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

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Good times and tastes@Vinaviva

(This was originally posted on Les 5 du Vin this week. This version includes a few new photos.)

We spent the morning of April 1st at the very enjoyable annual Vinaviva Salon in Saint-Etienne de Chigny on the north side of the Loire between Tours in the east and Langeais to the west. Vinaviva is organised by Amaviva, a group of wine lovers based in Touraine. 

The association's objectives are: 

'L’association a pour buts (article 2 des Statuts) :
L’organisation de manifestations destinées
- à faire découvrir le travail des vignerons et le vignoble,
- à participer à la promotion des vins issus de l’agriculture respectueuse de l’environnement et de méthodes de vinification et d’élevage traditionnelles.

La principale activité de l’association est
- d’organiser VINAVIVA, un salon annuel consacré à la rencontre de vignerons de diverses régions de France travaillant dans le respect de la terre, du raisin et du vin, donc des amateurs,
- de faire circuler des informations auprès des amateurs de vin.'

Amaviva are certainly a very friendly and welcoming group and they had organised an interesting range of 27 producers – 12 from the Loire with the others coming from all round France including Marcillac and four from Languedoc-Roussillon.  

We should have planned to spend much of the day at Vinaviva but unfortunately only had time to spend the morning there, so I concentrated on the Loire producers. Here are some of the highlights: 
Tessa Laroche, Domaine la Roche aux Moines, Savennières  

My top two wines were from Tessa Laroche – both 2010s: the impressive and opulent 2010 Roche aux Moines sec Savennières and then the sweet but beautifully balanced Cuvée d'Abbaye with 60 grams of residual sugar. Tessa explained that, although she started to be involved in the domaine in 2003, she fully took over running the estate from her mother in 2006. Since then she has been working to reduce the yields to between 20-25 hl/ha. Due to the weather it was only 17/18 hl/ha in 2010, slightly lower than intended but it has produced a couple of lovely wines. Previously this domaine's wines were quite tough and austere. 
Etienne Dutheil of Domaine Alcofribas, poetic agriculture and a glassy goldfish 

You can tell immediately that Domaine Alcofribas makes natural wine as their goldfish enjoys swimming in a glass! Alcofribas is a hobby vineyard of 1.1 hectares run by three friends – Etienne Dutheil, Eric Ployet and Alexander Poutrain – in La Roche Clermault within the Chinon appellation. Their Désalterégo 2011 (5€) is an attractive, full-bodied rosé, which is fermented in barrel, while the 2010 Naissance Chinon Rouge (10€) has sweet, ripe fruit. However, the 2010 Coteau de Reufflé (12€), a white Chinon fermented in 400 litre barrels was their most impressive wine – still with a touch of wood but with mouthfilling fruit and good length.
Eric Ployet of the poetic Alcofribas       

Vincent Gaudry, Sancerre

Vincent Gaudry, who is based in Sury-en-Vaux, makes very good austere and precise Sancerre. His 2010 L'Esprit du Rudolf from flinty vineyards is particularly good. 

Olivier Lemasson

Olivier Lemasson is based in Eastern Touraine but prefers the freedom of  Vin de France to either the Cheverny or Touraine appellations. Liked his 2011 Poivre et Sel – a spicy blend of Pineau d'Aunis and Gamay – best. 

  Géraldine Pialoux: Domaine Picatier in the zone of Côte Roannaise

Géraldine and her husband, Christophe, are recent arrivals in the Côte Roannaise. Like Olivier Masson they prefer to sell their wines under the Vin de France designation rather than use the appellation. They have eight hectares of vines with seven currently in production – 5 Gamay, 1 Pinot Noir and I Chardonnay. Their 2009 L'Intro (Gamay) has impressive concentration from 25 hl/ha.
Guillaume Reynouard: Manoir de la Tête Rouge,  Saumur

Guillaume Reynouard has 13 ha of vines at Le Puy Notre Dame, which he bought in 1995. From the four wines I  tasted his 2009 Chapitre, Saumur Blanc and the 2010 Bagatelle  juicy, easy drinking red being my preferences. 
salon des vins de libre expression la prochaine édition aura lieu les samedi 6 et dimanche 7 avril 2013 en Touraine, à Saint-Etienne de Chigny, entre Tours et Langeais.

Additional photos: 

 Marc Plouzeau, Château de la Bonnelière, Chinon

Jacques Gozard, Domaine Montoray, Montlouis 

Pascal Simonutti, Le Pré Noir, Touraine 

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