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

Monday, 31 August 2015

2015 Thunder in the Glens – Harleys head home + Loire harvest snippets

After a weekend the thunder has stilled in the Glens as the Harleys and other assorted motorbikes have headed home now that the 2015 edition of Thunder in the Glens has finished. Peace has returned to the hills – the distinctive and attractive roar of a Harley or two has stilled. Here are a few pics of bikes headed home passing through Newtonmore.  

 God Protect Those Who Ride in the Wind 

Loire harvest snippets  
Picking Chardonnay for sparkling wines in the Saumur region is due to start on Wednesday, while the estimate for the start of the Vacherons picking in Sancerre likley to be around the 15th September. Château de Villeneuve (Saumur) may well also start picking Chenin around the 15th as well. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

2011 Mi-Pente, Bourgueil, Domaine de la Butte, Jacky Blot

Mi-Pente is the top cuvée from Domaine de la Butte in Bourgueil. As the name suggests the wine comes from vines planted on the middle of La Butte's slope. It is here that the vines enjoy the best exposure – facing due south and on the warmest part of the sloping vineyard. 

The 2011 is still youthful with a soft concentration of black fruits and structure,  a long finish with gentle Loire acidity. It can be drunk now but it is clear that it will be considerably more complex with another four or five years in bottle. 

The 2011 Mi-Pente is available through Justerini & Brooks.       

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Harleys back in town – 2015 Thunder in the Glens

Photos of Harleys passing through Newtonmore (28.7.2015) on their way to Aviemore and the 2015 Thunder in the Glens. A few came this way though most continued up the A9.


Aviemore (29th August 2015)

A visit late afternoon on 29th August revealed hundreds of Harleys at Aviemore: 

 Young Harley fan admiring the bikes 

 Spotless Harleys 
(above and below)

 Youngsters from Chicago and Dunedin Chapters 
Swathes of accommodation for bikers etc.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Police warning on commodity fraud

Don't sell your alternative assets – 
wine, art etc. – to cold callers!

Yesterday an Essex CID officer asked investdrinks to help to pass on the message above. This CID officer is involved in investigating multiple companies, who cold call investors offering to sell their assets at inflated prices. He described how the initial investigation into a company offering commodities including 'graphene!' for wine has seen those involved set up a myriad of dubious companies once the original company was complusorily wound up. "Like an octopus," the officer said.  

The likelihood is that once the investor releases their asset to these cold callers for the promised sale they will never receive a penny nor see their assets again. 

The Police message is that if you want to sell your alternative assets do it through an established, reputable company.  Never, ever, use of company that has cold called you no matter how tempting their offers are. 

Fortunately it has never been easier to do your due diligence on companies. Now made even easier with the trial launch of Companies House Company Information Beta Service.

The Beta service is much easier to use than the old Companies House search site and furthermore all the documents are free of charge. 

(The important message was first published on my investdrinks blog. So rife, however, are these scams that I am also posting this on Jim's Loire.)     

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Quincy and Reuilly: Journées de l'Ocean 29th-30th August 2015

45th edition of the Journées de l'Ocean

'Quincy fête, cette année encore le plaisir toujours renouvelé des produits de la mer associés à ses vins blancs. Avec les ostréiculteurs de l’île d’Oléron et les vignerons de Quincy : huitres, moules, sardines, andouillettes, merguez, fromages de chèvre, crêpes, galettes aux pommes de terre, pommes, vins de Quincy et de Reuilly attendent les visiteurs du week-end.'
Read more here Gilblog

2012 Pierre de Tuf, Chinon, Domaine de la Nobaie

2012 Pierre de Tuf, Chinon, Domaine de Noblaie 

I'm always in impressed with Jérôme Billard's Chinons, so it was good to try his 2012 Pierre de Tuf. This is Domaine de la Noblaie's special cuvée, which is vinified in a small vat carved out of limestone – hence the name. 

The 2012 is still youthfully purple and is impressive for a difficult vintage. It has considerable concentration of black fruits but is still quite tight and ideally needs another two to four years in bottle.  
£12.95 from The Wine Society

The Pierre de Tuf vat 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Foire aux Vins de France: 29th-30th August 2015 @Sancerre

Samedi 29 et dimanche 30 août 2015 : 43e foire aux vins de France
Chaque année, le dernier week-end d’août, 30 producteurs de vins de la France entière vous donnent rendez-vous aux Caves de la Mignonne. Avec près de 60 appellations représentées, cette Foire aux Vins de France est l’une des plus réputées de la région.

Infos pratiques :
Entrée gratuite, l’achat d’un verre à dégustation sérigraphié à 5 euros permet de déguster gratuitement à tous les stands de la foire.
Restauration sur place.
Grand parking

More information on 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Two vintages of Jean-Pierre Chevallier's Le Grand Clos, Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve:

2013 Le Grand Clos, Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve  

2013 Le Grand Clos, Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve  
Vin Biologique 
2011 Le Grand Clos, Saumur-Champigny, Château de Villeneuve  

Jean-Pierre Chevallier of Château de Villeneuve in Souzay-Champigny has long been one of my favourite Loire producers – both for his Saumur Blancs, especially Les Cormiers, and Saumur-Champigny. Le Grand Clos is his top Saumur-Champigny cuvée. It is only released in vintages when it is up to the standard that JP has set for Le Grand Clos.       

I have enjoyed many vintages of Le Grand Clos stretching back to 1995 and 1996.  It was good to taste and drink the two most recent vintages of Le GC – 2011 and 2013. These are wines that deserve to be cellared for five or six years at least to show their best.

2013 Le Grand Clos   
Initially I was a little surprised that Jean-Pierre had decided to release the 2013, which was a far from easy vintage with a very late flowering. On first taste the 2013 was quite lean with less texture and more marked acidity than the 2011, although with some attractive red fruits. 

However, going back to the 2013 a day after it was opened the wine had softened and taken on more weight. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the next two or three years. 

2011 Le Grand Clos
Rich, softly textured black fruits with a touch of toastiness, well rounded tannins and good length but not a big structure. This 2011 is attractive to drink now but is likely to improve with further time in bottle but may not, however, be a vintage for very long aging – more 1997 than 1996 or 1995. It will offer plenty of enjoyment over the next few years.

Between the 2011 and 2013 vintage the estate has completed its conversion to organic viticulture, shown by the vin biologique label on the 2013.     


Monday, 24 August 2015

2015 Prospects for Loire Vintage – weather figures from Tours

4th August 2015: warm sunny evening on the Loire@Saumur 

There is optimism in the Loire, as well as other parts of France, about for the prospects for the 2015 vintage. It is still too early to make firm predictions as things can always go wrong at the last minute* and, although picking of the early varieties should start around the beginning of September, Cabernet Franc in Saumur, Chinon, Bourgueil etc. won't start until the last week/10 days of September. 

There is still time for the weather to turn bringing continuous heavy rain, with the danger of grapes splitting through a sudden abundance of water after long dry spells. Hail, too of course, remains threat. Speaking of which there have been high winds in Indre et Loire today with 5000 homes without electricity with the Loches area particularly hit – apparently Amboise and Tours have been less affected. 

So, while we keep our fingers crossed, here are some weather stats from the Met station at Tours from June, July and August to date. Averages throughout are based on 1981-2010

June 2015
Rain: 28.9 mm (average – 46.1mm)
Max temps: 24.9˚C (average 22.8˚C) Hottest day: 35.7˚C (30.6) Max temps in 2003 – 28.8˚C
Sunshine hours: 310.6 (average 228.0)

July 2015
Rain: 14.0mm  (average: 53.2mm)
Max temps: 27.5˚C with hottest max: 37.5˚C (average: 25.5˚C
Sunshine: 256.4 hours (average: 239.4 hours)

August 2015 (to 23.8)
Rain: 38.6mm (average: 42.5mm) 
Max temps: 27.3˚C (average: 25.4˚C)
Sunshine hours: 154.7 (average: 236.46)

Over each of the three summer months it has been drier, warmer and sunnier – with the marked exception of August so far. It would seem very likely that August's rainfall in Tours, at least, will be above average by the time this month is out. 

To date rainfall over the three months is well down on the average: 61.5 mm has fallen so far compared with the average of 141.8. 

* Just like they can go right at the last minute as they did in 2014 with a very fine September.    

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Mulling it over (part 10) and return to Newtonmore

 Apparently a sea eagle near Fidden 
at the western end of the Ross of Mull

 A split rock at Fionnphort

The River Sheil: a famous salmon fishing river 
near Castle Tioram and Loch Moidart 
(above and below)

 The shy moutain: Ben Nevis above Fort William 

Loch Laggan