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 July 2017

Matching Loire wines with Sticky Mango's Asian street food

Peter Lloyd

Last Monday (24th July) Peter Lloyd and Tom King held the first food and wine matching evening at Sticky Mango@RSJ. Winewise we held true to our long commitment to the Loire, while Peter's food was typically brilliant. (Jim reports*)

It proved to be a fascinating experiment seeing how well the food and wine would knock along together. 

 Irish Rock Oyster
Coconut & Lime Granita, Chilli Tapioca Pearls

2015 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur lie 
Le Verger Pierre Luneau-Papin

Although Muscadet is famous for being an ideal match with seafood this was the evening's least successful match. The oyster was fat, delicious with an attractive sweetness, while this particular Muscadet had good freshness but without the weight and concentration to stand up to the oyster. Another richer Muscadet from the Luneau-Papin stable or an older Muscadet with more evolved flavours would, I suspect, have been a more successful match. 

Moving away from the Loire and France it would be worth trying an Alvarinho, Vinho Verde from Anselmo Mendes. 

 Soft shelled crab

with the fried steam buns

Tempura Soft Shell Crab 
Singapore Chilli Sauce, Fried Steam Buns  2016 Pouilly Fumé, Domaine Treuillet
Sébastien Treuillet

In contrast to the Muscadet, the 2016 Pouilly Fumé from Sébastien Treuillet was a brilliant match with the delicious soft shelled crab. The Pouilly Fumé had enough weight to match the tastily spicy flavours of the crab. 

 JG's Black Pepper Shrimp
Sun-dried Pineapple, Jicama & Pea Shoots
2016 Saumur Blanc, Domaine de Nerleux
Amélie Neau  

2015 Saumur-Champigny 
Domaine de Nerleux, Amélie Neau

It was interesting to find that the red – Saumur-Champigny – proved to be a better match with the spicy shrimp than the Saumur Blanc, which was rather overwhelmed. However, the Saumur Blanc proved to be good with the next dish – the chicken.

 Mamak BBQ Corn Fed Chicken
Charred Long Bean, Pickled Red Onion Salad
with Jasmine Rice2015 Chinon Domaine de la Noblaie
Jérôme Billard 
I thought the 2015 Chinon was too tannic to be a good match with the chicken. Perhaps another year or two in bottle would be beneficial for this match. Perhaps a 2014 or 2012 or perhaps an earlier vintage might be a better match. 

The Sticky Mango:
Sweet Sticky Rice, Coconunt & Vanilla, 
Whipped Condensed Milk, Mango
Peter's signature dessert 

Pandan Macaron 
Kaya Jam, Caramel & Soy Sauce Ice Cream2014 Coteaux du Layon Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay
Vincent and Emmanuel Ogereau

I was surprised that the Coteaux du Layon stood up as well as it did to The Sticky Mango, which is nowhere near as sweet as the description suggests. The Layon was, however, completely overpowered by the very sweet Macaron, which perhaps needs something like a Muscat de Rivesaltes or a Muscat from Spain or Portugal. 

Sticky Mango
33 Coin Street
London SE1 9NR
Tel: 020-7803 9733
E Mail:
Latest menu here 

* I have been a consultant to the RSJ Restaurant (now Sticky Mango@RSJ) for over 30 years. However, on this occasion I paid in full (£49) to be part of this food and wine matching evening.  

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Two restored London stations in great evening light

On Thursday evening we were walking along the Euston Road towards King's Cross  and couldn't resist taking photos of both St Pancras and King's Cross, which have both been restored. It seems crazy that there was ever a serious possibility of losing the wonderful St Pancras building. Fortunately campaigners, with poet and author John Betjeman prominent amongst them, managed to forestall the demolition plans.  

More recently King's Cross Station has been restored. 

The whole King's Cross area has been transformed from being one of London's seedy red-light districts to one of buzzy bars and bright lights. 

The delights of St Pancras and King's Cross now point up how unpleasant the main station of nearby Euston is, although a the number of outside cafés has now made this station less desolate.   
 Evening light on St Pancras
(above and below)

Part of the amazing roof of St Pancras 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

2017 Ride London + idiotic and ignorant bus drivers

Today we went on the Prudential Ride London. Initially we joined a Lewisham Led Ride that took us at an increasingly leisurely pace from Lower Sydenham to Waterloo Bridge where we joined the Ride London circuit along with thousanads of other cyclists of all ages – including young kids with stabilizers – and abilities. Even though it started to rain before we headed back to Forest Hill it was a great occasion. 

With so many cyclists it was essential to stay very focused!


 The Lewisham Led Ride gathering at Waterlink Way 
with Perry Rise near Sainisbury's Sava Centre, Lower Sydenham

 Lewisham Led Ride @Steven Lawrence Centre, Deptford

 Meeting of Greenwich and Lewisham Led rides 
@Southern end of Waterloo Bridge

Two idiotic London bus drivers (28.7.2017): dangerous and inconsiderate driving  

Transport for London (TfL) promotes Ride London – 'the world's greatest festival of cycling' but fails to instruct its bus drivers to drive responsibily when passing cyclists. 

 Good that this 363 (registration: YX66WHN) 
promotes the Prudential Ride London 
but shame that the driver has been taught how to overtake cyclists safely. 28.7.2017 this driver tried to pass (heading westwards) on Sydenham Hill close to the Dulwich Wood House. Trying to speed past on the wrong side of the road to get in before the street furniture.  

Very close pass from a 157 (LJ59 LYD)
on Church Road (beyond the one-way system), 
around 10.30 28.7.2017.
I could have easily touched the bus as it passed 
very close to me and swerved in
(pictured in Thornton Heath after I followed this 157) 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Salt Shed – switched on London Street Food

About a fortnight ago we went back to the Saturday market in Druid Street for the first time for a number of years. The possibilities of buying good and interesting food in the Forest Hill and Sydenham area have improved very considerably, so we would rather support our local retailers rather than head off to Bermondsey. 

Our purpose of going back to Druid Street was to sample the salt beef from Salt Shed, where Lawrence Stevens is one of the partners in this enterprise. Don't worry there is a Loire connection here as Lawrence's parents are involved in the house in the Loire and Lawrence was there frequently during his childhood.      

 Lawrence Stevens – now .... and  

a few months ago ......

Preparing the salt beef

 The menu 

 A duo of salt beef beigels....
certainly recommended 
 Lawrence's assistant 

You'll find The Salt Shed at a number of different London markets – contact them for details.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Marc Sibard (Caves Augé, Paris) convicted of sexual harassment

Last week my Tuesday post on Les 5 du Vin covered the 'Affaire Marc Sibard'. Sibard has been the manager for many years of Caves Augé, one of the most famous Parisian wine merchants as well as being a wine buyer for Lavinia, which owns Caves Augé.

On July 6th 2017 he was found guilty on a number of charges of sexual assault on female employees at Caves Augé. 

My post on Les 5 du Vin: 

Marc Sibard condemned – some reflections

Marc Sibard condemned – some reflections

RvF article
Revue du Vin de France: sympathetic interview with Marc Sibard 2.5.17

On Sunday (16th July) Michel Smith posted here about the silence that has generally surrounded the guilty verdict against Marc Sibard for moral and sexual harassment. Running the famous Caves Augé in Paris for many years Sibard is a famous within the Parisian wine world.

The case was brought by three female ex-employees of the Caves Augé, who had been touched inappropriately by Sibard back in 2012. The lawyer for one of the women referred to un droit de cuissage – similar to droit de seigneur. Five years later on 6th July 2017 Sibard was found guilty at the Tribunal de Paris and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, suspended, ordered to undergo treatment for alcoholism for 24 months, pay legal fees amounting to 24,000 euros and a fine 5000 €. If Sibard offends again within five years he will go to prison. Details here and here. Caves Augé is part of the Lavinia group.

Read here and here the experience and thoughts of Emma Bentley, one of the plaintiffs. These are brave and moving posts. I know a little at first hand how stressful and time consuming a court case can be even if it does not come to court. This pales into insignificance when you make a sexual harassment complaint and follow it through to the trial.

Michel’s complaint on Sunday was that Sibard being found guilty of repeated sexual harassment/abuse has largely been greeted with silence and complete indifference by the wine world. Apparently a leading wine world figure being declared a sex offender is not news. Apart from a couple of articles on Vitisphere above and posts on blogs, in particular Vincent Pousson, and some on Facebook, Vincent again and Michel Smith. Otherwise nothing…… omerta? Thank goodness for social media!

A Google search on Sibard brings up the sympathetic interview/profile published by the Revue du Vin de France on 2nd May 2017 just over two months before Sibard was condemned as a sex offender. No mention of the impending case and no mention subsequent to the 6th July 2017 judgment. The article is on-line so it could easily be amended or removed.

Did RdF know about the impending trial? Did Sibard not think it was germane to disclose that he faced serious sexual charges? Or did both sides think that sexual harassment was so unimportant it didn’t merit a mention either then or now? **

« Nothing to see here, move on please. »

Actually it is clear that there is plenty that needs to be uncovered and seen. Read Michel Smith’s Facebook post from Sunday promoting his post on Les 5 du Vin, which provided a focus for a number of women to report on their experiences of harassment:


Une fois je me suis trouvée dans une situation où la seule issue a été la fuite et encore heureux je cours plus vite qu’un célèbre vigneron espagnol bourré…’ 

In the UK over the last few years we have seen a number of high profile trials of powerful and famous men, who got away, often for years, with sexual harassment and assault. Several are now in prison or have served prison sentences. The entertainer, Rolf Harris, was found guilty of a first set of charges, but was acquitted this year of four new charges when the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict.  Others include the publicist Max Clifford and radio personality Stuart Hall.

There are also multiple allegations involving abuse of young boys by certain UK football coaches. These offences/allegations date back to 1970s, 1980s and 1990s showing it can be very difficult for victims of sexual harassment and abuse to come forward especially if the abuser is in a position of power – fame, wealth or employer etc. The changes in attitude to these assaults following the exposure of the multiple sexual assaults by the late DJ Jimmy Saville and the scandals of the Catholic Church may well have encouraged some of the victims to come forward years – decades even – after the assaults took place. *

This is why breaking the silence is so important to make easier for victims to come forward and to change attitudes to assaults, so that not only will sexual harassment be reported but people will hopefully be empowered to challenge sexual harassment when it happens – often requiring considerable courage.

There is a long way to go. Amazingly Donald Trump is currently president of the United States and a recent visitor to Paris despite a history of multiple sexual harassment claims. Highlighted by his famous brag: I « can do anything » to women, including « just start kissing them … I don’t even wait » and « grab ’em by the pussy« .

Ironically Trump was propelled into power as 64% of non-college educated white women voted for him!

Across the Atlantic en marche backwards……..

* Some of these cases involved minors, there is no suggestion that this was the case in the judgment against Marc Sibard.

Update 18.00 BST 18.7.2017

RvF no appeal
** This afternoon following the news that Marc Sibard would not be appealing against the judgment of 6th July 2017, the Revue du Vin de France has published a news story on the sentence imposed upon Marc Sibard. RvF article is here.

Yesterday (26th July) Vincent Pousson posted an shocking interview with Pauline X, an employee of Caves Augé who had been harassed and abused by Sibard. Pauline was one of those who successfully brought the case against Sibard. Sibard's humiliating treatment of Pauline included locking her in his Caves Augé office along with a false claim that she was his mistress. 

Eventually she left the Caves Augé in March 2013 having had to sign a non-disclosure with Lavinia, which rather suggests that Lavinia wished to cover up Sibard's harassment of his female employees. 

I have to wonder how widespread sexual harassment is in the wine world. Is Sibard an exceptional case. Do young female wine students face abuse and harassment when they go on work experience in wineries around the world? I hope not but I just don't know.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

80 ans – bon anniversaire Bourgueil ! + Chinon and Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil

The eastern limit of the appellation at Saint-Patrice 

Appellation Bourgueil is celebrating its 80th birthday today. A little prematurely it has to be said as the appellation didn't come officially into existence until 31st July 1937. This is the same date as AC Chinon and AC Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, who will also be celebrating their 80th anniversaries.  

As the vendange is likely to be early this year the Bourgueil producers are celebrating a few days earlier, so that they can head off on their holidays and be back in time to pick.... 

 Fête des Vins de Bourgueil in Tours 

 Maison des Vins de Bourgueil

Appellation also created on 31st July 1937

Chinon town and château

Statue of Rabelais beside the Vienne
the patron saint of Chinon 

In the Caves Painctes, Chinon: 
a home of
Syndicat des Vins et la confrérie des Entonneurs Rablaisiens.

Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil 
Appellation also created on 31st July 1937.  

Largish format bottle by church in centre 
of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil

Some of the vineyards of Saint-Nicolas
- showing the gravel leading to the clay limestone 
slopes in the distance  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Big wine + flat screen TVs seizure – Kent Police raid warehouses in Horsmonden and Brenchley

Report from Kent Police on an alleged large distribution fraud – wine and flat screen TVs:
Policing news

Goods recovered in fraud investigation fill four lorries

Items including tens of thousands of bottles of wine and the latest flat screen televisions have been seized by Kent Police following search warrants at warehouses in Horsmonden and Brenchley.

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit have also recovered commodities including shipments of marble tiles and even air conditioning units, as part of an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to defraud a number of foreign businesses.

Fraudulent orders
It is reported that fraudulent orders have been made to at least 20 companies, based outside of the UK.

Victims have complained although goods have been dispatched no payments have been received.

On Thursday 20 July 2017 search warrants were executed by Kent Police at two locations; a warehouse in Goudhurst Road, Horsmonden and a second premises in Tibbs Court Lane, Brenchley

In total police have seized 217 pallets of goods, filling four HGV lorries. A process to identify items recovered from these storage areas is ongoing.

A 26-year-old man from Horsmonden has been arrested in connection with the investigation and has been bailed, pending further enquiries, until 17 August.

Significant scale

Detective Inspector Annie Clayton said:  ‘We have received multiple complaints from victims who have alleged they have lost goods due to fraud and that these goods were delivered to storage facilities in west Kent; which have now been searched. 

‘This is a complex investigation, which is being assisted by our partners at Interpol and the Metropolitan Police and which has so far resulted in the recovery of vast amounts of property we believe has been obtained by fraudulent means. The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate is committed to tackling those who facilitate organised crime in Kent and we are investigating allegations, which are on a very significant scale.’


Monday, 24 July 2017

2017 Tour de France – final overall standings and some reflections

Dylan Groenewegen wins sprint on 
Champs Elysée from André Griepel

 Chris Froome's 4th Tour de France victory

Michael Matthews comfortably wins Green
 Warren Barguil comfortably wins Climbers' Jersey

 Simon Yates has just over two minutes 
to win Young Riders

 Team Sky win Team – leading from start to finish

Dylan Groenewegen went for a long sprint on the Champs Elysée yesterday and held off the fast closing André Griepel to take his first Tour de France stage win. Griepel had been out of position and too far back at the final bend and left himself too much ground to make up. This means that this is the first Grand Tour, he has entered, since 2007 when he has not won a stage. 

Chris Froome safely completed the ceremonial ride into Paris to claim a remarkable fourth Tour de France win and the third consecutive win. He now becomes the only person to have four Tours and is fifth in line to Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, who have all win the title five times. 

Fewer mountain top finishes almost certainly made this a closer Tour than usual, although the Giro had plenty of high mountains and the 2017 edition was very close going into the time trial on the last day. 

Froome rode an intelligent race backed by Team Sky clearly the strongest team followed by Romain Bardet's AG2R la Mondiale.

(More to follow.)