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

Saturday, 31 August 2013

FestiVini: Saumur and its region – 7th -15th September

This year FestiVini runs from 7th - 15th September with a different event every day. See the programme here.

La Dégustation Privilège de Vieux Millésimes
Cette année FESTIVINI, le festival du Vin se déroule du 7 au 15 septembre 2013.
Le lundi 9 septembre, nous proposons une dégustation commentée de vieux et très vieux millésimes dans l'Aliénor Café, espace dédié au plaisir des sens à l'Abbaye de Fontevraud.

Cette année la « Dégustation Privilège » sera orientée sur la découverte du CHENIN, un des cépages phare du Val de Loire. La dégustation sera animée par l’œnologue ; Jean-Michel Monnier, qui par son expérience et ses connaissances vous fera vivre un moment inoubliable.
Les places étant limitées, n’oubliez pas de réserver pour être sûr de pouvoir découvrir des vins rares et exceptionnels dans un cadre riche d’histoire et de patrimoine.
Plus d’infos sur ou par mail à
Lieu : Aliénor Café - Abbaye de Fontevraud.                                                                                                   
Tarif : 45€/personne.   Horaire :20h.                                                                                                                                                          
Réservation : Office de Tourisme de Saumur. 8 bis quai Carnot – Tél. ou billetterie en ligne sur

Friday, 30 August 2013

Tour tramway will be inaugurated this weekend

 Map of the Tours tramway

After three years of disruption during work to install the Tours tramway, the new tram system will be opened this weekend: 

Après trois ans de travaux et de polémiques, le tramway est enfin sur les rails (jeu de mots non sponsorisé). Le dernier acte du grand barouf autour de ce moyen de transport a lieu ce week-end avec les festivités autour de l'inauguration.

Read the rest here
Also details in La Nouvelle République

Esme Morris Macintyre's grave@Newtonmore

 Esme Morris Macintyre: 14.2.1995-7.7.2013

Between 20th-24th August Carole (CRM) rode 270 miles to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of her niece, Esme Morris Macintyre, who died on 7th July 2013 aged 18 after a very courageous and inspirational nearly seven-year battle against the disease. You can donate here. More details here. Also Esme's Adventure on Facebook.

To date Carole has raised £2712 (£3348.75 with Gift Aid). 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

2013 Young Wine Writer of Year Award

Calling for entries to the 2013 Young Wine Writer of the Year Award – 13th great year. Deadline for entries 30th September. Over the last few years competition for this prize, which has launched the careers of some now well established wine writers such as the first ever winner – Peter Richards MW – has really hotted up. The competition is open to anyone aged 30 or under on 31st December 2013.  

Full details here on

The award is sponsored by the Circle of Wine Writers, Pavilion Books and Wine Australia.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

CIVC - fizzes and goes colour-blind over expected launch of 'champagne' iPhone

A bottle of Champagne – probably not easily confused with an iPhone..

The expected launch of a Champagne coloured iPhone 5S has caused anger at the CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne) according to reports:

'Le (vrai) Champagne montre ses muscles contre l'iPhone 5S couleur champagne
Les rumeurs de l'arrivée d'un iPhone 5S en variante dorée, voire couleur « champagne » ne sont pas du tout du goût du Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, rapporte l'Union, qui ne veut pas que le divin brevage soit associé à un vulgaire smartphone, fusse-t-il pommé.'

“Contrairement à Bordeaux qui est devenue une couleur générique, Champagne ne constitue pas une couleur harmonisée,” précise Charles Goemaere, the attorney for the CIVC. “Il y a une diversité. On ne peut donc pas considérer qu’il existe une couleur champagne.” 

However, it would appear that Goemaere is mistaken ('utter bollocks' is the technical term) to say that 'Champagne' is not a recognised generic colour. According to Wikipedia the first recorded mention of Champagne as a colour was in 1915

From Wikipedia

As well as the normal Champagne hue, there is medium champagne, deep champagne and dark champagne. Doubtless this will not prevent the CIVC going to court against Apple.

Decanting aged Cabernet Franc

The September 2013 edition of Decanter magazine carries my article, which celebrates the capacity of top Loire Cabernet Franc to age brilliantly. The article features a fabulous vertical of Bourgueil back to an amazing 1893, which was laid on by Philippe Boucard at Lame Delisle Boucard with aid from the Gambiers of Domaine des Ouches. It also links in with a fascinating tasting of Chinon held in September 2011 with wines from many Chinon properties going back to 1934. 

Several people, including Guillaume Lapaque picked up on the article on Facebook and Twitter, especially the 1893 Bourgueil to which I gave 100 points. As a rule I'm no fan of awarding points to wines whether it is on a 20 point, 100 point or 1000 point scale. I do, however, agree that for comparative tastings for magazines and wine competitions they are necessary.

In this instance it is Decanter's policy to use a 100-point scale for their articles. Given the history and the quality of the 1893 it would have made no sense not to give the wine 100 points but I'm not convinced that such a score makes very much sense nor does it add to the remarkable experience of the two tastings.      
Tasting back to 1893 deep in the cellars of Lamé Delisle Boucard

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

1855 to become Héraclès: you couldn't make it up!

1855 = Héraclès

Amazing! It has finally got through to the geniuses who run the fraudulent that their repeated failure over many years to supply the wines that their customers have ordered has made the company's name lethally toxic. So time to change the name – wipe the slate clean and hope that that there are still enough 'pigeons' to be taken in by this scam!

Shareholders in 1855.con will be asked on 19th September to vote through a name change – laundering 1855 to Héraclès (Hercules).  

'1855 va changer de nom. La société a convoqué ses actionnaires en assemblée générale mixte le 19 septembre prochain, pour notamment entériner le changement de dénomination sociale en "Héraclès".'

How very appropriate to name a company, which sells 'mythical' wines, after a mythical character!!  

One can imagine Fabien Hyon, managing director of the 1855 group, and Emeric Sauty de Chalon, founder and president of the 1855 group   discussing the name change:

Fabien Hyon: Bonjour Emetic (Emetic is apparently the rather tasteless nickname used by Emeric's friends).
Emeric: Oui, bonjour Fabien!
Hyon: Emetic I think we have an increasing problem with 1855 name.
Emeric: Why's that?
Hyon: Doing a search on brings up a lot of negatives. People are beginning to think we are fraudsters. It can't be long before the supply of pigeons (marks) starts to dry up. We need to react before its too late.
Emeric: Relax Fabien! Look we have got away with this scam for nearly 20 years – why change a winning formula? 
Hyon: No I'm serious Emetic – a name change would freshen everything up. All the dirty washing would go and would no longer have any meaning.
Emeric: You may have a point Fabien. Any ideas? 
Hyon: Well ...
Emeric: What about Hermes – the swift messenger to go with our new super-efficient logistics paltform?
Hyon: Emetic, I like the classical illusion but Hermes was the god of thieves! Isn't  that a bit too close to the truth?
Emeric: Perhaps...
Hyon: What about Héraclès?
Emeric: You know Fabien that's a great idea!


Assuming that the name change goes through on 19th September. The Fifth Labour of Hercules – Cleansing the Augean Stables – should become the First. Even better if the French authorities took on Herculean properties by closing down the 1855 stable!    

CRM's bike ride: some photos from along the way

Someone fishing, their boat and the Cromarty Firth
The Black Isle is in the distance

Here are a small selection of photos taken during Carole's 270 mile Charity Bike Ride from John O'Groats to Kinnesswood. 

In the top photo (near Balintore) it appears at first sight that the person fishing is completely alone. However, this is not actually the case. You will notice a black smudge in the firth just above the tree on the right hand site. This is a seal just one of a shoal of seals that were clearly visible just off the coast.

Wooden railway viaduct@Moy – carries Perth to Inverness line

 Moy Viaduct detail

Southbound train passing over viaduct

Carrbridge: the old packhorse bridge built in 1717

 Dalwhinnie Distillery – one of the classic malts 

Distillery from the north 

Footbridge@Dunkeld Station

Cheverny: 3rd Fête des Vendanges: Saturday 7th September

Details here and programme here. Celebrating 20 years of the Cheverny and Cour Cheverny appellations.

Domaine Sauvète

Three forthcoming dates@Domaine Sauvète, Monthou, Touraine: 

Randonnée Patrimoine dans les Vignes dans le cadre des Journées Européennes du Patrimoine
Samedi 14 et dimanche 15 septembre
Monthou-sur-Cher ! Découvrez ses lieux emblématiques et notre vignoble. Laissez-vous conter leur histoire ou bien celles du château du Gué-Péan, de l’église Saint-Cyr et Sainte-Julitte ou celles encore des moulins et polissoirs. Au retour, vous dégusterez nos vins étonnants et précieux.

Randonnée familiale : 7 km.
Départ à 8h30. Durée : environ 3 heures.
Gratuit pour tous !


Une journée de vendanges  
Le samedi 5 octobre  
Les vendanges !
Soyez nos invités privilégiés pour vivre cette expérience unique.
Découverte de notre vignoble. Atelier vendanges.
Découverte de la cuverie et des techniques de dégustation.
Repas vigneron accompagné de nos vins étonnants et précieux.

Sur réservation uniquement avant le 30 septembre 2013
au 02 54 71 48 68 ou

Tarifs. Adulte : 30 €.
Enfant moins de 12 ans : 20 €.

20 ans de Privilège  
Le samedi 7 décembre 
Il aura fallu 20 ans de passion et de travail pour signer PRIVILEGE, cette cuvée exceptionnelle. Et 20 ans, ça se fête !
C'est l'occasion de découvrir ensemble les vieux millésimes de Privilège accompagnés de mets inattendus.
Repas vigneron, dégustations et concert dureront en soirée.
Vous y êtes attendus.

Sur réservation uniquement avant le 2 décembre 2013
au 02 54 71 48 68 ou

Tarifs. Adulte : 30 €.
Enfant moins de 12 ans : 20 €.