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

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Stop do Barrio (Lisbon): new premises – just as good as before

Stop do Bairro's still quite small dining room 

Last night we ate (two of us) at Stop do Bairro's new premises in Campolide where they have moved from their old cramped premises in Campo d'Ourique. 

The new premises are much more airy and modern but still quite a limited number of covers. At a guess not more than 40-50.

The ambiance remains friendly and welcoming with the food as generous, copious and tasty as before. 

We started with one of Stop do Bairro's classics – black pudding with slightly warmed pineapple – a brilliant combination that works so well.   

For our main courses – amazingly copious – we chose veal escalopes with mushrooms and grilled rabbit. To drink we chose a 2015 Reserva Arribas do Pinhão from the Douro, which was very good.As far as the list was concerned I flew blind as there were very few names on it that I recognised. Anyway we we were very happy with our choice, although we had to ask for it to be chiiled down slightly – not at all a problem. This is a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.

It was all very good and we managed to eat most of it but we left the restaurant rather stuffed.

Stop do Barrio is definitely recommended not only is the food good but it is also relaxed and friendly.   

Some football jerseys – one with José Mourinho 1

Black pudding and pineapple 

The veal dish with some potato chips 

Generous portion of veal

Some of my grilled rabbit – I had already worked 
my way through several pieces before I remembered to take a photo

A good wine choice: 
2015 Reserva Arribas do Pinhão
 (above and below)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Lisbon – a few scenes: both outside and inside

New premises for a Lisbon institution – Stop do Barrio

Menu @ Stop do Barrio

 The lower part of the Rua Arco do Carvalhāo

Graffitti on a ruined house on the Rua Arco do Carvalhāo

Two treats with friends: 

2007 Nossa Branco, Filipa Pato
a blend of Encruzado and Bical  
Lovely blance and complexity of age but fresh

1995 Tapada do Chaves, Alentejo
Lovely soft, complex wine from a classic Alentejo estate 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Another date for your Loire diary: Domaine Ansodelles – Portes Ouvertes 9th & 10th December

Anne Rouxelin & Sophie Raimbault of Domaine Ansodelles, 1 rue Vaumoreau, Benais (AC Bourgueil) are holding their winter Portes Ouvertes on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December. Saturday from 10.00 to 19.00 and Sunday from 10.00 to 16.00.

See here my post on Anne and Sophie's early days in Bourgueil. 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Lisbon: André – Taberna da Rua das Flores and now Taberna Fina (Hotel le Consulat)

 Ceviche of oysters to get us started

Friday night was a real treat – dinner at Taberna da Rua das Flores. No surprise, of course, the food by is always wonderfully inventive as well as being very tasty. 

André Magalhães owner and chef of Taberna da Flores
This Friday (1st December) André Magalhães opens his Taberna Fina at the nearby Hotel Le Consulat.The concept will be very similar to Taberna da Rua das Flores but more fine dining based on a tasting menu with the additional option of enjoying wines by the glass selected by André Ribeirinho to match the dishes.  
Is it a spoon or perhaps a fork or both – which end do you use?

After a rum cocktail we broached this 2014 Beira Int from Anselmo Mendes – venturing away from his customary area – the Minho. This white is made from 100% of the rare grape – Síria from old vines. It has a very particular, quite pungent aroma while the palate is more conventional with attractive texture and length. Just under 20€ from the Garrafeira Campo d'Ourique.  

Some of our dishes:   


 Scallops wrapped in bacon 

 Art on a plate: still life 

Soft shelled crab burgers 

Once we had seen off Anselmo's fine Beira we moved onto the lovely, complex 2006 Casa Figueira Branco made from Roussanne. 


A light egg dessert rather like an Ile Flottante

 Passion fruit cheescake

 Rich, opulent chocolate cake 

With our desserts we had the mellow 1994 Colheita, Pocas.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Loire dates: Portes Ouvertes and tasting opportunities before Christmas

Unfortunately I have never made les Vins du Coin but each year I regret this as there is a list of very interesting vignerons participating. Unfortunately I haven't done my planning in way that would mean I was in the Loire for this event. 

This is the 13th edition. It will be held in the Château de Blois.  

'Le salon Les Vins du Coin aura lieu pour la première fois au Château de Blois le samedi 2 décembre de 10h à 18h (entrée : 5€). 

Dégustation et vente, l'événement est ouvert aux particuliers comme aux professionnels.

26 vignerons et vigneronnes de 21 domaines présenteront tous 3 cuvées. La charte qui les rassemble : raisins bio + soufre limité à 40/50 mg/l + vendanges manuelles.'


Participants de cette 13e édition :
Bruno Allion
Olivier Bellanger
Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme
Mikael Bouges
Alain Courtault et Simon Tardieux
Paul Gillet
Renaud Guettier
Ariane Lesné
Estelle Maître et François Saint-Léger
Damien Menut
Noëlla Morantin
Julien Pineau
Pascal Potaire et Moses Gadouche
Thierry Puzelat
Jean-Pierre Robinot
Vincent Roussely
Jérôme Sauvète
Cyrille Sevin
Philippe Tessier
Brendan Tracey
Hervé Villemade

+ de jeunes installés en agriculture paysanne (charcuterie, pain, maraîchage, c.), des artisans et artistes (potier, taillandier, dessinateur en direct, etc.). 

More details here and here.  

Saturday 2nd to Sunday 3rd December 10.00 - 19.00 
1 Rue du Haut Clos, 37210 Vernou-sur-Brenne, 
Hervé Villemade: 9th-10th December:
des potes ouverts au domaine. En collaboration avec le Clos du Tue-boeuf et Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme. Nos copains vignerons viennent de toutes les régions présenter leurs vins.

Venez nombreux - Dégustation/Vente de 11h à 18h.

Les Vignerons présents :

BOURGUEIL & CHINON.....................................Catherine & Pierre BRETON

PET’ NAT’ de TOURAINE................................P.POTAIRE et M.GADOUCHE

TOURAINE ............................................................Pierre-Olivier BONHOMME


ANJOU & COTEAUX DU LAYON.................................Agnès & René MOSSE

BROUILLY & MORGON....................................................Famille DESCOMBES

COLLIOURE & BANYULS.............................Bruno DUCHENE & Manuel DI VECCHI STARAZ


CÔTES DU RHÔNE..........................................................Marcel RICHAUD

ALSACE.....................................................................................Jean-Pierre RIETSCH

CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON..........................................Jean-Sébastien GIOAN

BOURGOGNES DE L’YONNE..............................................Nicolas VAUTHIER

CHAMPAGNE..............................................................................Benoit TARLANT

MUSCADET..............................................Marion PESCHEUX & Manuel LANDRON

BOURGOGNE.................................................................Julien ALTABERT

CHEVERNY & COUR-CHEVERNY.......................................Hervé VILLEMADE

et ......

Poissons fumés > Fumaisons de l’île de Groix

Charcuteries > Raimond Lecoq

Huile d’Olive > Domaine de la Cavalière

Musique > Tonton Yo aux platines > Les Sulfites Blues

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Allo Allo ....

2016 Allo, Vinho Regional Minho

Allo is a delicious, crisp white made from a blend of Alvarinho and Loureiro from Soalheiro, specialising in making a range of fine Vinho Verdes. This is not a Vinhoi Verde but a Vinho Regional Minho. Lowish in alcohol – 11% – it is a good apéro and working very well this evening with some grilled prawns. The name – Allo – is a blend of the initial letters from Alvarinho and Loureiro. Just under six euros from the Garrafeira Campo d'Ourique.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Gérard Basset MW MS: get well quickly!

 Gérard judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards

I was shocked and saddened when I was told in confidence that Gérard Basset is having treatment for cancer. Now Gérard's wife Nina has bravely blogged about Gérard's illness, I am able to wish Gérard a full, speedy recovery and that the treatment and subsequent operation are successful. 

Nina's blog:

Keep Calm and Carry on here at TerraVina
November 14, 2017

'whilst we deal with the recent news that sadly Gerard is also battling an aggressive cancer, for which he is undergoing immediate and urgent treatment, with a major operation to follow, hopefully in the Spring.'

Finding humorous moments amongst the challenges here at TerraVina
November 22, 2017

Gérard has achieved many things – including former World Champion Sommelier, Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, a founder of the Hotel du Vin chain and now with Nina the proprietor of Hotel Terravina. Details here and here

However, for me the best thing about Gérard is that he is so friendly, and modest. It is a real pleasure and privilege to work alongside him at the Decanter World Wine Awards. 

Delighted that Gérard is very positive: 'I am positive and so are my consultants.  I am treating this situation like taking the MW; To WIN!'

Gérard get well quickly, please.  

 From the website

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Adegga Wine Market Lisbon 1st December 2017 @Marriott Hotel, Lisboa

Friday 1st December sees the 2017 winter edition of the Adegga Wine Market, which will again be held at the Lisbon Marriott Hotel. The Adegga Wine Markets are a great opportunity to taste and buy some of Portugal's best and most exciting wines.

Ticket prices range from 15€ to 50€ per person. There is a special deal for two (60€). The price of the more expensive tickets can be set against wine bought. The winter edition includes the Premium Room – see details of the wines below. Tickets for this room cost 50€ a person.  

O Adegga WineMarket é um evento de vinhos de qualidade.

Descubra 500 vinhos de 60 produtores seleccionados.
Escolha e prove vinhos entre os 5€ e os 50€.
Compre os vinhos que mais gostou a preços de evento.
Receba em casa os vinhos que comprou directamente ao produtor.
Utilize o SmartWineGlass para se lembrar dos vinhos que provou.
Traga os amigos e aproveite o ambiente descontraído.

1 de Dezembro, Sexta-feira    |    Lisbon Marriott Hotel, Lisboa    

|    Siga o Evento no Facebook


Innovations for this edition:

Adegga Bio

O Adegga Bio é uma nova experiência dedicada aos vinhos Biológicos, Biodinâmicos, Sustentáveis e Naturais dentro do Adegga WineMarket. O Adegga lança a nova experiência acompanhando a evolução do mercado mundial e o elevado interesse dos consumidores em conhecer produtos e produtores Bio.

Wine walks
Looking for the inside track on the 500 wines to taste? If so join a Wine Walk hosted by local experts journalists, winemakers, sommeliers, bloggers doing thematic 30 min tours of the event with groups of 10 people. Topics will include
'10 good white wines below 10€'.



Return of the Sala Premium(Premium Room)
Uma experiência premium numa zona exclusiva dentro do Adegga WineMarket com prova de vinhos Premium, topo de gama e Vinhos do Porto antigos. Uma oportunidade para provar vinhos especiais. O bilhete de acesso à Sala Premium tem um custo de 50€.

Wines in the Premium Room are presented by sommeliers Sérgio Antunes e Vanessa Gonçalves.

Wines in the Premium Room: 

 Two Covela wines in the Premium Room this year

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Bruno Curassier (Bléré): Portes Ouvertes 2 et 3 décembre 2017


From Bruno Curassier (Domaine de la Grange)

'Chers amis
Nous avons le plaisir de vous inviter à nos journées «Cave ouverte»
qui se dérouleront les 2 et 3 décembre prochain.

Vous pourrez déguster les vins du domaine accompagnés de produits du terroir proposés par des artisans locaux comme :
  • La maison Dufrexe et ses produits autour du canard
  • Les confiseries de Mr Perrin De Vernoil Le Fourrier
  • Les miels de Jojo l'apiculteur
  • Les escargots de «L’escargolette»
  • Les charcuteries et fromages Corse de Alain Sémion
Cette année, nous avons le plaisir d’accueillir une exposition du photographe JF Souchard ainsi que le créateur de meubles Renaud Bellon.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Cave Coopérative de Francueil closes its doors

An ad from happier days

From La Nouvelle République: 17.11.2017 : 
'Dans la vallée du Cher, la Cave de la Gourmandière à Francueil a choisi de mettre la clef sous la porte plutôt que de virer au rouge. La fin d’une époque.

L’esprit coopératif a-t-il du plomb dans l’aile dans le vignoble tourangeau ? Une nouvelle fois, c’est la question que l’on est amené à se poser après la dissolution volontaire de la cave de La Gourmandière à Francueil. A la fin du mois d’octobre, les derniers adhérents de cette vénérable société coopérative créée en 1923 ont effet décidé de jeter l’éponge plutôt que de s’exposer aux affres d’une faillite potentielle. « La décision a été prise a l’unanimité des votants. On a préféré anticipé plutôt que d’aller dans le mur et d’entraîner nos fournisseurs dans notre chute », résume l’actuel président de la structure, Jean-Pierre Moreau.'

Read the rest here 

The closure of the Francueil Cave Co-operative does not come as a surprise. In September there were rumours that it would close. The NR article cites that of its 100 remaining members only 6 were under 60 years old. Production had fallen to just 4700 hls with a turnover of 1.7 million euros in 2016. This was down 22.06% on 2015. Doubtless the 2016 frosts and mildew were a big factor here. However, I also sense that the Francueil co-op failed to move with the times.  

Although it is true that many producer now prefer to make and sell their own wine there are still successful co-operatives. The nearby co-op Cellier de Beaujardin in Bléré is certainly more dynamic and it also exports to the UK. In 2016 its turnover was 2.4 million euros. 

The best Ligerian example, however, of successful cooperative organisation is Alliance Loire. The group was formed in 2002 and is based in Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg and includes seven co-operatives running from Muscadet to Touraine not forgetting the Vendômois.

Alliance Loire was originally eight coops but La Cave de Mareau aux Près near Orléans is closing this year due to the severe 2016 April frost. In any case there are few vineyards left around Orléans. 

Alliance Loire's membership of 775 growers has 4050 hectares of vines. Last year the Cave Cooperative of Bourgueil and Robert & Marcel, the co-op at Saint-Cyr, already part of Alliance Loire decided to fully join forces. The combined set-up has a turnover of 28 million euros and produces 11 million bottles. Puts Bléré and Francueil into perspective!  

Alliance Loire is also a shareholder in Ackerman, the producer and négociant, who have pursued a decidedly expansionist policy in recent years. Recent acquisitions include Château la Varière in Brissac-Quincé, Monmousseau in Montrichard and this year – Château de Sancerre.       

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Loire reds: two fine 2010s – Bourgueil and Chinon

Yesterday evening we enjoyed a soirée de la modération. The main course was slow roasted lamb with a herb, anchovy, garlic and mustard crust. To accompany the lamb we looked at two 2010s.

The first was the well concentrated Cuvée Prestige from Lamé Delisle Boucard in Ingrandes de Touraine (AC Bourgueil) . Although it showed well I think it is still a little tight in the finish and could well benefit from a few more years in bottle. The second Pierre de Tuf from Domaine de la Noblaie in Ligré (AC Chinon). This is showing very well at the moment with soft, attractive fruit and well integrated structure. It will doubtless continue to impress for a number of years but it is drinking very well at the moment.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Angevins – date for your diary: 25th to 27th November 2017

Vous aimez le vin ? Alors vous serez forcément au Salon Les Anges Vins les 25, 26 et 27 novembre en Anjou. Eux ils le font et ils seront là pour vous le faire goûter: Mosse, Oosterlinck, Cousin, Herbel, Chaffardon, Baudouin, Courault, Garnier, Ménard, Chéné, Saurigny, Daviau, Bainbridge, Rochard, Pithon Paillé , Domaine Le Soula, Domaine Benastra, Les Vignes de Babass..

Salle Jean de Pontoise, 49190 Saint Aubin de Luigné.

More details here.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Le Café de la Promenade dinner with the wines of Laurent Herlin tomorrow: 18th November

'Un vigneron, un restaurateur…. 2 raisons de se retrouver dans le bourgueillois en toute convivialité !

Suite à l’engouement des dégustations organisées par la maison des vins en partenariat avec les
restaurateurs du Bourgueillois cet été, Le Café de La Promenade poursuit cette animation pendant la période hivernale !

Au programme : une rencontre par mois avec un vigneron et un repas en accord avec ses vins. La première rencontre se déroulera ce samedi 18 novembre à 19h30 avec Laurent Herlin,

Le menu : 
Bouchées apéritives / bulles blanche « Apesanteur»
Terrine de canard maison, confit d’oignons au Bourgueil/ «
Terre d’adoption »
Pavé de biche aux épices douces, gratin de courgettes et
frites de patates douces / « Électron Libre »
Croustillant de Ste Maure de Touraine au miel et sa
salade verte / « Illumination »
Gratiné d’automne aux poires de Chouzé sur Loire / bulles
rosé « Cintré »
Repas et dégustation de vins 30€ par personne sur réservation :

Café de La Promenade : Nora

 Laurent Herlin: June 2017