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 January 2015

Prime sights @ Angers

Christmas decoration in the courtyard of the Hotel du Mail

Le Lézard Vert: have Nacer and Stéphanie 
opened a second branch after Epeigné-les-Bois!! 

Fountain and merry-go-round: playing with the aperture 

Entrance to the Place de Ralliement and a passing tram

Old wooden building close to Place to Ralliement

Je Suis Charlie @  a Spanish tapas bar
above and below

Hommage à Notre Père: Henry James Budd 25.4.1919 – 30.1.2015

 December 2014: the last photos I took of my father 
Still bright eyed.
(above and below)

My father died quite suddenly late yesterday afternoon aged 95. I had last seen him a week last Thursday at Halden Heights Care Home (High Halden, Kent) before leaving for Millésime Bio. He seemed physically well, although he was confused and probably didn't really know who we were. 

We had had to move him into Halden Heights Care Home in April 2013 because we couldn't give him the specialist care that his dementia needed. He was very well cared for there – seeming happy, contented and had a good appetite right up until the end. 

This week Henry developed a chest infection, which antibiotics didn't fix, and he died peacefully while asleep. He just stopped breathing. Given that he smoked 40 untipped cigarettes a day until he was 50, that he lived to be 95 is a testimony to his strength!  

For all of us, especially his four offspring – David, Henrietta, Andrew and myself – his death is a sad shock. I was confident that he would see his 96th birthday this April. In any sense, however, it is good that he died quickly and peacefully. Had he lived his dementia would have got worse and he would have become more and more incapacitated. He died while he still had some dignity left and he didn't suffer a lingering death. I'm so thankful for that!

October 2006: My mother and father celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary 
She died the following March aged 87
25.4.2014: at the wedding of Richard (my nephew) and Rosie
He is with Martha – one of the carers from High Halden. 
She was particularly kind to him

Christmas 2011

July 2012 
Christmas 2013

Christmas 2014: Henry with Alice, his great grand-daughter 

Christmas 2014: four generations: my father, my brother David, 
his son Richard and Alice Richard's baby daughter born in early October 

 1919 Le Mont Moelleux, Vouvray 

In April 2009 our family celebrated Henry's 90th birthday with this amazing bottle of 1919 Le Mont Moelleux, which was so remarkably fresh and together. Tasted blind you would never guess that it was 90 years old!   

Friday, 30 January 2015

Millésime Bio: around the fair Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bruno Ciofi et Laura Seibel: Domaine de la Pinte in Arbois

Fab design@Vincent Caillé

Arnaud Bourgeois enjoying Millésime Bio!

Staying with Sancerre: Jean-Laurent Vacheron (Domaine Vacheron)
(above and below)

Fine shirt – so he probably makes good wine!

Romain Guiberteau: Domaine Guiberteau (Saumur)

Marie-Laurence Saladin (Domaine Saladin, Ardèche)

Laurent Charrier (Le Pas Saint Martin, Saumur and Anjou)
More details to follow in separate post

The new commercial director@ Le Pas Saint Martin! 

Guy Rochais, Château de Plaisance, Chaume, 
Quarts de Chaume and Savennières  

Guy is looking to pilot through a new AC from dry white from Chaume – naturally pure Chenin and to be called Les Coulées de Chaume, after the two stream that descend from Chaume into the Layon. Apparently the two Syndicats – Chaume and Quarts de Chaume – are in agreement. Whether their dossier, once it is complete, will find favour with the regional committee of the INAO we will have to see. 

Olivier (La Source de Ruault, Saumur-Champigny)
Guillaume de Conti, Tour de Gendres, Bergerac
 (above and below)


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Epeigné-les-Bois: 45th celebration of Saint-Vincent

The packed out Salle des Fêtes@Epeigné-les-Bois 
on Sunday 25th January 2015  

The menu

Last Sunday Epeigné-les-Bois celebrated its 45th edition of Saint-Vincent. Mark Robertson, Epeigné's sole independent producer, reported that the Salle des Fêtes was packed out and that everyone had a great time, especially Dominique Hisbergue who was this year's Saint-Vincent. The wine in the barrel was a 1989 Vouvray demi-sec.

Dominique Hisbergue dans la formation!

Perhaps sadly with its area of vineyards steadily declining it is now inevitable that the village's Saint-Vincent has to be someone who enjoys wine judiciously and always with modération!!   

Report in La Nouvelle République
'La Saint-Vincent fêtée depuis quarante-cinq ans

C'est en 1970 sous l'impulsion de Mmes Talvard, alors institutrices dans la commune et Cacheur, dont on visite toujours avec autant de plaisir la roseraie qui entoure sa maison, que la tradition de fêter la Saint-Vincent, à Épeigné-les-Bois a repris vie. Une fête que ces dames souhaitaient voir animée avec des danses et en costumes tourangeaux. Ainsi est né le comité des fêtes, il y a quarante-cinq ans, suivi de la création du groupe de danses folkloriques La Gidelle.'

Read the rest of the article here.

9th March: Skin Côntact Live – tickets now on sale

Tickets for the wine trade's gig of the year are now on sale here.

All proceeds from Skin Contact Live are going to Wine Relief, a wine trade fundraising initiative for Comic Relief, which is holding Red Nose Day on Friday 13 March 2015. The aim is to raise at least £10,000.

More details about the event here

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Millésime Bio: newly weds, cool dudes, Marco's Rosé!

 The newly weds Michel et Monique Louison 
il y a cinquante ans!
(above and below)

 Michel busy exploring the secret of eternal youth....!

It is always great to meet up with the Louisons again, who I first met back in July 1990. They are making lovely Loire style wines in Limoux. Not that surprising as Michel was born in Tours and they moved to Limoux because they found Faugères was becoming too hot for their style of wine.

 The cool Lone Rangers of Domaine FL (Savennières, Anjou etc.)

Above: Clint Pasquiers

Below: Pierre Buvat  

Châpeaux – 'for a few euros more'!

Pierre Clavel (Domaine Clavel, Languedoc) with his deep coloured 
and weighty 2014 Rosé à Rougir
(nom grace à Marc Vanhellemont)

Pierre Clavel: this is a rosé made in the style of 20 or years ago. There is nothing new! My other lighter rosé is for the summer while this is for the other three seasons – spring, autumn and winter. Although I made the wine, it was Marc Vanhellemont (Les 5 du Vin) who came up with the name. 

 Even Pierre seems surprised by rosés success!