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 January 2016

2016 Renaissance tasting, Angers – two Loire débutants: Liv Vincendeau and Adrien de Mello

It was good to meet at this year's Renaissance two new Anjou producers just launching their new domaines: Liv Vincendeau of Domaine Vincendeau and Adrien de Mello of Domaine de la Petite Soeur in Saint Aubin de Luigné. Neither Liv nor Adrien come from a family of vignerons – both have created their own domaines. 

 Adrien de Mello of Domaine de la Petite Soeur

Liv started out in 2014 buying 7 hectares of land with 4.5 hectares planted with vines. The remaining 2.5 hectares are fields which which Liv is keeping to provide biodiversity. Previously the vineyard had been farmed 'conventionally' and she immediately started to convert to organic viticulture. This process will take until 2017 when, if she passes the various controls, her wines will be organic.

I was impressed with her clean, precise and quite austere 2014 Raguenet (100% Chenin) Anjou Blanc. This is made from vines whose ages range from 10 to those planted in 1941. Although unfinished the 2015 Raguenet also looks promising. She is also making several sparkling wines including the creamy 2014 Gold and the clean and long Crémant de Loire.

Very good to see that she has bravely opted for Stelvin Lux for her Raguenet, despite the unfortunate conservative attitude towards screwcaps in France.  

On this early evidence Domäne Vincendreau is one to follow. 

Adrien de Mello of Domaine de la Petite Soeur
Breton by birth Adrien is even more recent than Liv Vincendreau as he only started in 2015. He used to manage the vinification at Prior to that he did the harvest in France in 2001 and 2002 before leaving for Quebec, where he learnt how to make wine. From 2011 he was at the biodynamic Domaine Duseigneur in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where he looked after the winemaking.

Then in 2015 he started his domaine, which currently has 3.5 hectares in one block, in Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné. He uses a horse to cultivate his vines and has six different grape varieties: Chenin, Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Gamay. Of the wines I tasted I preferred the whites – a pure Chenin and a pure Sauvignon Blanc –to the reds. However, I should really wait until they are fully finished and have had a little time in bottle. 




2016 Renaissance tasting Greniers de St Jean – Saturday

 Renaissance @Greniers St Jean


Tessa Laroche, Domaine aux Moines, Savennières

 Mark Angeli, Ferme de la Sansonnière
"Bloody photographers!"

Jo Landron, Muscadet with Fred Niger van Herck 
 in attendance 
Very good to see Jo back recovered from his nasty fall 
from a roof last summer

 Xavier Cailleau: Château de Bois Briançon
We enjoyed an excellent bottle of Xavier's 
Crémant de Loire on Friday night 

Thierry Michon, Domaine Saint Nicolas, Fiefs Vendéens

Joël Menard, Domaine des Sablonnettes

Jean-Noël Millon, La Source du Rualt

Time for lunch

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Suzanne Mustacich: winner of 2015 André Simon Memorial Award – drink book

Suzanne Mustacich @ DWCC14 Montreux 

Many congratulations to Suzanne Mustacich on winning the 2015 André Simon Memorial Drink Book Award for her Thirsty Dragon about the wine market in China.  

Friday, 29 January 2016

2016 Millésime Bio - Wednesday 27th January 2016

 'Amphore maestro' Fred  Niger Van Herck and his wines

Rémi Branger, Domaine de la Pépiére, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine

 Alliance Loire: Hugues 

'Police records!' - Thierry Delaunay, Touraine  

 Arnaud Lambert, Domaine St Just, Château du Bréze  
Saumur and Saumur-Champigny  

It was very good to taste again with Arnaud – something I have been intending to do for some time. An impressive range of both whites and reds from the two domaines and very interesting to hear from Arnaud what a lamentable state the vines of Château de Brèze were in when he took it over. This was a project that he expected to work on together with his late father – Yves – who sadly died of cancer far too young – leaving Arnaud to carry on by himself.   

 Gilles Bonnefoy, Les Vins de la Madone, Côtes de Forez

A number of attractive wines here: good vibrant 2015 Roussanne and 2015 Migmatitic – Gamay sur Granite – as well as 2014 Mémoire de Madonne – juicy fruit and nicely balanced.

makers of powerful and characterful reds from the Languedoc

Thursday, 28 January 2016

2016 Millésime Bio – a few mug shots

 Michel Bedouet, Bedouet Vigneron 
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

La fille de Michel: Floria Bedouet, Bedouet Vigneron
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 

Pierre, who represents Domaine FL
in Paris and elsewhere  

 Sophie Chardon, Domaine de l'Aumonier, Touraine

Thierry Chardon, Domaine de l'Aumonier. Touraine 

From small beginnings Millésime Bio continues to grow
Just under 900 exhibitors and a waiting list