the Loire except some would argue that in 2003 there was too much sunshine and heat. I suspect that given the choice most people would plump for a 1989 in preference for a 1984, 1977, 1972 or other years where the sun was notoriously shy.

1979 was as Perico correctly said 'l'année le plus modeste'. Definitely old style Loire Cabernet Franc dominated by green pepper notes and initially, at least, lacking charm. It did improve in the glass but really only a wine for Loire fanatics even if does reflect its terroir. I fancy today with similar weather conditions the result would be very different given the improvements seen in viticulture and vinification over the past 30 years.

1969 was a real revelation. "We had a super September," commented Jean-Claude Audebert. "The vintage was very tannic and most of the wines would have spent one to three years in wood before bottling." The 1969 still had lovely ripe fruit with the characteristic, sooty, coal tar notes of Loire Cabernet Franc along with hints of pencil shavings. Good length and a lovely bottle. "You need 30-40 years to really see the truth," said JP, "nowadays we attach too much importance to young wines." JP's food suggestion: veal kidneys grilled over vine cuttings.

Unfortunately, as already mentioned the 1959, couldn't live up to the 1969.

Bourgueil in Tours: 27th March

A good crowd gathering around 4pm

When I arrived around 1.45pm it was quite quiet and easy to move from stand to stand tasting. Fortuntely the showers mainly stayed away apart from a few insignificant drops of rain. By 3.30pm, however, the alley was starting to fill up and by 5pm had become quite a crush. The weather was good for tasting not too hot or cold.
By 5pm definitely quite a crowd

Tasting makes you hungry – ham on the bone, andouillette etc.  

More postings to follow – Friday night's vertical and my favourite 2009s following today's tasting

15èmes Journées du Livre et du Vin de Saumur: Sunday 11th April

 François Rabelais and Pierre de Ronsard part of the fresco@Chanceaux-près-Loches

L'Ivresse Amoureuse: thème des 15èmes Journées du Livre et du Vin de Saumur
En filigrane le bicentenaire Chopin
Clin d’œil à 100 ans d’amour du cinéma

Lieu : Saumur, Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent
- Dimanche 11 avril 2010

- 130 auteurs, 10 tonnes de livres, 2700 bouteilles dégustées, 7 prix littéraires décernés, un train spécial Paris-Saumur, l’événement festif et littéraire de l’hexagone qui attire des milliers de personnes, une exposition d’affiches sur l’amour du cinéma tirée d’une collection privée sur 800m2 de galerie (des lithographies à offset), des séances de signatures, des tables rondes, des variations musicales, des cafés littéraires, des entretiens, la dégustation des vins « Prix d’Excellence » de la Loire du Sancerre au Muscadet et aussi une reprise exceptionnelle du Cadre Noir avec la remise du Prix littéraire « Pégase ».
- De grands noms ont d’ores et déjà accepté de fêter l’ivresse amoureuse : Irène Frain, Régine Deforges, Benoîte Groult, Claude Chabrol, Mathias Moncorgé Gabin, Macha Méril, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, Eve Ruggieri, Anouk Aimée, Jeanne Manson, Claude Sérillon, Nelson Monfort, Claude Brasseur, Brigitte Fossey, Michel Onfray, Jean Favier, Jacques Weber, David Foenkinos, Alain Baraton, Guillaume Laurent, Maryline Desbiolles, Florian Zeller, Nelson Monfort, Bernard Werber, etc.
Les organisateurs,
Jean-Maurice Belayche 
Jean-Yves Clement 
Patrice Monmousseau 
Contact Presse : Hélène Marchand
02 41 83 83 90
06 45 08 83 73

Dédiées à l’acteur Jean Carmet qui a permis d’en initier l’idée, les Journées Nationales du Livre et du Vin, créées en 1996, se situent à la croisée de deux éléments fondamentaux du patrimoine français : sa littérature et son vin, associés au sein d’une manifestation d’ampleur nationale.

Elle réunit des écrivains, les grands vins de Loire, la gastronomie et la presse nationale, et des personnalités de tous horizons représentatives de l'art de vivre à la française (Irène Frain, Macha Méril, Régine Deforges, Marie-Christine Barrault, Denis Tillinac, Jean-Claude Carrière, Olivier Roellinger, Jim Harrison, James Crumley, Claude Chabrol, Bernard Giraudeau, Claude Brasseur, Bernard Werber, Florian Zeller etc.)

La tradition littéraire de la région, que Ronsard, Sade, Balzac, Dumas, Flaubert, Morand, Green, Genet, ont marquée de leur empreinte, la douceur de son art de vivre, la présence majestueuse de Rabelais et les vertus de la “Dive Bouteille”, tous ces charmes se conjuguent harmonieusement au cœur des coteaux du Saumurois, dans l’horizon dessiné par la Loire et les façades de tuffeau “qui renvoie comme aucun autre matériau au monde le soleil frais de huit heures du matin“ (Julien Gracq).

Les éditeurs, les vignerons de renom, des représentants du monde littéraire et viticole (écrivains, critiques, œnologues, sommeliers, etc.), des personnalités du monde du spectacle, se réuniront le 11 avril 2010 au cœur de la Ville de Saumur, pour fêter, autour de « l'Ivresse littéraire », le 15ème anniversaire des Journées Nationales du Livre et du Vin.

Programme prévisionnel 2010
Journées Nationales du Livre et du Vin
Saumur dimanche 11 avril 2010
10h30  Reprise exceptionnelle du Cadre Noir (Grand Manège) en l’honneur du Livre et du Vin 
Remise du Prix littéraire « Pégase », clôturé par le saut de la table des écuyers du Cadre Noir suivi d’un vin d’honneur

13h45   Ouverture des portes au public

14h00 à 19h  Séances de signatures : rencontre des auteurs avec le public
Exposition permanente d’affiches de films ‘100 ans d’amour du Cinéma’ de la collection privée de Thierry Marquez

Dégustations des vins « Prix d’Excellence » de la Loire 2009/2010 par Jacques Puisais, ex- président des œnologues, président fondateur de l’institut du goût
Tour du monde de vins par Claude Gilois, fondateur de la Société « Vins du monde » (Nouvelle-Zélande, Argentine, Etats-Unis, Chili, Australie, Brésil, Grèce, Inde et Ukraine)

14h15  Inauguration officielle du Livre et du Vin avec la remise des 7 prix littéraires 2010 présidée par Eliette Abécassis, Florian Zeller, Elisabeth Barillé, Denis Tillinac, Irène Frain, Régine Deforges, Pierre Bonte, Jean Amadou, Claude Chabrol, Guillaume Laurant, Brigitte Fossey, Marie-Christine Barrault et Alain Borer

15h00 à 16h  Table ronde sur « L’ivresse amoureuse » animée Jean-Yves Clément avec Anouk Aimée, Gilles Leroy, Laure Adler et Patrick Poivre D’Avor

15h00 à 19h Entretiens 
« L’amour du sport », entretien par Nelson Monfort (30 min)

« Benoîte Groult » entretien par Antoine Boussin (50 min)

« Les mots érotiques du vin » par José Artur avec Philippe Brenot, Marc Lagrange et Nathalie Roussel et d’autres en préparation...

Interludes musicaux dans le cadre du bicentenaire Chopin : Chopin par le pianiste Pascal Amoyel (révélation soliste instrumental en 2005 aux victoires de la musique, accueilli comme ‘un miracle que l’on osait plus espérer’ pour son intégrale des Nocturnes de Chopin.  (2 interludes de 20 min)

Cafés littéraires avec Anne Chevrel (France 3) 

« L’ivresse musicale » par Eve Ruggieri

« Les amours de Marie-Antoinette » par Elisabeth Reynaud
« Les amours mythiques » par Patrick Mahé

« Delon-Romy, un amour impossible » par Bertrand Tessier

16h30  Projet de l’enregistrement d’une émission de France Culture avec Raphaël Enthoven 

19h00  Fin du Salon

*Toutes les animations littéraires sont en cours de préparation.

Tarif entrées:

Salon Livre et Vin (seul) : 3 € (gratuit enfants moins de 16 ans) 

Livre et Vin avec spectacle Cadre Noir : 8 €

Points de vente :

- Office de tourisme de Saumur
- L’Ecole Nationale d’Equitation
- Accueil Bouvet Ladubay
- Billetterie Espace culturel
- Billetterie Centre Leclerc Saumur

Friday, 26 March 2010

Bourgueil: Results of the Concours de Saint-Vincent 2010

The 2010 winners with their Saint-Vincents

There were three categories judged at the Concours de Saint Vincent on Friday evening: Bourgueil Rosé, Bourgueil Cuvée Printemps and Bourgueil Vin de Garde. The winners were:

Bourgueil Cuvée Printemps
Medaille d'Or: Jean-Marc Breton
Medaille d'Argent: James Petit
Medaille de Bronze: Pierre Caslot, Domaine de la Chevalerie 

Bourgueil Vin de Garde
Medaille d'Or: François Gore
Medaille d'Argent: Pitault Landry et fils
Medaille de Bronze:  Lamé-Delisle-Boucard

Bourgueil Rosé
Medaille d'Or:  Delanoue Frères
Medaille d'Argent: Thierry Dupuis
Medaille de Bronze: Jérôme Godefroy

Bourgueil invades Tours: Saturday 27th March

 Part of the coteaux at Bourgueil

A reminder that there will be 46 Bourgueil producers in Tours tomorrow. I shall be off shortly to Tours to help judge in the Concours des vins de Bourgueil, which will concentrate on the 2009 vintage.

Details of the concours here.

Details of the Bourgueil invasion here.

5e édition, le festival Excentrique: Amboise

 A clown@the carnival in Bléré in April 2009

Report from La Nouvelle République this morning.

'Un déluge de clowns est annoncé sur la ville
Pour sa 5e édition, le festival Excentrique joue la carte des clowns.
Plusieurs rendez-vous clownesques sont proposés au public d'ici juin.'

'Un spectacle des élèves de 3e année de l'école Le Samovar, école de clowns de Bagnolet, est programmée le 17 avril à Amboise. Des lâchers de clowns sont aussi annoncés en différents lieux dans la semaine du 12 au 16 avril et dans la période du 17 au 19 juin.' 

Lire la suite ici. 

Thursday, 25 March 2010

An evening with Modération

A modération of geese

 As is well known, Modération is now  the most popular name for pets in  France whether for cats, dogs, guineapigs or various tame birds including parrots. This ensures that the French people comply with the Loi Evin, consuming wine 'avec Modération'. It has also meant that few pets are now allowed out in the evening. 

Last Saturday night we had a group of friends over to dinner and we looked at a number of wines – not all the bottles were emptied.  

 Crémant de Loire, Domaine de la Grange

As we don't have a pet we have to use a moderation substitute – in this instance a modération of geese.We started with Bruno Curassier's Domaine de la Grange soft and creamy Crémant de Loire, which is a blend of Chenin & Chardonnay. Then moved onto one of our favourite fizzes – Triple Zéro from Jacky Blot, which did not disappoint.

Triple Zéro, La Taille aux Loups

1996 Vieilles Vignes, Chablis, Domaine Sainte Claire, Jean-Marc Brocard

Not from the Loire but not far away and a lovely bottle of wine – or rather a lovely magnum. Quite opulent evolved nose with some buttery honey with that typical aged character Chablis takes on – mousseron mushroom and still fresh in the finish. Went well with the warm salad of local goats' cheese, mushrooms – Paris and oyster – and lardons.

 Le Vilain P'tit Rouge, AC Touraine, Vincent Ricard

2004 is not a particularly easy vintage for red Loire – yields tended to be high after 2003 when there had been some frost and which was also the year of the heatwave. Le Vilain P'tit Rouge from Vincent Ricard and also in magnum was showing very well with soft, ripe black fruits and none of the unripe aromas – rooty and green pepper – that some 2004s have. Le Vilain worked well with a very good joint of beef – bought from a very good, new butcher near the Plough in East Dulwich, London SE22 – that we had brought over with us and served with individual Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. 

2004 La Closerie, Touraine, Clos Roche Blanche

The onion gravy for the beef was made using a bottle of the 2004 Clos Roche Blanche La Closerie – probably better not to tell Catherine and Didier, although it was for a good cause. Like Le Vilain Le Closerie also tasted well – now softening out and properly ripe. 2004 is one of those years when the name of the producer is particularly important.     

Post to be completed

Loi Evin – encore fou!

From a report in The Times: 18th March 2010. 

'French law drives country’s first television wine channel into exile
Adam Sage, Paris
Edonys has fallen foul of France's ban on promoting alcohol on television
You might think that French officials would have raised their glasses in celebration of a project to create the first Gallic television channel dedicated to wine.
Instead, they appear intent on driving the station into exile, possibly to Britain, after deciding that it will fall foul of the toughest laws on alcohol promotion outside the Muslim world. 

The story was also picked up here on

For further press articles on the proposed TV programme click here

Indage Vintners threatened with bankruptcy

View of the Château de Saumur.
Yesterday carried a story by Richard Woodward about the possible bankruptcy of Indage Vintners. 

'Indage Vintners under threat of bankruptcy
March 24, 2010

Indage Vintners, India's best-known wine producer, is fighting for its life after being issued with a winding-up order in Bombay's High Court.

The company, formerly known as Champagne Indage, has total debts of about INR4bn (£59m), according to the court, and assets of only INR2.76bn.'

26th March: Please note that I confused the ownership of Bouvet-Ladubay yesterday. Bouvet is owned by United Breweries not by Indage Vintners, so therefore is certainly not affected by the problems of Indage. My apologies for the confusion.  

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Loches market

Vegetable stall in the centre of the market

The Wednesday morning market in Loches is always worth a visit if you are in the area. We would have gone to the Saturday edition last week but as it was pouring with rain it didn't appeal.

L'Ecremières: the excellent cheese stall

Street in the heart of the market

In the pink – the happy pig!

Reflections of the market in the Café du Balto windows

Café du Balto: time for a calm coffee while watching the bustling market

Wine shop: Les flaveurs de la Terre

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

2010 Michelin stars in Touraine

La Promenade in Le Petit Pressigny

There are nine restaurants in Touraine that have a Michelin star in 2010. They are:

L'Auberge du XII Siècle in Saché
Le Bon Laboureur in Chenonceaux
La Chancelière in Montbazon
La Promenade in Le Petit-Pressigny
Le Château de Marçay, Marçay near Chinon
Charles Barrier and Le Roche Le Roy in Tours
Les Hautes Roches in Rochecorbon
Le Chai du Manoir in Restigné close to Bourgueil

Le Chai du Manoir is a new star.

I understand that Jacky Dallais, who with his wife runs the wonderful restaurant – La Promenade in Le Petit Pressigny, is sometimes criticised for not playing the celebrity chef and coming out of the kitchen to greet customers. I may be old fashioned but I prefer the chef to be in the kitchen preparing my meal. Just like I don't want my bus driver to be wandering around asking how I'm enjoying the journey!

Report here on our last lunch at the La Promenade, Petit Pressigny – August 2009.

Analytical penalties

A few weeks ago a Loire producer had a visit from La Technicienne looking after the Unité Territoriale 'Val de Loire' and based at 73 Rue Plantagenêt, BP 92144, 49021 Angers Cedex 02 for the Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualité.

The visit was to check this producer's rosé and all seemed to go well – the rosé passed its various analytical tests. However, the producer was astounded to receive the following letter because they had forgotten to hand to La Technicienne the laboratory analysis. Equally La Technicienne apparently did not ask for the analysis.

Recommandé avec accusé de reception



Vu les dispositions législatives et réglementaires du Titre IV du Code rural,
Vu les dispositions des directives du Conseil des Agréments et Contrôles de l'INAO,

A l'issue d'un contrôle effectué par l'organisme d'inspection Association des Services des Syndicats Viticoles de l'Anjou et de Saumur (A.S.S.V.A.S.), sur votre vin revendiqué en AOC <>, sur votre vin revendiqué en AOC (Rosé de Loire), numéro de lot *******, au titre de la recolté 2009, our un volume de **** hl, un manquement a été relevé:
la non remise de l'analyse du lot devant être réalisée dans le cadre de l'autocontrôle.

Vous trouverez ci-joint la copie du rapport d'inspection, ainsi qu'un tableau reprenant le manquement et la sanction encourue. Vous pouvez adresser le tableau joint dans un délai de 15 jours, en indiquant vos observations dans la partie grisée du tableau.

En l'absence de réponse et/ou observations de votre part dans ce délai de 15 jours, la sanction encourue prendra un caractère définitif. Vous aurez alors un delai d'un mois pour faire appel de cette décision auprès des services de l'INAO>

Toute décision de déclassement de lot, de retrait du benefice de l'appellation, de suspension ou de retrait d'habilitation est notifiée à la direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes, ainsi qu'à la direction générale des douanes et droits indirects.

Je vous prie d'agréer, Messieurs, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée.

Pour le Directeur de l'INAO
Et par délégation
(de surface?)


In view of the gravity of this heinous crime it was obviously out of the question for La Technicienne to have phoned or emailed the domaine and asked for the missing analysis be posted or emailed to her in Angers.

Clearly the producer concerned deserves either a long period of incarceration (avec souris) or summary execution.

Monday, 22 March 2010

le Vini Circus: Friday 9th - Monday 12th April

Oyé, oyé, le Vini Circus nouveau est soutiré, il faut le voir: du vendredi soir 9 avril au lundi midi 12 avril 2010 à Hédé en Ille et Vilaine, le festival Vini Circus revient.

Dans la joie, l'allégresse et la fête, deux jours de vins, de cuisine, de musique, de spectacle dans une ambiance chaleureuse mais décontractée. Tous les renseignements sur <> .

Colportez la bonne nouvelle, Vini Circus est revenu ...

À bientôt à Vini Circus.

L'édition 2010 du Vini Circus se tiendra :
  • Le vendredi 9 Avril à partir de 19h
  • Le samedi 10 Avril de 10h à 19h
  • Le dimanche 11 Avril de 10h à 19h
  • Le lundi 12 Avril de 9h à 13h

Cette année encore, plus qu'un simple salon, c'est un festival autour du vin nature qui aura lieu avec concerts, démonstrations de cuisine de chefs, expos, débats, etc.

There will be 55 vignerons present including these producers from La Loire:
Béatrice et Michel AUGÉ T: 02 54 71 51 57 Touraine / Domaine des maisons brulées, 5 Impasse de La Vallée Du Loing, 41110 POUILLÉ
Sébastien BOBINET T: 06 87 62 31 14, Saumur Champigny, mailto:sebastien.bobinet@orange.fr14 rue de Beaulieu, 49400 SAUMUR
Patrick BOUJU, T: 06 50 07 97 11 Côtes d'Auvergne / Domaine de la bohème Thermorel, 63160 GLAINE-MONTAIGUT
Elise BRIGNOT T: Montlouis, 8, bis rue des Harnois, 37150 DIERRE
T: Anjou villages, Muscadet, Coteaux de la Loire, Coteaux d'Ancenis, Domaine de la Paonnerie - La Paonnerie, 44150 ANETZ
Joël COURTAULT, T: Touraine 28, rue de Bel Air, 41140 THÉSÉE
Nathalie GAUBICHER et Christian CHAUSSARD, T: Jasnières, Coteaux du Loir / Domaine le Briseau Les Nérons, 72340 MARÇON
Emile HÉRÉDIA, T: Coteaux du Vendômois / Domaine de Montrieux, 43, rue de Montrieux, 41100 NAVEIL
Joseph LANDRON T: Muscadet, Gros plant, Mousseux / Domaine Landron Les Brandières, 44690 LA HAYE FOUASSIÈRE
Marie-Annick LEMAIRE-FOURNIER T: Vouvray 201, rue Neuve, 37210 VERNOU SUR BRENNE
T: Vin de pays du Loir et Cher / Les Vins Contés Le Moulin-Neuf, 41120 CELLETTES
Alain et Jérome LENOIR T: 02 47 58 93 97 Chinon / Les roches 19 rue d'Isoré, 37420 BEAUMONT EN VÉRON
T: Côtes d'Auvergne, Rue de la Garenne, 63800 SAINT GEORGES SUR ALLIER
Agnès et René MOSSE, T: Anjou, 4, rue de Chauvière, 49750 SAINT LAMBERT DU LATTAY, Géraldine et Christophe PIALOUX, T: Côtes Roannaises / Domaine Picatier Picatier, 42370 SAINT HAON LE VIEUX
Pascal POTAIRE, T: Touraine / Les Capriades 8, rue des Aiguillons, 41110 MAREUIL SUR CHER
Thierry PUZELAT, T: Touraine, Vouvray, Montlouis, Cheverny 6, route de Seur, 41120 LES MONTILS,
Jean-Marie et Thierry PUZELAT, T: Touraine, Cheverny / Clos du Tue-Boeuf 6, route de Seur, 41120 LES MONTILS
Pascal SIMONUTTI, T: Touraine Mesland / Le pré noir, 2 rue de la Galetière, 41150 MESLAND
Christian VENIER T: Touraine 3, rue du Puits-Madon, 41120 CANDÉ SUR BEUVRON
Isabelle et Hervé VILLEMADE T: Cheverny / Domaine du Moulin Le moulin neuf, 41120 CELLETTES

The rising sap and other photos around Epeigné

Another sign of spring, a recently pruned vine weeping with sap

A deer – one of a pair: the male keeping an eye out while the female ate. This was the closest I managed to get.

A cave hidden in the hillside

Flinty soil in a vineyard – known locally as perruches

Touraine's typical big sky

Silent vineyard – where's the biodiversity?

French elections: Epeigné-les-Bois leads – France follows

Epeigné-les-Bois: result of the 2nd round

 François Bonneau (Socialist) comfortably won the second round of the French regional elections held at Epeigné-les-Bois yesterday.

François Bonneau (Socialist): 96
Henri Novelli (UMP): 64
Philippe Loiseau (Front National): 26
Total votes cast: 186
Bonneau's share of the vote: 51.6%
Novelli's share of the vote: 34.4%

The result across France mirrored Eepigné's with the Socialists taking 52% of the vote and Sarkozy's UMP party on 35%. This leaves the UMP in control of only one of France's 22 regions – Alsace. Following the Epeigné result (and probably influenced by the result elsewhere) French Prime Minister François Fillon is reported to be considering resigning.  

Sunday, 21 March 2010

2007 Saumur Blanc Frédéric Mabileau and P'tit Domaine Saumur-Champigny

2007 Chenin Blanc, Saumur, Frédéric Mabileau

Priorities are always important: within minutes of arriving from London on early Friday evening we were all enjoying a glass of Frédéric Mabileau's 2007 Saumur Blanc. This is showing brilliantly at the moment. It showed really well when it was first bottled in 2008 but then by late January 2009 it has closed up with an austere minerality dominating.

Now the opulence – honey and quince –  has returned and this has a terrific balance with the still present mineral austerity and clean finish that is so typical of the 2007 vintage. Stunning at the moment but I fancy it will continue to keep really well. This is an historic bottle for Frédéric: not only was it the first vintage from his parcel of vines at Le Puy Notre Dame but also it was 60 years after his grandfather had made their last white, from Chenin Blanc, from the vineyards of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil.

See posting on picking the 2009 vintage with Frédéric, Natalie and the family. 


 2006 Le P'tit Domaine, Saumur-Champigny, Richard Desouche

Richard Desouche, the manager of Château de Chaintres (Saumur-Champigny) also has his own vines which are bottled under Le P'tit Domaine label. The 2006 is an attractive mid-weight wine which went well with some grilled lamb chops.

2006 back label