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, 31 August 2014

In memory of Yvonne May@the Young Wine Writer of the Year Award, November 2013

It is desperately sad that Yvonne May, director of Wine Australia Europe has lost her battle against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. She took extended leave from her post in April and there was then optimism that the disease had been caught in time. Sadly this optimism proved to be misplaced and Yvonne died on Friday 29th August aged 53.

Here are a few photos of Yvonne that I took last November at the Young Wine Writers of the Year Award held at Australia House, London. 

My thoughts and condolences are with David, her partner, and Yvonne's family.

 With the pianist – watching the award's ceremony

With Steven Spurrier and Hugh Jones (2013 Young Wine Writer)

 With the two runners up

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Warren Adamson's End to End UK charity cycle ride – a week to go!

 Warren and the BMC bike that will take him from 
Land's End to John O'Groats in nine days 

Saturday 6th – Sunday 14th September 2014
Seven days from now Warren will have started his epic ride through the UK from Land's End to John O'Groats. He will be riding nearly 1000 miles and climbing over 17,000 metres – the Deloitte Ride Across Britain

Warren finishes just four days before Scotland votes to decide whether it will become an indpendent country .... or not.

He dropped around today after his last club ride on his bike, which will be shipped down tomorrow to the start at Land's End. He will be raising money for the The Benevolent 'The Drinks Industry Charity'. Warren has already raised £3,270.00 including gift aid.   

Fundraiser:  Warren Adamson  

Hi there All,
Thanks for checking out my fundraising page. I've decided to take on the mammoth challenge of Deloitte Ride Across Britain. In short I'll be cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats so that's 969 miles from 6th - 14th September 2014, yup that's 9 days!

Here’s the lowdown:

9.7 times the distance of Ride London 100

4.3 times the ascent of the average Etape Du Tour

3.0 times the duration of London to Paris

969 Miles (1,560 Kilometres)

9 days

23 counties

3 countries

17,068 meters ascent

750 riders

The charity I'm focusing on is The Benevolent 'The Drinks Industry Charity' which does an amazing job looking after people from the drinks industry facing serious issues such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and financial crisis. If you would like to read more about the people they help click here. I hope I never need to call on them yet it's reassuring to know they are there.

I know they really appreciate your support, as I do too.

Wish me luck!
Cheers Wazza'

Details of the route – stage by stage:

 Dropping down Sydenham Hill, London SE23 
(above and below)

 Warren's got Cadel Evans worried!

It's a big challenge and will call for a lot of grit! 

 Warren showing off the finer points of his BMC bike

Ride's end: the revamped John O'Groats Hotel

 Looking ahead...

Friday, 29 August 2014

2010 Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve + 2014 – prospects?

2010 Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve 

August is rapidly disappearing with September just around the corner, so my thoughts are naturally turning to the impending 2014 Loire vintage. After the difficult years of 2012 and 2013 and 2011 not always that easy with plenty rot about, will 2014 produce wines as good as those from 2010 – certainly my pick for the best Loire year of the second decade. The 2010 Saumur-Champigny (the straight domaine) from Château de Villeneuve is drinking beautifully now  – its concentrated and richly textured black fruits well balanced with acidity in the finish.

To date (fingers firmly crossed) the Loire has escaped catastrophes in 2014 – no frost, no reports of bad hail damage – although Vouvray wasn't far off being hit for a second consecutive year in early June. The flowering passed off quickly and successfully. September tends to be the crucial month for the Loire but what of August 2014?

Climate stats from two Loire met stations – Tours and Beaucouze (just to the west of Angers) – show that this August has to date been cooler, wetter and with less sunshine than the average (1981-2010). Stats for 2014 only go up to 28.8.2014 for the final figures will be a little different.

2014: average maximum temperature – 22.8 C
2014: highest maximum temp – 26.9C
Average (1981-2010): 25.4

2014: 154.3 sunshine hours without a day with strong sunshine 
Average (1981-2010): 223.7 hours with 7.9 days of strong sunshine

2014: 110.9mm of rain
Average (1981-2010): 41.3mm

2014: average maximum temperature – 23.1C
2014: highest maximum temp – 28.2C
Average (1981-2010): 25.4C

2014: 166.2 sunshine hours with one day with strong sunshine 
Average (1981-2010): 236.4 hours with 8.85 days of strong sunshine

2014: 78.1mm of rain
Average (1981-2010): 42.5mm

A cooler wetter August may suggest that the harvest could start a little later than initially thought. It will have thrown up its own challenges. Although at Tours the 2014 rainfall (78.1mm) is well below the record 169.5mm in 1963, the figures in Anjou are rather closer: 110.9mm this year against 134.5mm in 1965.

Given that we talk about weather being so much more unpredictable today, it is interesting to note that at Tours the driest August has been 1961 with just 0.8mm for the month, while two years later – 1963 – has the record for being the wettest. 

Here's to a drier September!  


Thursday, 28 August 2014

2014 Festivini – exceptional tasting of Coteaux de Saumur@Abbaye de Fontevraud

 2008 vintage: Régis Neau (Domaine de Nerleux): 
with his Chenin ready soon to make Coteaux de Saumur

Here is a rare opportunity to taste a vertical of Coteaux de Saumur going back to at least 1973. Although some of the leading producers from this small appellation are not included in the tasting, it should be a fascinating evening.   

Message from Festivini:

'Soirée découverte de Millésimes d'exception: 

Les COTEAUX DE SAUMUR, grands vins moelleux et confidentiels élaborés à base de Chenin, vous invitent à un voyage à la découverte des arômes extraordinaires qu’un grand vin développe au fil du temps.

Initiation à la dégustation de millésimes d'exception, découverte des particularités des millésimes sélectionnés et rencontre avec les vignerons et un expert des terroirs viticoles.

2009  Château de Parnay    
2007 Domaine de la Bonnelière à Varrains    
2006 Château de Berrye à Berrie    
2005 Domaine de la Bonnelière
2005 Château de Berrye, Cuvée marguerite 
2004 Domaine Annivy à Souzay-Champigny      
2003 Domaine de l’Epinay à Pouançay    
2003 Domaine Lavigne à Varrains      
1997 Domaine de l’Epinay 
1995 Domaine de La Guillotterie à Varrains        
1990 Domaine des Frémonclairs à Turquant       
1990 Domaine Michel Suire à Berrie    
1989 Domaine de la FUYE à Sanziers   
1973 Domaine des Menais à Varrains  
& ..... Le dernier Millésime est un secret bien gardé que vous découvrirez à l'abbaye de Fontevraud le Lundi 8 septembre...

Informations pratiques :

·         Date : lundi 8 septembre

·         Horaire : 20h

·         Lieu : Aliénor Café - Abbaye de Fontevraud.

·         Tarif : 45€/personne ( Vins & Accords inclus)

·         Places limitées,

·         Sur réservation à l’OT de Saumur ou par mail à : 


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Jean-Luc Colombo: three new wines

2013 Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles £9.99

Details of UK stockists for the Picpoul

Recently I was sent three new wines from Jean-Luc Colombo. Although he is based in Cornas these come from further south. There is a red and white Côtes du Rhône sourced from the southern Rhône and a Picpoul de Pinet. 

2013 Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles
This is quite rich and weighty for a Picpoul with light acidity with some floral notes. It was good with Scottish haddock plainly baked with a little milk and butter.

 2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône

Details of UK stockists 

2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône Blanc £9.99
This is a blend of 80% Clairette and 20% Roussanne sourced from vineyards in the communes of Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. The 2013 is attractively floral and quite richly textured.    

2012 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône  

Details of UK stockists 

2013 Les Abeilles, Côtes du Rhône Rouge £9.99
This is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre sourced from vineyards in the communes of Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. Rich, easy drinking, richly textured, damson and other black fruits.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Birthday meal@Three Chimneys on Skye

I enjoyed an excellent birthday meal last week@The Three Chimneys on Skye.

 View from the restaurant to the west of Dunvegan

Our three course menu with two wee tastes extra included

 Very decent sherry selection – we chose the 
Faraon Oloroso from Hildalgo

 Wee taste: pickled herring

 2012 Abadia Albarino

After our glass of Oloroso we went for halves. Firstly the 2012 Abadia Albarino, which was a very good match with the seafood platter. Initially I had chosen the 2013 Pouilly Fumé from Jonathan Pabiot but a discerning customer had drunk the last bottle at lunchtime. 

 Best dish of the evening: seafood platter including 
brilliant oysters, mussels and a crab salad

 Après moi – le débris!

 My grouse

 Carole's salmon with squid

A half of 2013 Crasto (Douro) – served slightly too warm with the main course. Better when we got some ice and water to chill it down a tad.

Curiously the only Loire red listed is a Gamay from Domaine Levin. Does the Three Chimneys really think this is the best the Loire can offer?

Second wee taste – a pre-dessert

 My chocolate dessert - nice to see it served on an Edinbane pottery plate

 ... partially demolished

 Warm marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard

I finished with a glass of 30 Year Old Pedro Ximenez from Dandelion Vineyards in the Barossa.